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Westcom/Pine fined for false soundcard claims

When is a Yamaha soundcard not a Yamaha soundcard - when it's made by someone else

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Westcom Technology Ltd has been fined £2,500 for making false claims about its Yamaha soundcards. The distributor, which trades as Pine Technology UK, pleaded guilty at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court on 5 November to making "misleading indications" about the cards. According to Milton Keynes Trading Standards Office - the prosecutors in the case - Westcom was selling cards that it claimed were made by Yamaha. But only the chipset was from the Japanese vendor. The rest of the soundcard had been made by Westcom's parent company, Pine Group, in China. Westcom also pleaded guilty to carrying misleading data with the cards. The packaging said the card contained the latest technology from Yamaha, but Yamaha claimed the technology was 12 years old. According to Trading Standards, the statements "16-bit Yamaha Stereo Wavetable Sound Card" and "Latest Technology from Yamaha" were both false and in breach of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. The company was fined £2000, and £500 for legal costs. The soundcards had been in circulation for a year prior to the start of the inquiry last September. Around 34,000 of the cards were distributed in the UK, and another 30,000 throughout Europe. Marnie Sutton, VP of sales, marketing and procurement at Pine Technology, admitted the wording was misleading. However, he said the company had withdrawn the products as soon as it was aware of the complaint. And he disputed that the technology was 12 years old. "We never went out to mislead anyone. But this has been a very big lesson to us," said Sutton. ®

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