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Northern Ireland company breaks record for number of complaints

BY LINDA STEWART

Published 06/07/2016

Richard O’Hara , pleaded guilty to 10 charges at Craigavon Magistrate’s Court.
Richard O’Hara , pleaded guilty to 10 charges at Craigavon Magistrate’s Court.

A man whose online business became the single biggest cause of complaints to Trading Standards has been fined £1,000.

Richard O’Hara ,  from Portadown , a company director of JRN Retail Group Ltd and trading as Nigel O’Hara — pleaded guilty to 10 charges at Craigavon Magistrate’s Court.

JRN Retail Group, which previously operated a jewellers shop in William Street, Portadown, but ceased trading in November 2015, also pleaded guilty to 10 similar charges.

The company operated an online business which advertised over 91,000 different products for sale on its website. Goods offered for sale included items such as plasma televisions, art prints, jewellery and shampoo.

However in 2013, the Trading Standards Service began to notice an increase in the number of complaints about the business.

Trading Standards tried to advise the business on how to fix its procedures to ensure complaints were addressed.

Yet it failed to heed this and complaints grew at such a rate that between July and September 2014, Nigel O’Hara became the most complained about business to the Trading Standards Service.

An investigation carried out by the service found the business had misled consumers about the price of goods, about its ability to supply the goods, sales promotions and the discount offered on goods and a 100% cash back competition prize, where no winners were selected.

Furthermore the unreasonable length of time the business held onto customers’ money when they were entitled to a refund was found to be in contravention of “professional diligence”.

Anyone who believes they been misled by an online retailer should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.

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