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APHC addresses online sales of HVAC equipment

The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) is raising the issue of plumbing and heating items through online marketplace eBay.

It states that sales of safety critical gas components via non-recognised routes may lead to unsafe components being supplied or being applied incorrectly, resulting in major safety issues.

“There are thousands of gas and plumbing components for sale on eBay in various states of repair,” says Rick Crees from APHC.

“It’s a frightening thought that anyone at all can buy them and try to fit them, whatever their level of skill. We believe that safety is being compromised and along with that, the reputation of the industry suffers.

“Also, although it is hard to prove, we know many employers fear that products appearing on eBay could have been stolen by unscrupulous employees.

“We have been in contact with eBay and are well aware that they are committed to complying with all of their legal requirements and take these issues seriously.

“However, we would like eBay to go one step further by instigating a system whereby only registered engineers can buy safety-critical components.

“We have given our backing to plumbers’ merchants who have taken a similar stance and we urge eBay to look at the issue again.

“We have corresponded with them and are pleased to say that they are open to further discussions, which we will pursue.”

The following statement was issued by eBay:

“We have policies regards (sic) the sale of illegal or hazardous items to ensure that people trading on are doing so legally and legitimately, and will take immediate action if these rules are breached.

“As with many other marketplaces and classified sites, items can be sold legitimately which require sensible and careful handling, and it is responsibility of the buyer to ensure that any items bought are fitted properly and in accordance with recognised safety standards.

“eBay does not adjudicate on third party contacts and therefore does not remove items based on contractual claims made by a third party, however if an item is reported as stolen, we will fully support any subsequent police investigations.”