Power tools sales generate warnings

Trading Standards officers from The Highland Council and Police Scotland are asking Highland residents to think again before they consider buying potentially lethal power tools that are being offered for sale door to door and from the back of vans.

Following reports of generators, chainsaws and power washers being offered for sale by itinerant traders in the Nairn, Skye and the Badenoch & Strathspey areas, officers acted last week and 25 items were seized.

All were found to fail to comply with the most basic requirements of product safety legislation.  Officers found that important safety information, which must be marked on or accompany the goods, contained errors and omissions, or was missing entirely.  One of the items seized was found to have a falsely applied declaration of compliance certificate, a legal requirement demonstrating the product has undergone appropriate safety tests, the one supplied turned out to be for an entirely different model.  Also, the manufacturer’s or importer’s address, which is legally required to ensure the safety of the product can be tracked back to the maker, was missing from all products.  Some instruction books supplied with the goods were not for the models they were connected to, or were poorly translated into English.

Mark McGinty, Trading Standards Team Leader, warned:  “We would advise members of the public to be cautious of any individual who approaches them offering goods such as these.  Power tool manufacture is quality controlled and tests are conducted to prove that the goods can withstand what they are intended for, documentation and marking is then provided to demonstrate this and provide traceability.  When this is not in place or has been falsely applied to goods, it can be very dangerous for the user to go ahead and use the goods. Enquiries are continuing to establish the exact origin of these products and whether or not they are mechanically safe to use.

“Items sold out the back of a van or by uninvited salespersons on the doorstep may be unsafe, counterfeit or stolen.  They may fail to work correctly, represent poor value for money and may be dangerous to use.  The common sense advice is that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”

Traders who sell goods or services to consumers for more than £35 during a visit to their home should give a written notice of the right to cancel to the purchaser, stating that they have a seven day cooling off period giving details of the trader, their address and how to cancel the contract within that time.  If no such cancellation notice is given then a criminal offence may have been committed. “

Chief Inspector Colin Gough said: "We are pleased to be working in partnership with Trading Standards to raise awareness of this particular matter. It may seem minor at the time, but reporting traders who you suspect of selling illegal goods is important. There may be other people who find themselves in a similar position and the information supplied to police helps to identify where and when these types of incidents take place.

"If you wish to provide information about someone who you believe is selling illegal goods then you can call us on our non-emergency number, 101. If you feel threatened or intimidated and believe that the matter needs urgent police assistance you should always dial 999."

2 Oct 2013