Coffs director fined $15,000
THE director of Solar and Bamboo Direct Coffs Harbour has been fined $15,000 after his prosecution for selling unsafe hot water systems.
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe has welcomed the prosecution action against the company's director Jan Pieter McHeyzer.
Mr McHeyzer was found guilty of selling unmarked and potentially dangerous hot water storage tanks and making false and misleading claims about the tanks.
Mr McHeyzer was the sole director and general manager of Solar & Bamboo Direct Coffs Harbour Pty Ltd, Solar & Bamboo Direct Tamworth Pty Ltd and Solar Installations (NSW) Pty Ltd, prior to the companies being placed into liquidation on December 23 last year.
He was also the sole director and company secretary of Bamboo Direct Pty Ltd, which was placed into external administration just before Christmas.
Mr McHeyzer was convicted in Coffs Harbour Local Court last month of nine breaches of the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 for selling unmarked, declared electricity articles and one breach of the Australian Consumer Law (NSW) for false and misleading representations about goods.
He was ordered to pay fines and costs of $15,081.
Mr Stowe said Mr McHeyzer advertised, sold, supplied and installed 'split system solar hot water systems', imported from China, which did not comply with the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 or relevant Australian Standards.
The systems were made up of a solar panel and a hot water storage tank.
Mr McHeyzer bought approximately 500 hot water storage tanks from a Chinese manufacturer and sold about 400 to NSW residents.
The hot water tanks have a capacity of 250L, 300L or 400L, are white and labelled with acoloured sticker with the words Solar Direct.
Mr Stowe said Fair Trading was tipped off about the tanks by a licensed plumber who had worked for Solar Installations (NSW) Pty Ltd.
"Early in his employment with the company, the plumber asked to see documentation to prove the tanks complied with Australian Standards.
"He was sent an email in which Mr McHeyzer said he would indemnify installing plumbers of any liability in relation to the tanks not complying with standards. However, the plumber was not satisfied with the response.
"He made enquiries with Fair Trading and then advised his employer that Fair Trading requirements were not satisfied. He further demanded proof that the systems would be approved. He was then provided with additional material by the company relating to an approval provided to another, unrelated company.
"Still unsatisfied, the plumber resigned from his employment with Mr McHeyzer's company.
"The plumber then contacted Fair Trading and provided information about the non-approved and potentially unsafe hot water tanks being sold by Solar and Bamboo Direct Coffs Harbour Pty Ltd.
"He also provided the names and addresses of consumers where he had installed the solar hot water systems on behalf of his employer. Fair Trading then inspected those systems and undertook a detailed investigation."
The Commissioner said the tanks did not contain a watermark that must be displayed on all tanks installed in NSW as evidence that the tank has been approved for use in plumbing works.
"The tanks also had no approval mark to show they had electrical safety approval," he said.