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Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (19 020 215)

Category : Environment and regulation > Trading standards

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Miss X complains the Council seized her stock and is prosecuting her based on a false complaint. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint as matters subject to court proceedings are outside his jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. Miss X complains that in 2018 the Council seized all her business stock valued at £50000, saying the products were illegal.
  2. She says the Council told her it was acting on a complaint it had received. However, Miss X says she now knows this complaint was false.
  3. The council is now taking Miss X to court. The case is scheduled to start in August this year.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint about the start of court action or what happened in court. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5/5A, paragraph 1/3, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information provided by Miss X.

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What I found

  1. Miss X owned a business supplying oral care products. She says following a complaint to its Trading Standards department in 2018, the Council seized all her stock and decided to prosecute her.
  2. She says the original complaint made to the Council was false and the customer did not purchase her products.
  3. Miss X says the Councils created a viral hate campaign against. This campaign caused her to go into early labour, leaving her child with life-long medical issues. She says it also destroyed her mental health.
  4. Miss X has confirmed the Council is prosecuting her and the court case is due to start in August 2020. The law says the Ombudsman cannot investigate matters which are subject to legal proceedings before a court of law.

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Final decision

  1. I cannot investigate Miss X’s complaint because it relates to matters which are due to be considered in court. The complaint is therefore outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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