A Crawley parking firm must pay fines and costs totalling more than £10,000 after falsely claiming to be part of West Sussex County Council’s Buy with Confidence scheme.
EPS Parking Ltd was found guilty of breaching the Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008 by claiming to be an approved operator of the Trading Standards scheme on its website.
The court heard the company also made other false claims, including that it was a Gatwick Airport approved operator, Park Mark approved operator and British Parking Association approved operator.
The firm was not in court for Friday’s case (May 16) at Crawley Magistrates’ Court.
Magistrates fined the company – which has a registered address of Graffham Close, Ifield – £2,000 for each of the five offences and awarded costs of £2,683 to West Sussex County Council.
A spokesman for the county council said the Trading Standards service began its investigation following complaints from customers last October.
She added: “The company was originally a member of the Buy with Confidence scheme but was removed and should not have been advertising that it was still a member.
“The Buy With Confidence scheme provides a list of hundreds of reputable local business, checked and vetted by West Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards Team.”
Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “I hope this sends a clear message that we will always act against people who claim to be part of the Buy With Confidence scheme who aren’t.
“The scheme exists precisely to protect people against this sort of underhand action and I am pleased that the magistrates on Friday saw fit to issue such a large fine.
“We would always encourage people to check the Buy With Confidence scheme to source reputable traders in the knowledge they have already been checked and vetted by us.”
For more information about Buy With Confidence, or West Sussex Trading Standards Service, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk