Poundworld has been fined a six-figure sum for selling thousands of faulty smartphone chargers with fake safety test certificates.
The value retailer has been ordered to pay £166,000, plus an additional £24,000 in costs, after selling more than 72,000 charger kits from its stores across the UK.
However, a court heard that it was not clear how many of the devices Poundworld had managed to successfully recall.
Poundworld said it has since improved its product testing procedures, following the incident in 2015.
The case was brought to Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court by Carmarthenshire County Council, following test purchasing at the retailer’s Llanelli store in spring last year.
Poundworld said it has now returned 36,000 of the charger kits to the manufacturer and insisted that they are no longer on sale in its stores.
Despite the measures taken by the business, Judge Richard Williams said it was likely that a substantial number of the chargers would still be in use, risking customers’ safety.
Judge Williams said the adaptor did not have adequate insulation between circuits, was not made to protect against hazards or overloads and loose wires created a risk of fire or electric shock.
The judge also slammed Poundworld for not issuing a “rapid alert”, which are used to recall dangerous products.
Instead, the retailer posted recall notices in stores, which were dubbed “tardy”.
Poundworld said it had been the victim of fraud, after claiming it had tested the products at a laboratory in China.
The retailer told the court how it was later revealed that the products had not been tested and the safety certificates were forged.
Following the case, a spokesman for Poundworld apologised to customers and said the retailer was working with the supplier to “prevent such incidents from occurring in the future”.
The spokesman added: “We pride ourselves on selling items of the highest quality and safety standards. It was identified that an electrical product, which was removed from sale and subsequently recalled, did not meet the required standards set out by Trading Standards UK, or the quality that we adhere to as a business.
“Any customer who has purchased the item, which was sold through our Discount UK/Bargain Buys stores only, has been offered a full refund. No other product on sale in our stores is affected.
“Since this product was sourced, the company has a new trading director who has reviewed and improved the business’ product testing procedures.”