Company slapped with huge fine after 24,000 counterfeit and dangerous goods seized
A Salford company which sold counterfeit and dangerous goods has handed a £46,500 for putting consumers at risk.
More than 10,000 counterfeit vaping liquids, over 9,000 counterfeit Apple phone accessories, 800 unsafe Christmas fairy lights – some of which had bare wires exposed and two pin, unearthed plugs, and more than 400 counterfeit games and non-compliant toys were seized over a 10 month period from Aulola UK, based in Broughton Lane.
In total more than 24,000 non-compliant products were seized from the business. The company operated as an importer, producer, distributor and a fulfilment house.
Magistrates were told that the company, which claimed it was just a fulfilment house, distributing goods on behalf of other businesses, did not know what it was distributing, failed in its legal responsibilities to ensure the goods were legal and safe and negligent when it came to public safety.
During the investigation the company representative suggested the firm should be offered a formal caution to avoid the risk of the company going into bankruptcy. The company would ‘galvanise’ itself into more strict due diligence, and change the business model to comply with the law and protect consumer safety.
During the hearing at Manchester and Salford magistrates court a representative of the company pleaded guilty to 18 offences relating to two offences of applying trade marks without consent and eight offences for possessing counterfeit goods, contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994. The company was also found guilty of eight offences of placing unsafe electrical equipment on the market contrary to the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016.
As well as the £46,500 fine, the company was also ordered to pay £9,400 costs and a £190 victim surcharge. Forfeiture orders were made on all the goods seized – estimated to be worth around £270,000.
Cllr David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “This is one of the biggest fines we have seen handed to a company we have prosecuted for illegal and unsafe trading and I very much welcome it.
“I hope it sends a clear message that those who peddle counterfeit and unsafe items and put profit before safety will not be tolerated in Salford.”