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EFCTC applauds eBay’s efforts to block illegal HFC trade

Online adverts for illegal refrigerant was once a common site on online marketplaces

BELGIUM: Fluorocarbon manufacturer’s group the EFCTC has applauded online marketplace eBay for its positive moves to block the illegal sale of HFC refrigerants through its website.

The online outlets, of which eBay is just one, started coming under pressure from industry groups in 2018 when they were found to be providing a virtually unfettered marketplace for the trade in illegal refrigerant in disposable cylinders. 

According to the EFCTC, eBay has now further improved and enhanced its block filters, making it even more difficult for these goods to make it onto their website. These updated measures targeting illegal HFCs remain deployed across all European eBay platforms, the EFCTC says.

Delphine Dauba-Pantanacce, eBay’s director and global regulatory lead said, “EBay is committed to providing a secure and fair marketplace for our community of buyers and sellers around the world. For many years we have worked with regulatory authorities and experts in the refrigerants space, adjusting our measures in line with the constant evolution of EU rules. We have now taken further steps to prevent the illegal sale of HFCs on our marketplace and continue to welcome collaboration with Governments and bodies such as EFCTC in this area.”

The move was welcomed by the EFCTC. David Smith, business director at Koura Global said: “The actions that eBay has taken from updating its measures to detect illegally traded HFCs and investing in staff training for product detection sets an example for what online companies should do to ensure illegal trade in HFCs will not happen on their platform.”


Being the largest online marketplace, eBay was an obvious target for the black-marketeers and their illicit trade, but it was by no means the only such outlet. Last year, New-York-based corporate investigators Kroll, working on behalf of the EFCTC, revealed that a total of 444 takedown requests had been made to 15 market platforms, including eBay, OLX, and MarktPlaats. Most related to refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders.

The Cooling Post first started to expose the extent of the illegal eBay trade in 2018. At the time, eBay assured the Cooling Post that blocks were in place to prevent the listing of illegal items, and that it was constantly monitoring its marketplace to ensure enforcement. While initial action was taken, the problem persisted in the UK and proliferated elsewhere.

In the same year, a simple search of the German online classified advertising site eBay Kleinanzeigen, an off-shoot of the main auction site, revealed nearly 200 adverts for R134a, alone, in illegal disposable cylinders. These were eventually removed after the Cooling Post brought it to their attention.

Also in 2018, the Cooling Post reported the OLX website in Poland – a country hit hard by the illegals – which was carrying at least 150 adverts for refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders.

Since then the situation has markedly improved. However, as Koura’s David Smith pointed out, the problem of illegally sold HFCs goes beyond eBay’s marketplace.

Related stories:

Illegal refrigerant returns to UK eBay26 March 2019
UK: Despite assurances from both the Environment Agency and online auction site eBay of measures to prevent illegal refrigerant being sold on the internet, black market gas continues to appear. Read more…

German eBay awash with illegal R134a30 July 2018
GERMANY: With European authorities still reluctant to recognise the extent of illegal refrigerant sales, the Cooling Post has uncovered large amounts of illegal R134a being sold in Germany. Read more…

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