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No Exchange Regulations

Posted: October 9, 2012

The State Fire Marshal Fire Extinguisher Advisory Committee has submitted proposed wording for regulations that would prohibit the practice of “exchanges”. The issues stems from the unscrupulous practice by some companies that “swap” or exchange a “new” customer owned fire extinguisher with a much older and often times poorer quality extinguisher all without the customer’s consent in order to sell the “swapped” extinguisher as new down the road. While everyone on the Committee recognized the legitimate practice of exchanges performed by many ethical companies with the extinguisher owner’s full consent, many on the committee believed that the unethical practice happened too frequently not to address the issue.

The proposed wording is part of the “enforcement regulation package“ that is being prepared for public comment. This total package can be seen by clicking on the package name above. Note THIS IS STILL PROPOSED WORDING and this was the way it read at the time of this posting, it may change before being submitted for public comment. We will update this post if the wording is altered.

This proposed language includes a lot more than the no exchange issue. It has several new definitions and details the fine in lieu of suspension regulations so be sure to read the whole document to see all of the changes.

Included in the proposed language is:

  • definitions for “exchange”,  and “service vehicle”
  • new requirements for temporary (loaner) extinguishers left onsite while a customer’s extinguisher is removed for service

Wording already existed with requirements for the loaner extinguisher left onsite when a customer’s extinguisher was removed for hydrostatic testing that included the requirement for returning the customer owned extinguisher within 60 days. This wording has been expanded and would also be included in the 575 General Servicing section to apply to extinguishers being removed for other reasons.

There was a lot of concern raised at the CALSAFE Annual Meeting when this language was introduced. One person expressed a concern over the increased expense to the customer who will now have to pay sales tax on used extinguishers instead of paying only for the work performed on the exchange unit. Many expressed their ongoing frustration of increased regulation that prohibits a legitimate customer sanctioned business practice because of the activity of a minority of fraudulent companies.

Keep in mind that this proposed language will be open for Public Comment prior to its being adopted into the regulation. CALSAFE  suggests you read the language carefully and if you are opposed to it or parts  of it, be prepared to issue questions and challenges during the Public Comment  period. While your opinions and objections are important and will have to be  considered, comments and concerns from end users (customers and business  owners) can have a greater impact because they are the group that this regulation is intended to protect. If you have customers you believe will have  a concern or comment, keep them informed about the issue and the opportunity  they will have to voice their opinion during the public comment period.

Enforcement Regulation Package