Issued By
Cumbria County Council


Cumbria Trading Standards warn consumers to beware of doorstep sellers peddling cheap, potentially dangerous sofas. Consumers placing these sofas in their home could be putting their home and family at risk. This could be the worst and last purchase you make in your life.

Lorries packed full of suites are arriving from Eastern Europe, especially Poland, to docks up and down the country. The majority of suites do not comply with UK fire safety regulations. Steps are being taken nationally by Trading Standards, Customs, and the Department of Trade and Industry to stop the distribution of these unsafe suites and sofas, but it is impossible to stop all imports.

Phil Ashcroft, Head of Cumbria Trading Standards, warns householders not to buy from doorstep sellers in unmarked vehicles, or in unusual places such as supermarket and pub car parks:

“Often our warnings are to save people from being ripped off. This warning is far more important – it is about your safety in your own home. Safety regulations for furniture are a direct result of some horrendous domestic fires in the past, in which all too often people died. We are anxious to hear form anyone who is offered one of these suites, so if you see or hear of them being offered around your area, please get in touch with Bill Procter on 01539 773573 or Ernie Greenhalgh on 01539 773571”

Notes for Editors:

1. Under current UK legislation The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 state furniture

2. EU Legislation

The suspected unsafe goods are initially detained for the 3 working day period and TSO informed of the consignment. The TSO should then inspect the goods and the accompanying import entry documentation within the detention time limit and decide whether the goods are unsafe.

Where goods detained under EC Regulation 339/93 are found to present a risk TSOs are empowered, under Article 6 of this legislation, to endorse the import entry documentation, including invoices etc with one of the following statements:

3. Images of the sofas are available on request; please contact the TSI Press Office.

4. Video Footage of one of the sofas undergoing the cigarette test is available on request; please contact the
TSI Press Office.

5. A TSI spokesperson is available for interview; please contact the TSI Press Office.

6. A Guide to The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 can be viewed and downloaded
from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) website

7. For more information on this Press Release, contact Bill Procter at Cumbria Trading Standards on
01539 773573.