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Office of Fair Trading prevents the illegal sale of goods on the Island 30 January 2006

    In August last year, up to 20 unlicensed non-resident traders arrived on the Island selling power tools, generators, quad bikes, trolleys and counterfeit video cameras. Immediate enforcement action was taken by the Office of Fair Trading and its Trading Standards Officers seized all the goods on sale.

    Off-Island traders require a licence from the Office of Fair Trading to visit the Island and sell to the general public.

    It was found that the traders were also falsely describing quad bikes as being 'road legal', claiming that the generators were genuine 'HONDA' products and exaggerating their output. They were also found to be selling counterfeit 'JVC' video cameras.

    A significant number of Island residents have found that goods, mainly generators, sold by the traders do not work.

    The traders made unwelcome unsolicited visits, often on more than one occasion, to many homes. Many householders contacted the Office and the Police and described how they felt under pressure to buy goods being offered for sale by the traders just to get them off their doorsteps.

    In court last week the High Bailiff ordered that the goods, valued in the region of £5,000, should be forfeited and it was decided that the goods would be handed over to the Emergency Planning Officer for use in their emergency operations.

    Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, Quintin Gill MHK, said:

    "There have been real problems with unlicensed traders over the past year or so. We have had a significant number of calls from members of the public who have been approached and intimidated by these people. The Office is determined to ensure that they are not given free reign to operate here. We would encourage anyone who is approached in this way to let us know. We will always look into it."

    Emergency Planning Officer, Martin Blackburn, said:

    "Civil Defence maintains a stock of equipment including generators for use in emergencies and these were widely used during the power outages following last years storms. Sometimes it's not critical to use generators with very close tolerances and these generators will be ideal for powering lights and so on.

    The quad bike is being trialled by our hill search team as a way of quickly searching tracks and footpaths and getting first aid equipment to the scene.

    We're glad that these goods can be put to good use for the people of the Isle of Man instead of having to be destroyed and we're very grateful to the Office of Fair Trading."

    Civil Defence & OFT Chairman
    Civil Defence & OFT Chairman

    NOTES

    Over the last eighteen months Trading Standards Officers in the Office of Fair Trading have dealt with three distinct and separate groups of itinerant traders selling goods in the Island without the requisite licences.

    In September 2004 a group of around 70 traders in 30 vans arrived on the Island. Their unlicensed selling of power tools and generators caused the Office, the Police, local consumers and local businesses major problems. A second smaller group came over to the Island in July 2005 selling hand tools.

    Both groups left the Island voluntarily after intervention by Trading Standards Officers.

    The current fee for a licence under the Non-Resident Traders Act 1983 is £1,500 for the first three days (and £300 for each succeeding consecutive day).

    The Office will refuse to issue a licence to a trader unless satisfied that the trader is a fit and proper person. A check is made with authorities in the UK (and elsewhere if necessary) in relation to any person named on the application form.

    30th January 2006

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