By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
DuPont Refrigerants recently announced they had completed a five-year effort to shut down a trader suspected of counterfeiting refrigerants in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). The trader’s activities had links to counterfeit refrigerant gases found in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
In late 2007, DuPont identified Kemya House International (KHI) as a suspected source of counterfeit refrigerants and began an investigation; by 2008 the company had confirmed that cylinders of R-22 refrigerant gas were illegally branded with the DuPont Freon trademark in a warehouse operated by Levant Global on behalf of KHI. After official complaints were filed, law enforcement and police conducted a raid, seizing counterfeit refrigerant cylinders, machines, printing templates, and counterfeit packaging for DuPont refrigerants.
The raid exposed KHI’s practice of importing pre-filled unbranded refrigerant containers from China and relabeling the containers with the DuPont brand name. In late 2009, a warrant was issued for the arrest of the owner of KHI, Yousuf Al-khateeb.
But before his arrest, DuPont discovered that the Levant Global warehouse had resumed counterfeiting operations and a second complaint was filed with police on behalf of DuPont and another refrigerant producer. A second police raid yielded counterfeit cartons and containers with the DuPont name as well as printing screens, filling machinery, invoices, records and correspondence. The warehouse was sealed by police and Mr. Al-khateeb was apprehended. He was recently sentenced to two years in prison for the crime of counterfeiting.
We say: Every company is taking steps to protect their good name and their products but the bad guys are still out there. This incident primarily involved R-22, a refrigerant commonly used in stationary (not mobile) air conditioning units, but it could have been any gas in any container.
In spite of the industry’s best efforts, we know contaminated and mislabeled refrigeration tanks are out there; make sure you don’t get caught in a scam. Know your supplier, use your refrigerant identifier every time, and if you have any question about a product, make a phone call. You can’t afford not to.
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When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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