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November 23, 2015

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Poundworld fined £63,000 for selling non-reflective hi-vis vests

Poundworld has been fined over £63,000 after it sold non reflective hi-vis jackets, with the logo ‘be safe, be seen’.

More than 95,000 of the vests had been sold for £1, but tests carried out by trading standards revealed that the reflective nature of the jackets was no more than 2.4 per cent of what it should have been.

Joe Tyler, Hertfordshire Trading Standards, bought the jacket from Poundworld on Watford High Street.

He said: “Whilst the produce purported to be a high visibility safety vest, it was in fact no such thing. It was little more than an item of clothing.

“Neither the fluorescent yellow background material or the retro-reflective strips were of a standard anywhere near that which was necessary to ensure the visibility of the user.”

In a written response to Trading Standards’ questions, Poundworld said the vest tested was from a batch of 7,200.

In response to Trading Standards’ questions, Poundworld said the vest that was tested was part of a batch of 7,200, but over a period beginning in January 2010 it had imported and sold 95,700.

The company, which has its HQ in Normanton, West Yorkshire, appeared for sentence on Friday, having pleaded guilty to two offences of engaging in misleading commercial practice at an earlier hearing.

Stan Reiz, defending, said the Chinese manufacturers had provided test certificates that were misleading to Poundworld . He said there had been no complaints or safety incidents reported.

But he said: “The company admits it fell short of due diligence. It has now changed its policies and has increased its UK test centres.”

Judge John Plumstead fined Poundworld £15,000 and ordered it to pay £42,395.10 in an agreed confiscation order as well as £6,123.16 prosecution costs.

He said: “People would have gone out of the shop believing they had improved the safety of their children or themselves when out after dark on foot or on a bicycle.


“The fine demonstrates the court’s disapproval of those who put on the market safety aids that are not safety aids at all.”

The jacket was withdrawn from sale on June 5 2014 and the national recall took place in January this year.

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