A company claiming to be creating the world’s smallest travel adapter ignored potential safety concerns and continued to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds through crowdfunding campaigns, despite concern from trading standards officers.
An increase in unsafe electrical products during the past decade is due to direct purchases made outside the UK via the internet which aren’t subject to the same safety tests as products made in the UK.
Trading standards officers from Merton Council were alerted to the prototype claiming to be the ‘world’s smallest universal travel adapter’ by PlugSafe, a voluntary organisation safeguarding against unsafe and counterfeit goods.
Investors were being misled about suitability of the adapter for the UK market and that it could be as small as it claimed.
Cllr Ross Garrod, Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Street Cleanliness and Parking, said: “Universal safety adaptors have specific safety requirements including their design and size because of the components.”
“Trading standards contacted the developers saying it needed to adhere to relevant laws regarding the manufacture of this type of product and not to raise any more money through crowd-surfing until it could be discussed.”
The initial crowd surfing campaign raised half-a-million pounds but a second campaign was started on another site, despite developers having sufficient funds to develop the product and have it tested.
Trading standard intervened ensuring more than 10,000 investors were refunded £452, 626.
Cllr Garrod added: “We want to help businesses succeed but not at the expense of overzealous marketing which potentially misleads investors.”