The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Online Heat Pump Seller Prosecuted for Breaching F-Gas Regulations

Online Heat Pump Seller Prosecuted for Breaching F-Gas Regulations
05 January 2024

An online retailer has been fined for selling HVAC equipment without ensuring that it would be installed by a properly qualified engineer.

Appliances Direct (AD) was found to be in breach of F-Gas Regulation Article 11 paragraph 5 which seeks to ensure equipment charged with refrigerant gas is safely installed to protect the public and the environment.


"This is a landmark prosecution that sets a precedent for anyone trying to circumvent these important public safety regulations using online sales platforms”

–Graeme Fox

Technical Director, BESA


£37,500 Fine for Appliances Direct Parent Company


AD’s parent company Buy It Direct (BID) has been fined £37,500 following legal action taken by the Environment Agency, acting on information provided by REFCOM, the air conditioning and refrigeration industry’s largest safety register.

This revealed that AD was selling split air conditioning heat pump systems without meeting its statutory obligation to ensure the appliances would be installed by a qualified engineer - someone holding a valid F-Gas handling certificate or by an F-Gas registered contractor.

BID CEO Nick Glynne had argued in the company’s defence that purchasers “could not proceed to actual purchase without agreeing contractual terms which included installation by a relevantly qualified engineer”.

However, this was dismissed because there was “no evidence that the installation will be properly carried out”. In fact, the judgement found that 94 per cent of AD’s sales to end-users were lacking evidence indicating compliance with the regulations.

“This is a landmark prosecution that sets a precedent for anyone trying to circumvent these important public safety regulations using online sales platforms,” said Graeme Fox, Technical Director of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) which operates the REFCOM register.

“REFCOM and its members have been raising the alarm about online sellers for several years as they represent a vulnerability in the system that can lead to equipment falling into the wrong hands. Most distributors and wholesalers are fully aware of their responsibilities and ensure they receive confirmation of safe installation before selling refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, but we remain vigilant for any that might seek to act irresponsibly for profit.”

“We will continue to work hard on behalf of the industry and its customers to ensure only properly trained, qualified and registered individuals and companies carry out this important work.”

Picture: a photograph of a computer keyboard showing a large key with a green shopping trolley on it. Image Credit: Pixabay

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 05 January 2024


Related Articles

Million Pound Fine for Breaching F-Gas Regulations Handed to London Firm

London-based firm IMO Gas Supplies Ltd has been found guilty of seven separate offences all linked to breaches of regulation 31A of the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases...

 Read Full Article
Will 2024 be the Year of Retrofit?

The Building Engineering Services Association has urged the UK government to help accelerate growth in the number of whole building retrofit projects carried...

 Read Full Article
Contractor Urges Armed Forces Veterans to Join Heating Sector

An M&E services provider is calling for ex-Armed Forces personnel to consider a career in the commercial heating sector. Lord Combustion Services wants to...

 Read Full Article
BESA Warns of Critical Fire Safety Issue in Ventilation Systems

The Building Engineering Services Association has issued an urgent warning about a potential fire safety weakness in a large number of building ventilation...

 Read Full Article
No Budget For Adequate Indoor Air Quality Precautions in Schools

When schools re-open fully in September, only very basic indoor air quality precautions will be taken due to tight budget constraints, according to BESA.  This is...

 Read Full Article
Sort The Confusion - Falling Recycling Rates Blamed On Lack Of Understanding

Waste giant Biffa has called for UK recycling confusion to be sorted, saying that inconsistency and confusion in labelling, sorting and collections are preventing UK...

 Read Full Article
Poor Maintenance & Reporting Lead To £126 Million Penalty

Southern Water has agreed to pay £126 million in penalties and payments to customers after dreadful maintenance led to sewage treatment failures. A criminal...

 Read Full Article
Paying the Penalty for Released Gas

The Environment Agency has carried out a successful prosecution under the F-Gas Regulations that has been generally welcomed by the building engineering services...

 Read Full Article
Government Allocates £557m to Decarbonise Public Buildings

The government has announced its next phase of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which aims to reduce emissions from public sector buildings by 75 per cent...

 Read Full Article
Adam Taylor Named as New BESA Indoor Air Quality Chair

The new chair of the Indoor Air Quality group of the Building Engineering Services Association has been elected. Adam Taylor, CEO of ARM Environments will...

 Read Full Article