A husband and wife team have been banned from being company directors after breaching agreements to stop publishing misleading tractor adverts.
Alan Farrow and Marina Farrow - directors of East Yorkshire Machinery Limited - have both been disqualified from starting their own business for six years.
The 34-year-olds founded the Shiptonthorpe-based firm in 2013. It bought and sold second-hand agricultural machinery.
But following complaints to East Yorkshire Council Trading Standards, Mr Farrow signed an undertaking in 2016 agreeing that he would stop publishing adverts that were misleading about the condition of machinery.
However, he continued to breach the undertaking and following court action brought against him by Trading Standards, he signed a further agreement in November 2017.
By April 2018, East Yorkshire Machinery was placed into liquidation and a subsequent investigation by the Insolvency Service into the conduct of the pair found several complaints had been made to Trading Standards.
Investigators uncovered that between January 2016 and October 2017, at least 11 customers purchased tractors and other goods advertised for sale from East Yorkshire Machinery worth more than £88,000.
East Yorkshire Machinery, however, didn’t supply or deliver the goods and failed to refund several customers.
Further enquiries uncovered that between April 2016 and May 2017, at least seven customers bought goods from the company worth close to £35,000.
However, customers received goods that were either mis-described or not in the same condition as advertised. Three customers managed to secure refunds after obtaining court judgements.
On 16 April 2020, the couple had their disqualification undertakings accepted by the Secretary of State after they did not dispute that they had caused or allowed their firm to continue to breach the marketing regulations.
John Bryan, a senior trading standards officer, said the couple operated in a manner that was for their 'own financial and selfish gain.'
"The company had caused considerable distress to its customers, not just in the East Riding, but across the country for a prolonged period of time."
Rob Clarke, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Alan Farrow was fully aware the company was publishing false adverts that misled customers leading to them buying goods that were either misdescribed and in some cases not even supplied.
“What’s worse is that Alan Farrow had signed an agreement promising the company would stop but continued to do so anyway. He has since gone on to sign a further undertaking in court.
“This is totally inappropriate conduct for company directors and thanks to the joint working with East Yorkshire Trading Standards."
He said the couple's bans send a 'clear message' that directors should comply with legislation which is in place to protect customers.