A TRADER whose business was turning over £400,000 per year renting out ‘ultrasonic liposuction’ devices which he claimed would enable users to lose weight without exercise or dieting has been successfully prosecuted by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
Aaron William Stuart O’Brian Nickols, ran his business, the ‘UK WeightLoss Network’ from offices in Rugby and Wolston.
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.
In advertisements in national newspapers, Nickols (who used the name Paul Jones to hide his identity) 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.
Nickols advert’s stated users could ‘Get the body you’ve always wanted with no gym and no diets’ and that the product was a ‘revolutionary treatment’ that ‘shifts stubborn fat fast!’
In reality, the claims were false and misleading, and there was no scientific evidence to back the claims he was making. The products were also electrically unsafe.
Simon Coupe, team leader, Warwickshire Trading Standards said: “We began to receive complaints about the UK Weightloss Network after the business refused to refund its customers when they complained 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 complained that the devices were dirty, damaged and simply didn’t do what they claimed. Some arrived broken and couldn’t even be turned on. However, despite their persistent attempts, many failed to obtain a refund from Nickols.
When consumers tried to take action to recover their money, they were unable to do so because Mr Nickols hid his true identity from consumers.
At Warwick Crown Court on Monday, April 3, Nickols, aged 34 of Sketchley Old Village, Burbage, Hinckley, LE10 3HT pleaded guilty to placing adverts which misled consumers. He had pleaded guilty at an early hearing to supplying an unsafe appliance and carrying on his business contrary to the requirements of professional diligence.
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.
The case has been adjourned for sentencing week commencing Monday, May 15, 2017.