Plymouth trader prosecuted for selling unsafe goods

An electrical goods company has been ordered to pay over £15,000 for supplying an unsafe tumble dryer which could have caused a fire.

Dipak Dhakal, aged 55, director of Cookham Ltd trading as the White Goods Centre, Western Approach, appeared before Plymouth Crown Court to be sentenced on Tuesday, having previously pleaded guilty to six breaches of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Then, the court heard how Dhakal’s company had sold a commercial tumble dryer which had been fitted with a UK 13amp plug.

When used for the first time the dryer overheated, causing damage to an extension lead and mains socket, both of which required replacing.

The purchaser reported the matter to Plymouth City Council’s Trading Standards service who employed an independent expert to examine the tumble dryer. 

The expert concluded that the tumble dryer should have been installed by a qualified electrician and the use of this particular machine plugged directly into a mains socket was electrically unsafe and presented a significant fire risk along with a potential danger to any other user and damage to property.

Trading Standards officers then inspected the trader’s premises and found further potentially unsafe items on sale including a cooker, dishwasher and fridge. 

These were seized by the officers and subjected to a full examination by an expert who reported that they were unsafe and should not have been offered for sale in that condition.  Faults included lack of electrical insulation, damaged power cord and exposed live parts.

Cookham Ltd were ordered to pay a fine of £8,000 plus legal costs of £7,000. They must also pay £262.50 in compensation to one of the customers affected.

As the Company Director, Dhakal was also prosecuted under the same regulations but accepted a caution and as part of the restorative justice he has signed Schedule of Expectations regarding future conduct to prevent the sale of dangerous/ defective goods and has agreed to make a donation to a charity

Cllr Sally Haydon, Cabinet member for Customer Focus and Community Safety, said: “It is very lucky that the tumble dryer that was sold did not cause a fire and we’re not looking at a far more serious case.

“People have a right to expect that second-hand electrical goods have been fully checked and are totally safe and I’m pleased that yet again, our Trading Standards team have taken robust enforcement action against traders who sell dangerous products.”