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Don’T Accept Suites From Strangers! 16 March 2007

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading is warning local consumers and businesses not to purchase upholstered furniture offered for sale by off-Island traders operating as hawkers.

The Office’s enforcement officers recently took possession of a three-piece suite being offered for sale by an itinerant trader. The suite was cream in colour and comprised a 3-seater settee, a 2-seater settee and an armchair.

The trader voluntarily surrendered possession of the suite when the enforcement officers told him that they were confident that the fabric used to cover the suite was almost certainly PVC and not leather and that fire resistance tests would show that the suite was not only falsely described but also a fire hazard.

The Office believes that a small but significant number of local consumers and businesses may have recently been offered similar suites by itinerant traders and that those consumers and businesses may not be aware that the suites pose a very serious risk to life as they catch fire most readily and give off large amounts of thick black smoke as they burn. Informal tests by Island firefighters have confirmed that the suite is a potential death trap.

Consumers and businesses approached by itinerant traders offering upholstered furniture for sale should contact the Office for advice and should not buy or agree to buy the goods until they have done so.

Quintin Gill MHK, Chairman of the OFT said: “Local consumers and businesses should beware when offered ‘bargain leather suites’ by itinerant traders. The goods will more often than not turn out to be misdescribed and may even be extremely hazardous. Once again our officers have acted swiftly to protect local consumers and the livelihood of local businesses selling the genuine article.”

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