A Devon model has been visited by trading standards after they shut down a coffee company selling ‘weight-loss’ products not licensed for the UK market.
Charlotte Thomson, a former business administration student at Plymouth University, had been fronting a campaign to help sell the coffee, leveraging the power of her social media platforms.
Charlotte said she was left “devastated” when she found out that company that she had “put all her trust in”, was trading illegally. She said that she had put her “heart and soul” into the company and worked “every hour God sends” to make it a success.
The model had been working as representative for the company, starting her own branch in Cornwall in January 2017 and had built up a loyal customer base as well as creating jobs in the community by taking on people to help her.
In the Facebook Live video that she posted to her page, she announced that her business would be stopping immediately.
A surprise visit saw Trading Standards turn up at Charlotte’s door to break the news, reports Cornwall Live
She said that she had no idea that the company had been trading illegally, and wanted to raise awareness to stop other people making similar mistakes that could lead to “very serious” consequences.
“I am not the first person that this has happened to, and I won’t be the last,” Charlotte said during her announcement.
She said that she had been worried about making the announcement to her followers.
In the video Charlotte said: “I could have blocked a lot of people from doing this live. I am going to get a massive back lash from doing this live, but I’m prepared for that because I think people need to know the truth.
“I want everyone to know the truth, I want everyone who is watching this to know the truth. I think it’s important.
“Integrity is a lot more important to me than money and that’s why I have made the decision to speak out to you all today and tell you where I’m at.
“I had a visit this week from Trading Standards, I was in my dressing gown holding my little puppy, just got out the shower, just having a normal day thinking everything was fine and I had two officers at the door, including an enforcement officer, telling me that I’m trading illegally.”
The officers told Charlotte that the products she was selling were not registered in the UK and were not allowed to be sold here.
While Charlotte said that the products she was selling were “fantastic” and “proven to work”, she said that she has now made the decision to “walk away” from the company.
Charlotte said that along with herself, her employees had invested a lot of time and money into the business and she felt responsible and felt as though she had let her team and customers down.
In the video she continued: “That’s why I feel so heartbroken about this, they’ve trusted in me and I feel like I’ve let them down.
Charlotte Thomson was best known as one of FHM’s top-rated High Street Honeys
“But it’s not me, it’s been completely out of my hands. This is a decision that I have not taken lightly, but I have basically been told by Trading Standards that I cannot sell these products anymore, I cannot be associated with this company anymore, because it is trading illegally in the UK. That is a fact.”
She explained how she felt after having her business “taken away”.
She went on to say: “My business has been completely taken away from me, out of my control and I’m devastated. But, I’ve got to move on. I’m not the first this has happened to, and I certainly won’t be the last. And this is why I am trying to get the message across, because there will be more, there will be more knocks on doors, whether it’s in Cornwall or London or wherever. They’re watching and they know what we’re doing and unfortunately we have been misled and we have been told a pack of lies, and now we are in a situation and it’s not the fat cats at the top that are worried about this, it’s the girls that have been working their arses off, like me.”
An extract of an email Charlotte sent out about the products in recent months to women in Cornwall.
Telling all in the Facebook Live video, she said that she felt it was important to get the message out to help spread awareness and share the truth about why she would be stopping selling the products that she had raved about in the past.
In the video she added: “I’m not going to allow that to happen, so this is why I am taking a stand. I’m making a life changing really difficult decision for me and my family and I am walking away from the business.”
But keeping a positive attitude, while she deals with her entire businesses stopping, she already has plans to start again.
Charlotte said that she had done a lot of research and found a company that had all of the correct documentation, was backed by reputable sources and produced weight-loss products that are “out of this world”.
She said that would be making another announcement on Facebook later today to speak more about the new company and the products that she will be selling in the future.
Charlotte made headlines last year when she bought a £115,000 toilet block in Cornwall and transformed it into a luxury home.
The former model turned property developer converted the former public toilets in Charlestown, where Poldark is filmed, into a plush new home offering some of the best coastal views in the country.
Charlotte – a finalist in Miss England – bought the 502sq ft property in March 2015 for £115,000.
The former Plymouth University student and her fiance Joey Auger worked flat out on the build since early March of last year.
The project ran into problems when burglars broke into the site and urinated on Charlotte’s belongings, while opposition to the build formed when passersby complained they could see into the bathroom.
But now the conversion has been completed, and the results have completely transformed the drab loo with a view which now boasts a hot tub, underfloor heating and state of the art sound system.
Last August, Charlotte said : “We’ve worked six days a week for seven months solidly starting at 7.30am and working till between 6pm and 8pm most days.
“We weren’t intending to do so much of the project ourselves but were let down by a lot of people and struggled to find good local tradesmen that were reliable – so just got stuck in and did it ourselves.
“We brought it for £115k and no expense has been spared.
“There is a hot tub overlooking the sea and underfloor heating throughout.
She added the couple already had a new renovation project lined up.
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Model visited by trading standards over weight-loss coffee firm