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Trader lied as 'affiliated expert'

PUBLISHED: 23:41 05 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:09 03 March 2010

TRADING standards officers have caught out a trader who falsely claimed to belong to a trade body.

Paul Sheldrake, the proprieter of La Chaumiere in Westerfield Road, Ipswich was prosecuted for saying he belonged to a trade body in the advert he placed on the chimneyspecialist.

By TRACEY SPARLING

crime reporter

tracey.sparling@eveningstar.co.uk

TRADING standards officers have caught out a trader who falsely claimed to belong to a trade body.

Paul Sheldrake, the proprietor of La Chaumiere in Westerfield Road, Ipswich, was prosecuted for saying he belonged to a trade body in the advert he placed on the chimneyspecialist.co.uk website.

Sheldrake admitted the charge of making a false claim on November 28, 2001.

He was fined £750 at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday. Suffolk County Council was granted costs of £297.50.

The website offence came to light after similar adverts for his various chimney sweeping and roofing businesses in the Yellow Pages – in which he claimed membership of various trade bodies – prompted complaints from the public.

A trading standards spokeswoman said: "Investigations revealed that adverts in Yellow Pages were included in the directory in error, in that Mr Sheldrake had cancelled the adverts and received full refunds from the publishers.

"However, during the course of the investigation, we discovered that Mr Sheldrake was also advertising on a website, arranged for him by Yell, the company responsible for Yellow Pages.

"On that website, Mr Sheldrake advertised that his business, The Chimney Specialist, was approved by HETAS Ltd, a trade body that regulates the testing and fitting of domestic solid fuel heating appliances and supervises the training of chimney sweeps.

"HETAS has confirmed that Mr Sheldrake has never been a member of that association nor has he applied for membership.

"He was not, therefore, entitled to display their logo or claim approval by HETAS and to do so was therefore a false trade description with the potential to mislead consumers.

"When he continued to make false claims, a prosecution was considered to be appropriate and necessary action."

HETAS is the official testing and approval body for the domestic solid fuel industry and originally established in 1936. Recognised by government, it is an independent self-governing body which provides a quality mark for fuels, appliances, equipment and services.

For consumers this means a three tick logo to look for in trade adverts to show installers or engineers are registered and trained with HETAS.

Weblinks

www.hetas.co.uk

www.suffolkcc.gov.uk/departments/trading_standards

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