A rise in the number of substandard parts being sold into the UK catering equipment market has led to calls for engineers to exercise caution when buying cheaper spares.
While universal components have an important part to play in the industry, particularly when they offer a performance similar, or even superior, to an OEM part, an apparent increase in the sale of copycat parts has sparked concerns.
John Whitehouse, managing director of First Choice Catering Spares, said that some buyers will always try to see if there is a cheaper way of doing the repair and this can pose a major challenge for the industry.
“With more choice comes healthy competition, but again this pushes prices lower, benefiting the customers once again,” he said. “Unfortunately we have been seeing an increase in the number of substandard parts being sold in the market place. We do ask that everyone is very careful when being offered such copycat parts, they can often shorten the life of equipment, be very dangerous and even invalidate warranties.”
It is a point that Bryn Vivian, director of GEV Catering Spares, also firmly endorses.
“GEV does not agree with selling parts of any description to the user of catering equipment due to the possible risks involved and in order to support its traditional customer, the catering service company,” he says.
“As one of the largest stockholders of original equipment manufacturer and original component parts, we see the need for more transparency so that the market receives value wherever possible. If a supplier of parts claims to offer a genuine part — i.e. one sourced from an OEM — that part should be delivered to the customer in its original packaging.”