£2,500 fine for seller of fake hairdryer which caught fire when tested

Posing as a genuine customer, a Trading Standards officer test purchased in May last year two gift-sets containing GHD-branded hair dryers and two GHD-branded hair stylers on trading website Amazon from Perfect Strand Ltd.

Abnormal operations test

The goods were received and samples were sent to the relevant trademark holder, who confirmed them as counterfeit.

An abnormal operations test of one of the hairdryers resulted in it catching fire because it did not have a thermal cut-off fitted.

Perfect Strand Ltd company director Maddison Hawk, of Mallard Drive, Witney, admitted four trade mark offence charges on behalf of her company at an Oxford Magistrates' Court hearing on Tuesday 14 October in a case prosecuted by Oxfordshire Trading Standards.

She also pleaded guilty to a charge relating to supplying a product which failed to comply with electrical equipment safety regulations.

The 27-year-old was fined £2,500 - £500 for each of the offences - and was ordered to pay a total of £5,838 in costs.

People easily tempted online

Trading Standards Team Leader Anu Prashar, who prosecuted Hawk, said: "People may be tempted when they spot cheap designer-branded products online and think that they are the genuine product. Unfortunately, as this case shows, there are sellers out there who take advantage.

"Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards team became aware that Perfect Strand Ltd had fake GHD hair products for sale online and successfully carried out a test purchase."

Could have caused serious injury

Ms Prashar added: "Two of Hawk's products were tested and during this process, a hair dryer actually caught fire, because it was defective.

"It was extremely lucky that this happened during a test, rather than when somebody was using the product on their hair, as it could have resulted in serious injury."

Fine should act as a deterrent

Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who has Cabinet responsibility for Trading Standards, said:

"This is another great result for Oxfordshire Trading Standards. I hope this case acts as a deterrent to others out there who may be thinking of selling fake goods and also as a warning to buyers who are not sure if what they see for sale is genuine."

Hawk was also ordered to pay a total of £100 in victim surcharges.