Be aware - Counterfeit refrigerants. Know your product.

 11th Mar 2013

Ice for Refrigeration

The threat of counterfeit refrigerants is on the rise, with fake products now finding their way out of the Far East and into Europe, according to the BRA.

“At best, the counterfeit refrigerants found in the EC contain a mixture of illegal HCFC and CFC products; at worst they may contain methyl chloride, which has already had deadly consequences in the Reefer industry. Adulterated refrigerant has frequently caused poor equipment performance and mechanical breakdown.” ­ The BRA has stated.

The announcement follows serious incident which resulted in explosions across several continents last year, including incidents in Cat Lai, Vietnam. Two people died in the incident and were officially investigated by Cambridge Refrigeration Technology who concluded that the explosions were most likely the result in counterfeit refrigerants which contained a high level of methyl chloride, rather than pure HFC ­ 134a.

Members of the British Refrigeration Association have said that they are growing increasingly concerned by the counterfeit refrigerant cases and urging all refrigerant users to check their suppliers for EU laboratory analysis results or any form of proof of conformity. If the suppliers refuse to give evidence then the BRA has said to stop trading with them immediately.

The BRA added: “It is further noted that counterfeit refrigerants are often sold in cylinders that do not have the correct labeling regarding the supplying company or the contents of the cylinders. Where refrigerant users come across low-cost product and where the supplier and origin is not completely clear, the BRA recommends caution.”

“Additionally where offers include an exchange for cylinders not owned by the supplying company, users need to be aware that they will remain liable for cylinder charges including the cost of the cylinder if it is not returned to the original refrigerant supplier.”

On a more positive note, n DuPont Refrigerants have recently succeeded in shutting down a suspected trader of counterfeit refrigerants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a five-year saga.

The trader’s activities were far-reaching, with links to counterfeit refrigerant gases found in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. ­ thanks to n DuPont Refrigerants, no more illegal products will be sold.  

A suspected trader of counterfeit refrigerants was identified in a market survey in late 2007. In 2008, purchases were made on behalf of DuPont in the UAE, and DuPont confirmed the goods as counterfeits.

The counterfeits were found in cylinders of R-22 refrigerant gas that were illegally branded with the DuPont Freon trademark in a warehouse operated by the trader. It just goes to show how far some shadow businesses will go to cover their tracks by branding their counterfeit refrigerants with respected, successful company logos.

DuPont filed complaints with law enforcement and police conducted a raid, seizing counterfeit refrigerant cylinders, machines, printing templates and counterfeit packaging for DuPont refrigerants. The success of this raid has boosted the awareness and realism of the topic and more and more businesses are becoming aware of the risk they could be taking by not following up and gathering evidence from their suppliers. ­ It could prove invaluable in the long run.

In 2010 DuPont discovered that the warehouse had resumed counterfeiting operations. A massive blow for all their hard efforts and a sobering fact that the organization could manage to resume with their illegal activities.  A second complaint was filed with police on behalf of DuPont and another refrigerant producer. A second raid yielded counterfeit cartons and containers with the DuPont name.

The warehouse was again sealed by police. The owner was then apprehended and sentenced to two years in prison for counterfeiting.

Remember -

  • Ask your supplier for some evidence and/or conformity that the refrigerants they are supplying are BRA approved.
  • If the supplier refuses to give you evidence then stop trading with them immediately. If the evidence they send looks in any way counterfeit or if you have suspicion that the conformity certificate is counterfeit then contact the BRA.
  • Simply by following these steps you could make a big difference.

To find out more about WP Group please contact us by phone on 0800 980 6172 or email to

Notes For Editors

The WP Group, headquartered near Southampton in Hampshire, is a leading independent distributor of fuels and lubricants, with a £200m annual turnover and employing 70 people.

Based at Wessex House, Cadland Road, Hardley, Hythe, WP offers a complete portfolio of products and bespoke service solutions across each of its eight trading divisions ­ Industrial, Aviation, Agricultural, Heating, Automotive, Commercial, Motorsport and Marine.

WP, located by Fawley Oil Refinery, has a 50-year heritage and is the supplier and support specialist of choice to thousands of businesses.

Wessex House
Cadland Road
SO45 3NY
Telephone: 023 8089 7841
Freefone: 0800 980 6172
Fax: 023 8089 8876

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