There are huge growing concerns the UK is being a hub for the sales of refrigerant in disposable cylinders, an illegal container that has been banned for use within Europe for over 10 years. With growing evidence of contractors and engineers being contacted with offers of refrigerant, including R410A and R404A in illegal disposable cylinders, a quick search on eBay reveals vendors offering R404A in disposables. Some of which are also the source of listings on other sites including Ireland & France.
Since pressure from the industry, eBay has deleted some of the items insisting that any listings that don’t comply with its policies will be removed.
All the suspect listings are using images of disposable cylinders and others clearly state in the product descriptions that the refrigerant will be provided within these illegal disposables. It is still not known whether the product is being imported from outside of the quota system, however, it is clearly avoiding UK customs inspections and policing by the Environmental Agency.
With the huge increases in the price of high GWP refrigerants in the UK and Europe, the market has seen some individuals seeking alternative sources for the gas, and with the lack of policing of the F-gas regulations is presenting them with the opportunity to make large profits.
Established refrigerant suppliers are raising concerns about the purity of some of this refrigerant and its effects on both system efficiencies and reliability. Of much greater concern is that the current high refrigerant prices might encourage a reappearance of dangerous counterfeits with caused a number of deaths in 2011. Some of the illegal refrigerants now removed from eBays UK marketplace also included the CFC’s R12 and R502 from a source in the USA.