A businessman Abdul Farooq Dad from Leicestershire sold potentially dangerous furniture and when people complained they were abused by his staff.
Abdul has been running Maymun Ltd since 2009 and employs around 40 people.
In early 2017 the business came under the radar of Leicestershire Trading Standards following “numerous reports” from dissatisfied customers.
An investigation was launched, and a test purchase of a sofa was carried out, when the sofa arrived there was no fire safety labelling in place and when tested in a lab it failed fire safety requirements.
The product was also stated to be leather but was actually PVC plastic.
Abdul, of Knighton Grange Road, Oadby, appeared before Loughborough magistrates after pleading guilty to a raft of consumer rights violations, including “aggressive commercial practices”.
In a prosecution brought by Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards, the 46-year-old admitted to a total of 36 breaches of consumer protection laws and regulations – on both his and his company’s behalf.
Prosecutor Adam Pearson said: “The furniture business … uses several trade names – including Sofas4Less and Sofa Superstore – selling furniture through its website, Sofas4Less.bargains, and through online sites such as eBay and Amazon.”
The court heard that the company employs up to 40 people, with a small call centre – in Selbury Drive, Oadby taking more than 100 calls per day and manned by 11 people.
Its activities came to the attention of county trading standards in early 2017 following “numerous reports” from dissatisfied customers.
Investigators revealed that consumers were often directed to a derelict factory unit in Marjorie Street, Belgrave, the location of Maymun Ltd’s former base which was destroyed in a fire in 2016.
However, when customers did manage to get hold of the company, they often fell victim to what Mr Pearson described as “aggressive commercial practices”.
Commenting on the case following the hearing, Paul Davis, a team leader in the county trading standards team, said he hoped the prosecution would send a warning message to other unscrupulous traders.
He said: “It’s an extremely serious issue and trading standards will vigorously investigate and prosecute any sales of unsafe goods – and reports of businesses trading unfairly and abusing customers.
“We hope this prosecution serves as an example to others.”