The issue of inferior products being passed off as quality brands is worryingly common in consumer market sectors. However, on the basis of recent evidence, it is now becoming a problem for buyers of air conditioning systems too.
Most major air conditioning brands have experienced the issue and recently Toshiba, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of quality air conditioning, warned of its increasing prevalence. Toshiba first identified the issue around three years ago following an unusually large number of calls from users whose equipment had failed or was not performing as expected.
In the consumer marketplace, the problem tends to be fairly straightforward. Inferior copies of premium goods are simply mislabelled with the all-important logo and sold in volume at bargain prices. However, in the field of complex technical equipment such as air conditioning, spotting a spurious or counterfeit unit is often tricky, even for the expert. To complicate matters further, one man’s fake is sometimes another man’s low cost alternative. For example, an air conditioner may contain a major component legitimately supplied by a quality manufacturer and, on the strength of it, have the manufacturer’s branding prominently displayed on the front – suggesting that the whole unit was manufactured by a trusted brand with all the warranty, reliability and quality assurance support that comes with it. The clear intention is to mislead the unwary buyer.
For installation contractors, maintenance providers and end users the frustration, cost and lost time in dealing with counterfeit equipment failure and its knock-on effects are an additional burden well worth avoiding.
Andrews Air Conditioning Services, along with the majority of reputable air conditioning installation contractors in the UK, is a member of the Building & Engineering Services Association (formerly known as the Heating & Ventilating Contractors Association). We are continually working to raise awareness of the problem and, in conjunction with the major manufacturers, have issued guidance advising customers to be wary of inferior air conditioning systems masquerading as quality brands.
As in many walks of life, when making a major purchase such air conditioning, it pays to take professional advice from an expert and, if a deal seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.