The Bathroom Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) is raising concerns over the habitual flouting of EU regulations by unscrupulous manufacturers and importers, recently highlighted in a report by the European Commission.
Harmonised European Standards dictate that the CE Mark which denotes ‘fitness for purpose’ must be fixed to the product, instruction literature, or packaging.
By implication, the safety of unmarked bathroom products that are making their way on to the market are called into question.
Members of the BMA embraced the regulations and complied with the new laws when they became legally binding in 2013. However some manufacturers and importers are known to contravene the regulations and consumers are the worse for it, says the association.
“This is outrageous and nothing short of a scandal,” said Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the BMA.
“Consumers throughout the UK are being duped into purchasing goods which they genuinely believe to be up to standard and safe to use. But, in fact, because they don’t know where they were made and who made them, they could be spending hard-earned cash on substandard and illegal product. The new report confirms what we have been saying for years and action needs to be taken for the public good.”
The report, ‘Enforcement and Compliance’ was published at the end of January on the DG GROW website and shows the results of a survey of companies, SMEs, micro-enterprises and industry associations throughout Europe.
Most respondents agreed that there was a high level of non-compliance in industry and 80% of businesses confirmed that non-compliance has a negative impact on their sales and/or market share.
Furthermore, all respondents agreed that the market surveillance authorities (the likes of Trading Standards) lack both financial and human resources, and also the technical means, to clamp down on the fraudsters.
“The end consumer has the right to know that their bathroom products do comply with the regulations and installers need to know of this regulation to reinforce their commitment to professional practice,” added Ms Orgill.
“We will continue to be very vocal about the problem and highlight the issues with the relevant authorities.”