Highland Trading Standards take action over false advertising

A local businessman has given a Formal Undertaking in court in Inverness to not mislead consumers following action by Highland Council Trading Standards.

Donald MacLean, the owner of Bearnock Country Centre, Bearnock Country Cottages and the Bearnock Hostel Glenurquhart, Drumnadrochit, made the pledge in Inverness Sheriff Court after Trading Standards had applied for an Order under the Enterprise Act 2002.

The case involved false claims of 5 Star gradings under the VisitScotland quality assurance scheme.  The misleading information was contained on several websites and on physical signs. 

Trading Standards Manager Gordon Robb commented: “Most cases involving false or misleading advertising are resolved by the prompt removal of the offending material and informal assurances being given by the business regarding the future.  Unfortunately, in a small number of cases the business refuses to co-operate and we are forced to take formal action.  We will not hesitate to take whatever action is necessary to protect consumers and visitors to the Highlands and protect the good name of the Highland tourist industry.”

Any future breach of an Undertaking given to the court under the Enterprise Act may be contempt of court, punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

Gordon Robb continued: “False claims of quality grading are not just misleading to customers of the business involved, they are unfair to competitors who genuinely hold the gradings and can guarantee the quality of service that goes with that.”

21 May 2015