A LLANELLI-based mobility aid company must pay out £17,550 after their shoddy workmanship left an 87-year-old disabled woman at risk.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s trading standards team have welcomed the outcome of their investigation into LTC Mobility Ltd, which led to the company admitting to contravening professional diligence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The trading standards investigation focused on a complaint by the daughter of a wheelchair-bound 87-year-old, who suffers from a number of illnesses, including Motor Neurone Disease, and requires a hoist to move around her Burry Port home.
After contacting LTC Mobility Ltd and arranging a home visit and assessment, the family agreed to pay £4,107 for the installation of three ceiling hoists on a track system.
However, on visiting her mum’s property on the day they were installed, the complainant became concerned that the hoist system would not meet her mother’s needs and contacted the company to complain.
She spoke to company director Alan Davies but was not assured by his response.
The council’s trading standards team then became involved, commissioning a structural engineer to inspect the hoist installation.
The engineer concluded that all three tracks failed the British standard for the hoist load and were improperly fixed to ceiling joists, going against the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
Furthermore, trading standards discovered that the company had failed to give their customer written confirmation of her 14-day cancellation rights – a legal requirement which provides consumers with protection if they change their mind.
The company later offered to remove the hoist system and refund the customer’s money, however the elderly lady did not want the company returning to her property and they have remained in place – unused – throughout the trading standards investigation.
Carmarthenshire County Council referred the case to Llanelli Magistrates Court.
After pleading guilty, LTC Mobility Ltd was ordered to pay the pensioner £5,000 in compensation as well as £12,000 in costs, a £500 fine and a £50 victim surcharge.
The company said it has now changed its installation process and has received new training from the hoist manufacturer.
LTC Mobility Ltd will work now with Carmarthenshire County Council to identify and rectify any other ceiling track hoists that have been fitted in a similar manner.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Public Protection said: “Such poor standards of installation could have had devastating consequences and it is fortunate that the system installed by LTC Mobility Ltd was never used. This was a thorough investigation by our trading standards team that not only provided a satisfactory outcome for the complainant but has forced the company to make much-needed improvements to its installation process which we hope will benefit future customers.”