Local company guilty of malpractice

Olympia Computer Systems UK Ltd of 391 Durnsford Road, Wimbledon, and its director, pleaded guilty on 3 October, to three matters, at Kingston Crown Court, brought by Merton Council.

The first charge involved the company applying a false description to an Apple computer. They claimed that a refurbished computer was new when it was sold in November 2004. The machine had been previously owned by someone and was returned to Apple for refurbishment. When it left the Apple factory, the system was clearly labelled as refurbished and couldn’t be mistaken for a new one.

To sell the computer as new, the company removed packaging labels that stated the computer was refurbished and sold it for the same price as a new one. According to the judge, the transaction involved dishonesty and fined them £1,500.

The second charge related to a statement made by the company that the motherboard of a computer meant for repair had “gone”. In July 2005, Trading Standard Officers gave Olympia Computer Systems a computer to repair and hired an expert computer engineer to create easy and minor faults into the computer base unit.

Replacing the battery and securing the loose memory chip would’ve fixed these faults. Olympia, however, said that the motherboard had gone and a new one, plus a processor had to be bought. The reason given was that a motherboard of the same type couldn’t be obtained. For this offence, the court fined them £1000.

The last charge related to the company loading new software, which was illegal on the above repaired computer. The judge ruled that the software was loaded unlawfully, without the consent of Microsoft and fined Olympia £2000. He also remarked that Microsoft’s loss might be small, but they were entitled to protect their rights.

Mr Russell Lucas, Olympia’s director, also pleaded guilty to a similar charge to the last matter. He was sentenced to carry out 200 hours of community work under a Community Punishment Order.

The company were ordered to pay £6,085.88 for Merton’s investigation and prosecution costs, with the company paying £5000 and Mr Lucas, £1085.88. The total fines came to £4,500, requiring a total payment of £10,585.88