Combating counterfeit oil level monitors

Two of the oil industry’s largest oil monitoring suppliers – Dunraven Systems and Kingspan Environmental – have issued warnings over the danger of counterfeit products entering the UK and Irish markets.
The warnings come after it was discovered that counterfeit products were being offered for sale both online and offline using both companies highly reputable brand names.

Electrical failings

Tests on the counterfeit products revealed a number of serious electrical safety failings, with the potential to cause serious damage and injury.
Thanks to the strenuous efforts of responsible oil equipment manufacturers and installers, heating oil today represents a safe and responsible fuel choice.
However, recently the sale of counterfeit oil monitoring equipment on an internet auction website was discovered, with further investigations revealing that the same products are now also being offered offline as well.
Testing revealed fundamental electrical safety flaws, with the potential to jeopardise the safety of installers and consumers alike. Meanwhile, the product supplier’s claims of compliance with European and international safety standards have turned out to be false.

Prioritising safety

“At Kingspan Sensor, we prioritise the safety of our customers above all else and all Watchman products have been independently tested to ensure they exceed all applicable safety standards,” said director David Anderson.
“As a responsible supplier, we’re concerned that counterfeit product, with such serious shortcomings is readily available. We’re committed to working with responsible industry partners to address what is potentially not only a risk to consumer safety, but a risk to the success and reputation of our industry.”

Grave concern

Michael McCaughley, business manager at specialist Dunraven Systems which produces Apollo monitoring products, said:
“We invest considerable time, expertise and effort developing and supplying products which aren’t just fit for purpose, but which are engineered from the outset to exceed the most demanding UK, Irish, European and global regulations.
“The availability of counterfeit product, seemingly manufactured to no standards whatsoever and posing a very real risk of serious injury is a matter of grave concern to us.
“We’re working with stakeholders across the industry to help combat what we believe is a clear threat to the safety of British and Irish heating oil users and technicians.”

An Industry wide issue

“The issue of counterfeit product is not just a matter for manufacturers and suppliers,” added Michael.
“Instead, it’s an industry wide issue. Responsibility for the safe specification and installation of oil equipment exists throughout the supply chain.
“I would urge technicians in particular to demonstrate caution and vigilance when fitting equipment. In the event of an incident or catastrophic failure, they may find themselves liable if it’s proven they had reason to believe a fitted part or component was sub-standard or counterfeit.”

Combating the counterfeiters

Separately both Michael and David commented that this is not the first time, that counterfeit plumbing and heating equipment has appeared on the market and helpfully offer the following advice for technicians:
Be suspicious of parts and equipment at unusually low prices. If it seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

  • Request confirmation in writing from merchants and distributors that the products they supply are compliant with applicable standards. Responsible suppliers will gladly provide this;
  • If you are in doubt as to the fitness for purpose of any product, simply don’t fit it;
  • If you order a product which upon delivery is different to the product you ordered – return it. By law, you are entitled to a refund for goods which are not as described;
  • Buy only from responsible and reputable merchants. On many internet auction websites, you are not dealing with UK or Irish suppliers. You cannot be certain of the quality or suitability of the products offered for sale.

Both Kingspan and Dunraven would urge anyone wishing to confirm whether any product offered for sale is legitimate, they should contact the manufacturer directly.