Highland Trading Standards take action on false advertising

The Highland Council has today secured an order from Inverness Sheriff Court against an Inverness tourist business after an investigation by the council’s Trading Standards Officers that was initiated following the receipt of a number of complaints about the activities of the business. 

Ali Raza Mohamed, who owns both the Highlander B&B in Ardconnel Street and Highlander Hostel in High Street, was found on more than one occasion to be falsely claiming membership of VisitScotland’s quality assurance scheme.
Signs indicating VisitScotland accreditation had been displayed at the premises and on a website, making unjustified claims to high standards and reliability.

The Order was made under the Enterprise Act 2002 and places specific requirements on the business as to its future conduct.

Gordon Robb, Trading Standards Manager at The Highland Council explained: “This business had been found falsely displaying signs on two previous occasions and these were removed after intervention by our officers.  The second time it happened we also received a formal undertaking from Mr Mohamed that it would not happen again.  When the offending activity was repeated yet again, we took the matter to court”

Trading Standards Officers work closely with VisitScotland to ensure that visitors to the Highlands are not misled by false advertising or other misleading practices.

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director commented: “VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance schemes are the best in the world and they give visitors a simple, unbiased, approach which also allows businesses to not just meet visitor’s expectations, but exceed them.  Therefore it is essential we work in close partnership with Trading Standards to help protect the credibility of VisitScotland quality grading in turn protecting the quality of the Highland tourism product.”

Graham Phillips, Chairman of the Council’s Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee said: “The Council views the good reputation of the tourist industry to be of great importance to the Highlands and recognise that the vast majority of tourist businesses provide excellent service to visitors.

“Our Trading Standards team is committed to protect both tourists and reputable businesses by dealing with the very small minority of tourist businesses who flout the law and where any business fails to take heed of advice and warnings about their conduct will where necessary take formal action in the courts.”

Breach of the Order may be considered to be a contempt of court, punishable by imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

9 Aug 2012