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Lighting industry calls for more accountability for online sellers

Published: 17 November 2017 - Fiona Garcia
 

Speaking at this year’s Lux Live lighting show, Recolight’s Nigel Harvey urged the industry to respond to the Government’s consultation on proposed changes to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations, with an onus on tackling non-compliant online operators.

Mr Harvey’s presentation discussed The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) open consultation with the lighting industry on amendments to the 2013 WEEE regulation, to which he urged companies to respond.

He believes a number of ‘tweaks’ are needed in order to address issues in the sector, particularly what he described as ‘freeriders’ selling online without regulation.

“In the 2013 regulations there’s an opportunity for companies who are not based in the UK to appoint what’s called an authorised representative to be their representative in the UK for compliance for the purposes of WEEE,” he explained. “And  the idea behind this is that it would encourage the sellers who were based in China , India, or wherever, to comply with regulations. .. They [DEFRA] have asked ‘has that solved the problem of non-compliance through online retailers and fulfilment houses?’. And honesty I don’t think it has at all.”

He said the issue is “really important to the lighting industry, adding that DEFRA’s enquiry was a “fairly innocuous question but actually a fairly loaded question”.

At this point he invited Dencon Accessories director Robert Milliken to detail his experience of such companies and resellers selling lighting products completely unchecked into the UK market, without any consequences. He explained that they are undercutting other distributors and retailers because they are not testing products, paying VAT or complying with the WEEE directive, which costs around 6p per light.

Addressing delegates again, Mr Harvey said: “It’s incredibly difficult for companies who are paying, doing the right thing in terms of compliance, operating legitimately to have such large-scale totally non-compliant competition. I think that particular tweak in the regulations hasn’t helped at all, so I think our response as the lighting industry should be ‘this is a real problem, please sort it’.

He stressed the importance of the industry responding to DEFRA’s consultation, which you can do at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/weee-regulations-amendments/

Read the story in full in our Lighting & Electrical feature in the November 24 issue of DIY Week. 

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