6th February 2020

Mail scammers found guilty

A company which sent out misleading promotional material which tricked elderly consumers has been fined following a trading standards investigation.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
TYPE
SUBJECT
REGION
SHARE ARTICLE
As this prosecution shows, when companies deliberately give misleading or false information, we will investigate and bring them to justice

A prosecution brought by the NTS Yorkshire & the Humber Regional Investigations Team has resulted in a company being fined £150,000 for sending scam promotional mailings to elderly people.

Between January and June 2018, Kingstown Associates Ltd, based in Driffield, East Yorkshire, sent out promotional mailings which created a false impression that recipients were guaranteed a share of tens of thousands of pounds. However, in order to claim the cash prize, consumers had to first purchase products from the company. Having made a purchase they discovered the cash prize had little or no value.

On 15 January 2020 at York Magistrate’s Court Kingstown Associates was found guilty of ‘banned practices’ under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. On January 21 2020 the company was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and prosecution costs of £10,763.84.

Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said: “Kingstown Associates Ltd deliberately targeted and misled elderly consumers with scam promotional mailings for financial gain. The company engaged in commercial practices that are banned under the Unfair Trading Regulations and will now, quite rightly, pay the price for their actions.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning at City of York Council, said: “I applaud our investigators for unveiling and successfully prosecuting a mail scam that preyed upon vulnerable members of the community for financial gain.

“As this prosecution shows, when companies deliberately give misleading or false information, we will investigate and bring them to justice.”

The company had previously been investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which banned the company’s misleading promotional mailings. However, the company had failed to make sufficient improvements to its commercial practices.