16th April 2024

Short measures found at coal yards

Faulty and outdated weighing equipment in Nottinghamshire resulted in consumers being overcharged.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
With household budgets being stretched, it’s more important than ever to make sure residents are not being over-charged for the things that they buy

A series of inspections by Officers at Nottinghamshire Trading Standards has revealed that consumers buying solid fuel in the county have been getting less than they paid for, with more than 10% of bags checked being underweight by up to half a kilo each.

As part of continuing work to support consumers struggling to meet the rising cost of living, the Nottinghamshire Trading Standards team weighed 645 bags totalling around 16 tonnes, and found that 11% were significantly underweight due to badly maintained weighing equipment at some of the county’s coal yards.

At one coal yard, the equipment was so inaccurate that every single bag weighed contained less than the amount stated on the label, amounting to a consumer loss of nearly £13 per tonne.

Officers removed all substantially underweight bags and they were repacked.

Further investigations revealed that weighing equipment which dated from as far back as 1963 had mechanical parts bent out of shape, making accurate weighing impossible. Following the inspections, all faulty equipment has been either repaired or replaced by the yards concerned.

Nottinghamshire Trading Standards is warning coal yards they may face prosecution if any further underweight bags of solid fuel are sold to residents, and is reminding businesses that they are legally required to use weighing equipment that is both accurate and suitably maintained.

Under current legislation, manufactured solid fuels must also be certified for use, meaning that they must meet certain emission limits, and can only be sold if they are accompanied by the manufacturer’s name, product certification number and the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo. All the solid fuel that was inspected was also checked to ensure that it met these requirements.

Councillor Scott Carlton, Nottinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “With household budgets being stretched, it’s more important than ever to make sure residents are not being over-charged for the things that they buy. That’s why our Trading Standards Officers regularly carry out routine inspections of suppliers and retailers across Nottinghamshire to make sure residents are getting what they pay for and that they products they buy are safe and legal to use.

“In those cases where we have found businesses are giving customers less than required, I am pleased to say that they have willingly repaired and adjusted their equipment to ensure customers will receive the correct amounts.”

One response to “Short measures found at coal yards”

  1. Roy Kudibal says:

    Contrary to the Councillor’s remarks, the situation reveals the absence or neglect of routine inspections which should have, nipped in the bud, the use of faulty weighing equipment.

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