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Weight loss entrepreneur prosecuted over potentially dangerous “ultrasonic liposuction machines" (9 June 2017)

Date: 09/06/2017
Duncan Lewis, Personal Injury Solicitors, Weight loss entrepreneur prosecuted over potentially dangerous “ultrasonic liposuction machines

A man who sold ultrasonic liposuction machines to the public as weight loss devices has been described as a “snake oil salesman” by a judge at Coventry Crown Court.

Aaron William Stuart O’Brian Nickols ran his business, the UK WeightLoss Network from offices in Rugby and Wolston in Warwickshire.

Nickols purchased 400 devices from a Chinese manufacturer on eBay at a cost of £170 each, before renting them out for £199 per month to consumers across the UK.

The curt heard that Nickols used the names Sarah Price and Paul Jones to hide his identity – he had previously been made bankrupt, with a string of unsatisfied County Court Judgments registered against him, totalling approximately £1.6 million.

In advertisements in national newspapers, he claimed that the ultrasonic liposuction device would enable the user to lose weight without dieting, exercise or surgery. Users were instructed to apply a jelly to their fatty areas before rubbing the electrical device across to melt the fat away.

Adverts stated that users could “Get the body you’ve always wanted with no gym and no diets!” – and added that the product was a “revolutionary treatment” that “shifts stubborn fat fast!”

In reality, the claims made about the product were false and misleading, with no scientific evidence to back the claims. The products were also electrically unsafe.

At Warwick Crown Court, Aaron William Stuart O’Brian Nickols, 34, of Sketchley Old Village in Burbage, Hinckley, Leicestershire pleaded guilty to placing adverts which misled consumers, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

He had pleaded guilty at an early hearing to supplying an unsafe appliance contrary to section 12(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 – and carrying on his business contrary to the requirements of professional diligence.

At Coventry Crown Court, His Honour Mr Recorder Levins on sentencing Nickols said that he was satisfied the devices “were entirely a sham”.

Team Manager at Warwickshire Trading Standards, Simon Coupe, said:

“We began to receive complaints about the UKWeightloss Network after the business refused to refund its customers when they complained that the device didn’t work – and, in some cases, had begun to smoke and give them electrical shocks.”

“In one case, the device being rented was supplied directly from the manufacturer in China to the consumer and the import document described it as a metal polishing machine.”

Consumers also complained that the devices were dirty, damaged and simply did not do what Nickols had claimed. Some arrived broken and could not be turned on – however, despite their persistent attempts, the court heard that many customers failed to obtain a refund from Nickols.

Trading Standards Officers also found that the devices had not been safety checked when they had been imported – despite Nickols having a legal obligation to do so – and also did not meet electrical safety standards.

In mitigation, Nickols’ legal representative told the court said that he was a man of previously good character and had now shut down the business.

Nickols has given an undertaking to Warwickshire County Council that he will no longer be involved in the sale or supply of ultrasonic liposuction devices.

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