Discount retailer Poundworld has been ordered to pay £63,000 after it admitted selling vests that were misleadingly described as hi vis.
The prosecution followed an investigation by Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards officers into sales of vests in 2014.
On 28 March last year, officers bought an Edwards Tools and Accessories Hi Vis Safety Vest for £1 from Poundworld in Watford. When the vest was tested to measure its visibility in low light conditions, the testing company described the results as “amongst the worst” it had ever recorded. Neither the fluorescent yellow background material nor the retro reflective strips met necessary standards.
Poundworld agreed to withdraw the product from sale on 5 June 2014 but said it had never received any complaints about the vests and believed the test failures could be a batch problem.
When the vest was further tested for daytime visibility, it failed again and Poundworld carried out a national product recall on 16 January 2015.
At St Albans Crown Court last week (20 November), Poundworld Retail was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £42,395 in an agreed confiscation order as well as £6123 in prosecution costs.
In mitigation, the court accepted that Poundworld had dealt with the issue promptly by withdrawing stocks immediately and following up with the recall. The company also cooperated throughout the investigation, entered an early guilty plea and worked with its local trading standards home authority. It now uses UK test centres to provide reliable reports.