West Sussex Trading Standards officers have secured a conviction against a Middlesex firm that collects and stores stems cells for false advertising.
Precious Cells International, based at Gardiner Building Brunel Science Park, Kingston Lane in Uxbridge, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs to WSCC’s Trading Standards service of £2,761.71 after pleading guilty to six offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008.
Trading Standards launched an investigation last year after receiving a complaint from a West Sussex business that the company’s marketing material and website gave misleading information.
False claims included that Precious Cells was the “first company to gain 35 unique licences from the Human Tissue Authority”. However, this was found to be false by WSCC Trading Standards. Precious Cells held one licence from the Human Tissue Authority and was not the first business to have been awarded such a licence.
Precious Cells also created and applied a misleading logo to its website and marketing material which stated it was the “World’s first accredited bio-bank”, which was also found to be false as an investigation concluded it had received no such accreditation.
Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “Consumers rely on information provided by the business in order to decide whether to contract with them or a competitor. As it has been alleged that misleading and false statements have been provided to consumers, and, if they had known the truth, they may not have decided to contract with the business in the first instance.
“This is another great result from West Sussex Trading Standards and I want to thank all officers involved for their help securing this conviction.
“This firm was outside of the boundaries of West Sussex but was, through its false advertising, affecting the business of our firms here.”
The case was heard at Worthing Magistrates Court on 12 December 2014.