Firm selling dangerously flammable sofas hit with hefty fine

Firm selling dangerously flammable sofas hit with hefty fine

A sofa firm has been prosecuted after it sold furniture which was so flammable, fire safety tests carried out on it had to be stopped. 

In March this year officers from Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards Team made test purchases from Victoria Sofa Ltd, trading under the name Velvet Sofa, based in Dolphin Street. 

This was the result of intelligence gathering which suggested items being sold were not compliant with fire safety regulations. 

During lab testing it was found that the sofa purchased failed number fire safety tests. On several occasions testing had to be prematurely stopped as the test fire started to spread so rapidly. 

Both the fabric cover of the sofa and the polyurethane slab foam inside failed flammability performance tests. 

Victoria Sofa Limited and its director Mohammad Khurshid were invited by Trading Standards to be interviewed on the alleged safety breaches. During this process Khurshid said that testing on the furniture was not carried out in-house, and that duty of care was placed on the suppliers of foam and fabric. 

After these hazards were uncovered, the company was told to issue a product recall on the affected models. 

At a hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, November 18 neither Victoria Sofa Limited nor Khurshid appeared. 

Their guilt was proved in absence, relating to five offences under the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. 

The company was fined £880, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £44 and pay court costs of £1,780. 

Khurshid was fined £440, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £44 and pay £1,780 in costs. 

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods said: “It is frankly staggering how dangerous the furniture being sold at this business was. The fact that testing, in a controlled environment, had to be stopped due to fire safety concerns illustrates this quite starkly. 

“In this case we were fortunately able to put a stop to the practices of this business, had we not, the consequences do not bear thinking about. 

“As ever I am grateful for the diligent efforts of our Trading Standards officers and legal team for securing this successful prosecution.” 

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