ORIS DIY and Building Trade Forum launches ‘stolen boilers’ consumer campaign

ORIS DIY and Building Trade Forum launches ‘stolen boilers’ consumer campaign

ORIS Forums reports that the heads of security for some of the largest building trade and DIY organisations in the UK are launching a national consumer safety education campaign aimed at reducing the current high levels of gas boiler thefts.

Trade merchants and DIY stores are often targeted by burglars and ram raiders for high value gas boilers that are then sold on the lucrative black market. And at a time of soaring gas prices, it also feared that the problem could get worse as householders look for ways to reduce their costs.

ORIS Forums is a not-for-profit facilitation organisation that brings together heads of risk in the retail and hospitality sectors to “share information and best practice around the mitigation of threats impacting their businesses”, whether it is through their physical stores and supply chains or their online and digital offerings.

The DIY and Building Trades Forum is one of 11 Forums in the ORIS Forums stable, representing more than 140 household name brands with a combined turnover in excess of £300 billion and a workforce of more than one million people. The DIY and Building Forum has previously discussed the above issue with boiler manufacturers, GasSafe and the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC), and is now launching a campaign directly to the public.

Stolen boilers are often fitted by unqualified or rogue traders and the nature of their acquisition also means they are not registered with the GasSafe registration body that guarantees only safe and qualified engineers carry out the installation.

Peter Page, Head of Group Security as Travis Perkins and Chairman of the DIY and Building Trades Forum, commented: “The public need to understand the wider implications of buying a boiler from an unauthorised supplier and getting it fitted by a mate or unverified trader. We need to cut off the supply of illegal boilers at source by educating the public as to the dangers. Unregistered boilers, incorrectly fitted by an unauthorised supplier can at worst be fatal and financially ruinous at best.”

Apart from the obvious dangers as to provenance and the unregulated fitting, there are legal and financial considerations for householders, including the fact that unregistered boilers – if proved to be the cause or contributor to a fire or explosion – invalidate household insurance claims.

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), said: “CIPHE is very concerned about the black market in stolen boilers and counterfeit boiler parts. The current supply chain issues are exacerbating the role of the shadow economy, which means consumers and installers alike need to be extra vigilant. However, the problem goes further than rogue installers, as online marketplaces are not legally responsible for stopping dangerous products from being sold. How many will unwittingly purchase stolen appliances or fake parts online in good faith? The key is educating everyone to only buy from authorised suppliers, and to only use professional installers.”

Peter Page added: “If a stolen boiler or its fitting causes an explosion, leak or fire that destroys or damages your property, you won’t be able to claim on your insurance. Failure to register the boiler simply invalidates the policy – there will be no pay out and, what’s more, there could also be some awkward questions from the police and other emergency services.

“Of course, as a business we lose financially and we are at risk of reputational damage when boilers are stolen and then later fitted in a home. Likewise, the grey market in counterfeit or stolen heating components is a ticking timebomb for the industry.”

Related posts