Beware of COC Fraud!
As an electrician is required to be certified to carry out an electrical Installation on a property, so does a Refrigeration Gas Practitioner. When having an air conditioning and/or refrigeration system installed, you are required by law to only contract a registered Refrigeration Gas Practitioner. These are trained and skilled individuals who have been certified to undertake air conditioning and/or refrigeration installations within their specific scope of work. Over and above the safety aspect of contracting a registered Gas Practitioner, every air conditioning and/or refrigeration system, requires a Certificate of Conformity (COC) to be issued upon completion of the installation, maintenance or repair. Only a registered Gas Practitioner may issue Certificate of Conformity (COC).
The increase in the demand for the installation of air conditioning and/or refrigeration systems has unfortunately also sparked an increase in unregistered and illegal Refrigeration Gas Practitioners. This has, in turn, also resulted in fraudulent COC’s being issued.
This type of fraud is one of the least spoken about crimes, it is not as forceful and eventful as robberies or heists. Very often clients do not report fraudulent offenses for the reason that they often go undetected for a long time, whilst businesses keep such matters internal for fear of reputational damage. Although these fraudulent activities are not as popular with the authorities, such crimes may result in money lost.
Each registered Refrigeration Gas Practitioners has a book of Gas COC forms to be filled out upon completion of each installation they undertake. Practitioners need to protect their COCs and their registration information at all times. Practitioners when arriving at the job site should make themselves known to the customer and present their registration card and advise that a COC will be issued. When a completed certificate is signed by another Gas Practitioner rather than the installer themselves, this COC may be considered fraudulent unless the certificate is signed by the installer’s supervisor who has witnessed the work done. When a Refrigeration Gas Practitioner presents a COC that is not from a book registered to them, he commits a fraudulent safety declaration.
SAQCC Gas has been mandated by the Department of Labour to register all Gas Practitioners in South Africa, SARACCA issues all registered Practitioners working in the air conditioning and refrigeration field with a Gas COC book. Only documents from this book may be issued to certify that a installation has been completed as per the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) and relevant standards. When this document has been falsely created by an unregistered person, the COC is considered fraudulent and invalid which shall lead to legal prosecution.
To confirm whether or not a Practitioner is indeed registered, one can check the information provided on the SAQCC Gas website: www.saqccgas.co.za or Dial*120*926# and insert the registration number appearing on the Gas Practitioner’s card.
Consumers should insist on a COC from the Gas Practitioner upon completion of the air conditioning and/or Refrigeration installation. This is the registered Refrigeration Gas Practitioner’s confirmation that the installation is compliant with all relevant regulations and national safety standards. Incidents resulting from poor installations can vary from property damage, personnel injury or even loss of life.