A Romford-based furniture shop has received a £15,000 fine for selling unsafe chairs that did not meet fire safety requirements, following an investigation by Havering Council.
The owners of Rattan Garden Furniture Ltd appeared in Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 6 September after Havering’s Trading Standards team received an anonymous complaint about two of its products – the ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Tokyo’ chairs.
Trading Standards conducted test purchases of two Atlanta chairs and sent them to a laboratory for fire safety tests. The results indicated that the fabric and foam used in the chairs were unsafe.
Subsequently, the council, supported by Essex Trading Standards, seized the ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Tokyo chairs from the company’s Essex warehouse.
A suspension notice for the ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Atlanta’ product lines was also issued to Rattan Garden Furniture Ltd to prevent the sale of these product lines.
Test reports for the seized chairs concluded that the fabric and foam used in the chairs were not compliant with the Fire Safety Standards for upholstered furniture (BS 5852) and therefore unsafe.
Rattan Furniture Company Ltd pleaded guilty to possessing goods that did not meet safety regulations, with the intention to sell to the public.
The company also pleaded guilty to contravening a suspension notice for continuing to advertise the Atlanta and Tokyo chairs for sale on its website after the suspension notice was issued.
The company received a fine of £15,000 for the offences. It was also ordered to pay costs in excess of £13,000.
Councillor Ray Morgon, leader of Havering Council, says: “In the wake of recent tragedies, it is vital that businesses follow strict fire safety rules for products to ensure their customers stay safe. There is no excuse for businesses to sell unsafe products.
“It’s sad that we had to take action against this company, but I’m pleased with this result, and hope it encourages other companies to ensure their products meet British safety standards.”
Mr Brightman and Ms Jane Rayment, the company’s manager and director respectively, both received an administrative caution for being in possession of goods for supply, that did not meet the requirements of the safety regulations, and contravening the suspension notice.
The Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) is encouraging retailers to always buy LOFA Assured products. LOFA wanted to ensure that all the cushions sold by its furniture members complied with the most up to date safety standards so with this in mind it set up LOFA Assured, an initiative in partnership with Hertfordshire Trading Standards, that audits each LOFA member that sells cushioned furniture.
The audit requires the members to have full traceability on all cushions that they supply into the UK marketplace. Through extensive research LOFA has proven that 8 out of 10 samples on the shop floor or out in the marketplace are non-compliant with current UK regulations making the products unsafe.