Plumbzone fined for making false claims

A Dudley heating company, which falsely claimed to be a member of two organisations, has landed a hefty court bill.

Plumbzone (Dudley) Ltd, of Prospect Row, and two directors admitted the offences at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court, in the prosecution brought by Dudley Council’s trading standards.

The court heard the company continued to display the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) logo on its website and vans despite being told by trading standards officers to remove it after confirmation it was no longer NICEIC registered. It also found the company’s website and vans continued to display the Guild of Master Craftsmen logo after it ceased its membership in 2013.

The court was told no complaints had been received from customers, but the false claims may have led customers to employ the company on the basis of the claimed accreditations.

Plumbzone (Dudley) Ltd pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in relation to the false claims, as did a former director Arshad Mohammed.

Mumtaz Ali Khan, director of the company, pleaded guilty to three offences including failing to make adequate checks that information on the company’s website was accurate.

The company was fined £500 and ordered to pay £491 court costs and £30 victim surcharge. Khan was fined £750 with £491 costs and £30 victim surcharge and Mohammed was fined £500 with £491 costs and £30 victim surcharge. Councillor Peter Miller, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:

“It is vitally important consumers are not misled by claims traders make in their marketing material, including on websites and on vans. "They will use this information to make decisions about who to employ and, quite rightly, expect such claims to be true.

“Despite being told of the offence of displaying the NICEIC logos when not authorised to do so, the company didn’t remove them, so they continued to falsely represent their membership, which is why we brought this prosecution.

“We would prefer to work with businesses to advise and assist them to comply with the law, but we have to take action when our advice is ignored in order to protect consumers.”

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