An eBay seller from Exmouth who was convicted of supplying fake and unsafe cosmetic products has been ordered to pay almost £25,000 following a financial investigation into the profits made from the sales under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Deborah Hamber received a four month suspended prison sentence plus 150 hours of community service at Exeter Crown Court in May after being prosecuted by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service.
She now has six months to pay £24,720.02 and if she does not she faces a 14 month prison sentence.
Ms Hamber used two separate eBay accounts to sell £25,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetic products, bearing brand names such as Benefit, Lancome and MAC.
Trading Standards Officers carried out a test purchase and had the goods analysed. Following confirmation that the products were counterfeit, a warrant was executed at her Exmouth home and more fake goods were seized.
There, letters were found to Ms Hamber from the UK Border Agency and Detain UK, advising her that they had detained parcels of Benefit cosmetics addressed to her, as they were counterfeit.
Letters from customers, some complaining that the goods they had been sold were fake, were also found.
Feedback left on the eBay website also showed how some customers had been misled.
In addition to the products being fake, one product, a Benefit Bad Gal mascara, was found to contain twice the permitted levels of lead.
Ms Hamber had earlier pleaded guilty at Magistrates Court to six offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994, in relation to the supply and intention to supply counterfeit goods, and one under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 in relation to the unsafe mascaras.
The Court also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the seized goods and a confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
He said: “This legislation helps us to ensure criminals do not keep all the proceeds of their crimes. A percentage of the money paid will now be used in crime reduction and community initiatives, which is excellent news.”
If you require consumer advice, wish to make a complaint about a trader or to report a matter to Trading Standards call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on
03454 04 05 06 or find out more at www.adviceguide.org.uk