Illegal filling threat to public safety

The safety of residential consumers is under threat from the continued illegal filling of LPGas cylinders, warns leading gases company Afrox.

"Afrox takes the utmost care to test and maintain our stockpile of LPGas cylinders to ensure the safety of our customers by meeting all the legal requirements of a legitimate and responsible company," said Afrox.

"However, there are criminals operating in your local area who illegally fill Afrox Handigas cylinders and knowingly pass them off as a legitimate Afrox product, conning the consumer, breaching the Consumer Protection Act, just to make a fast buck."

In an effort to counter the illegal filling and criminal trade in cylinders, Afrox employs private investigators that work closely with the police to prosecute criminals who defraud the industry and consumers alike.

Sound co-operation between government agencies and the LPG industry, as well as educating consumers on the importance of reporting those flouting regulations, is key to effectively policing and stamping out illegal activities.

“As a responsible company we feel it is in the public interest to alert consumers to the fact their safety is at risk by purchasing Afrox Handigas from anywhere other than an Afrox Gas & Gear or approved distributor.”

The criminal activity comes when rogue traders, which can be small back-room operations or even registered companies, fill cylinders belonging to major-brand LPG businesses without agreement or safety checks of any kind.

These illegal fillers do not incur any of the overhead costs of buying cylinders, certified electronic scales or certified filling equipment. On top of this, it has been known for criminals to under-fill cylinders thereby short changing the consumer to boost profits even more.

The criminal traders can also cut prices because they do not have the overheads of purchasing and maintaining cylinders.

The most worrying and dangerous aspect of illegal filling is, in some known cases, the use of bathroom scales to fill cylinders to the point of overfilling. This can lead to leakage and explosions, which threaten the lives and property of ordinary South Africans.

At the same time the criminals are leveraging off well-known and trusted brands, like Afrox Handigas, to make their trading look legitimate, damaging the integrity of the brand when things go wrong at consumer level.

This is why Afrox has introduced the Red Seal, each with a unique tracking serial number as a guarantee, on all its cylinder valves, to demonstrate that these cylinders have been safety checked and accurately filled by Afrox. No Red seal on an Afrox Handigas cylinder and it has been filled illegally.

“The proliferation of these activities by criminals poses a real challenge as policing this illegal market is already difficult and this threatens legitimate business and, increasingly, puts people’s lives and property at risk,” said Afrox.