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‘Grey’ imports present a major risk for UK buyers tempted by too-good-to-be-true bargains online

Bitzer UK, the leading compressor specialist, has warned UK installers and end users about the risks of attempting to source Bitzer products through unofficial 'grey' channels, due to the danger of counterfeit equipment and the lack of local technical support for genuine products.

Kevin Glass, managing director of Bitzer UK, said: “Everyone is familiar with internet-shopping today, however trying to source equipment via so-called 'grey' import channels, in the hope of getting a good deal, can be fraught with risks.

“Products sourced in this way may not be the genuine article. And where equipment is authentic, the all-important technical and after-sales back-up simply isn’t there. In the event of an issue, people can find themselves with a major problem.'

Bitzer UK and its official UK suppliers are unable to provide technical or warranty support for products supplied via unauthorised channels.

The volume of 'grey' imports has increased recently, partly due to the growth in online promotion. Bitzer UK is aware of a number of examples where equipment supplied to UK companies via ‘grey’ channels has been non-compliant or failed, resulting in costly problems for the customer and the collapse of major projects.

In one case, a UK business purchased a large piece of equipment via a grey channel, for a significant price, only to discover upon delivery that it did not comply with a number of UK regulations. This left the customer with a major problem, with no way of cost-effectively converting it to ensure compliance in order to use it.

Kevin Glass added: 'What looks like a good deal at first sight may prove to be a very expensive mistake and cause a lot of heartache. In the event of a problem, the buyer is left holding the baby. Our advice is always – source through the local authorised supplier, such as Bitzer UK or our official distributors. Customers can then be assured of comprehensive technical and warranty support in the event of a problem.”

As a safeguard against counterfeit products, Bitzer marks all compressors and genuine spare parts with a QR code. Customers can verify authenticity using the Bitzer SPOT app, available as a free download: https://www.bitzer.de/us/us/tools-archive/apps/

The company also recently announced the creation of a new authorised supplier network, known as the Bitzer Authorised Network of Distributors (BAND), to help strengthen protection for customers. BAND members receive regular training and updates on products and are qualified to advise customers on product selection and application, and provide after-sales and warranty support.

In the UK and Ireland, official Bitzer BAND members are Dean and Wood, Thermofrost Cryo and RSL.

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