Robert Stevenson represents photography company and two-directors, charged with engaging in unfair commercial practices, contrary to the provisions of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.Park Square Barristers
Robert Stevenson appeared on behalf of a photography company and two-directors, each facing numerous charges of engaging in unfair commercial practices, contrary to the provisions of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
It was initially alleged by the prosecuting authority, Trading Standards, that the defendants had committed approximately fifteen offences under the regulations, including engaging in unfair, misleading, prohibited, and aggressive commercial practices.
The prosecution relied upon forty-three complainants over a two-year period, all of whom made complaints in relation to the way that the company advertised and sold its services to them in ways which were unfair.
The alleged practices included offering the chance to win a free makeover and photoshoot which was not a real competition and cost money to redeem the prize, pressure-selling, the use of unregulated credit agreements and a variety of other unfair selling techniques.
The company, which had a turnover during the relevant period of approximately £1.5m, faced the prospect of a six-figure fine, and the directors risked prison sentences, had they been convicted of all charges in accordance with the initial prosecution case. The case was due to last several weeks, and the prosecution sought costs in excess of £100,000.
Ultimately the company and one of the directors pleaded guilty to a single offence of engaging in unfair commercial practices, following agreement in relation to a basis of plea. The prosecution did not proceed against the second director.
After receiving written and oral submissions, the judge rejected the prosecution submission that the defendant had been less than transparent when declaring its finances and imposed upon the company a fine of £30,000, together with costs of £15,000 and compensation of £17,000. The director received a fine of £4,000, together with costs of £10,000.
Robert Stevenson is Head of the Health & Safety Team at Park Square Barristers, an A list Specialist Regulatory Advocate and is ranked in Tier 1 for Regulatory, Health and Safety, and Licensing – the Legal 500 (2020)
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