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Lidl fined over recalled chair bed

Fire labelling problems with chair beds sold in the UK by Lidl

Posted on 19 September 2014

German supermarket giant Lidl has recently been fined £3,000 for selling unsafe and incorrectly labelled furniture.

On Wednesday 3 September 2014 at Chesterfield Magistrates Courts, Lidl UK GmbH pleaded guilty to selling Chair Beds that did not comply with mandatory flammability and labelling requirements set out in UK legislation.

The upholstered furniture in question was inspected by Trading Standards, who purchased the Chair Bed from a Lidl store in Chesterfield in January 2014. Following independent testing, Trading Standards announced that the Chair Bed failed to comply with the regulations. 

It was reported that pre-market testing on the product, carried out by the German-based manufacturers, was based on the presumption that the Chair Bed was a mattress, not upholstered furniture. Under UK law, upholstered furniture must meet Specification Standard BS 7176, whereas mattresses must meet Standard BS 7177.

The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 requires that all new furniture sold in the UK must pass fire retardancy tests before it can be sold. The regulations stipulate that all upholstered furniture must pass flammability tests, where the furniture’s fabric is exposed to a range of ignition sources. This is often referred to as the Cigarette and Match test. 

The aim of these tests is to minimise endangerment to life by ensuring that furniture and furnishings are as safe as possible. In line with the regulations, all furniture must be correctly labelled and marked with appropriate fire safety warnings.

Domestic fires can lead to serious personal injury, and sometimes death. Materials used to fill or cover furniture may also produce poisonous gases on burning, such as carbon monoxide, which can cause serious harm.

Following testing by Trading Standards, Lidl issued a nationwide product recall earlier this year, having sold in excess of 5,000 units.

The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) has produced a guide in collaboration with the Executive of the British Furniture Confederation on furniture fire safety requirements.

The consumer safety team at Leigh Day is acting for a number of people who have experienced serious house fires when their household appliances, including tumble dryers, dishwashers and fridge freezers, have caught fire.

If you have been through this frightening experience and would like to speak to a lawyer about the possibility of bringing a compensation claim please give Jill a call on 020 7650 1219 for a free initial consultation.