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Cool crackdown ends counterfeit air con trading in UAE

Your air conditioner unit is now less likely to bite the dust after UAE authorities cracked a counterfeit refrigerants ring in Sharjah.

Sunrise Airconditioning Spare Parts, a refrigerant trader, has been fined and forced out of business after DuPont, the American chemical company, and the Dubai Department of Economic Development confiscated a host of products used in air-conditioner units.

“We are approaching the problem of counterfeit refrigerants very aggressively,” said Greg Rubin, the global business manager at DuPont Refrigerants. “Counterfeit refrigerants can cause significant business impact including equipment failure and more importantly can cause physical harm or loss of life.”

In total, 3,100 units of counterfeit DuPont Suva refrigerants and 6,000 units of fake products from another manufacturer were seized.

Sunrise was also required to make additional payments to cover costs related to storage of the seized goods, painting and repackaging the cylinders and exporting them as unbranded refrigerant out the country.

The sale of counterfeit products is widespread in the Emirates across a range of industries, including industrial and automotive parts, consumer goods and fashion.

Research commissioned by HP Middle East in 2010 showed nearly half of managers with purchasing responsibility for their offices had bought counterfeit products.

Meanwhile, Al-Futtaim Motors Toyota, the market leader, said last year that it estimated that a quarter of automotive spare parts in the UAE market were counterfeit.

In what the Department of Economic Development described as the “biggest crackdown to date” on counterfeiting, electronic appliances worth Dh4 million (US$1.08m) were confiscated in August from a warehouse in Dubai’s Al Aweer area.

The warehouse was monitored and raided by officials from the department’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection division. It had stored over 20,600 duplicates of electronics brands such as LG, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Hitachi.

“We will continue our global effort to combat counterfeit refrigerants by working diligently with law enforcement in all regions,” added Mr Rubin.

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