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Press releases 2002 -

First Stop Now Order

Craftsman Kitchens officers stopped from trading unfairly

PN 18/02     22 April 2002

Four company officers involved with Manchester-based Craftsman Kitchens Ltd and Craftsman Kitchens Manufacturing Ltd have been prevented from trading unfairly following action by the OFT.

A Stop Now Order has been granted by Manchester County Court against Vance Miller, George Brown, Nichola Brodie and Sadiya Hussein.

The OFT and trading standards have received a very large number of complaints from all over the country about these companies supplying shoddy kitchens or failing to deliver ordered parts.

The Stop Now Order requires the individuals to stop breaching consumer legislation. This includes supplying goods not of satisfactory quality and supplying goods not as described. Other parts of the Order made by the court also prevent the individuals from failing to deliver goods and using an unfair contract term which imposes unfair charges on consumers who cancel their contracts.

If any of the four individuals commit further similar breaches of consumer legislation, the OFT could take them to court for contempt. This carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. In a separate action by the Department of Trade and Industry, Craftsman Kitchens Ltd and Craftsman Kitchens Manufacturing Ltd were wound up in the High Court on 27 March 2002. However, the individuals trade under other names. This order applies to any business they operate.

John Vickers, Director General of Fair Trading said:

'This is the first court action under the new Stop Now Regulations. It is a warning to any individual or business that is harming consumers by breaching consumer law.'

NOTES

1. An Order was made by Manchester County Court on Friday 19 April 2002 under the Stop Now Regulations, Part III of the Fair Trading Act and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

2. Under the Stop Now Regulations, the OFT can apply for a Court order against traders who breach or are threatening to breach a number of laws harming the collective interests of consumers covered by those laws. It can seek written assurances in lieu of court action.

3. The Regulations cover the following areas: doorstep selling, timeshare, unfair contract terms, consumer credit, distance selling, package travel, package holidays and package tours, misleading and comparative advertising, sale of goods rights, TV broadcasting activities and advertising of medicinal products for human use.

4. Part III of the Fair Trading Act 1973 provides that, where it appears that a person has persisted in a course of conduct detrimental to the interests of consumers and has broken his obligations under criminal or civil law, the Director General of Fair Trading can ultimately bring court proceedings for an Order.

5. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (UTCCRs) came into force on 1 October 1999 and replaced the 1994 Regulations. The regulations implement an EC Directive (EC Directive 93/13) in the UK. UTCCRs apply to standard contract terms used with consumers in contracts made after 1 July 1995. The Regulations say that a consumer is not bound by a standard term in a contract with a seller or supplier if that term is unfair. They also give the Director General of Fair Trading and other Qualifying Bodies powers to stop the use of unfair standard terms, if necessary by obtaining a court injunction.




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