What Charity Shops have to do when selling second hand electrical equipment
Make sure appliances are safe
If you are selling electrical goods in charity shops you need to make sure the appliance works, and is safe to use, before you sell it.
It seems so obvious to us, and you probably, but you’ll be surprised how many charity shops sell junk that doesn’t work, and has parts hanging off or missing altogether. It’s not uncommon for us to fail multiple items a shop wants to sell – but better for us to fail them now, than they get prosecuted for killing the buyer!
Electrical goods donated to charity shops must be checked for safety before they can be sold to customers of the shop; they can’t just be sold in the conditions they are received in. Appliances need to be checked by a competent person, ideally an independent PAT Testing company, or an in-house person trained to do such testing.
If you do employ someone inhouse make sure they’re not only trained but competent in electrical safety. That is really important. Don’t just do it because it is the cheapest option – don’t take that risk.
If you don’t have anyone in-house to carry out the tests there is a good opportunity for someone to learn a new skill, some charity shops will put a volunteer through a PAT testing course, so they can then get paid to do the testing. If you need PAT Testing training then we can recommend the PAT Testing Expert, who run courses throughout the UK – check out their website for more information.
What is expected of the seller
Sellers of second hand electrical appliances are responsible for ensuring the appliance still meets the legal safety requirements. British standard equipment, for example will display the CE mark.
Appliances should be fitted with the correct type of UK plug, with sleeved live and neutral pins, and the correct fuse.
Before you can sell electrical appliances you need to have taken reasonable action to make sure they are safe; if you don’t you may be liable to prosecution.
It is for these reasons that it is recommended that a competent person carry out the approved portable appliance tests on electrical appliances before you sell them.
If you need our help contact us to discuss your situation and we’ll show you where and how we can help.
Using our Charity Shops PAT Testing Service
Simply booking a PAT testing company to do your PAT testing is not the best course of action – asking us or anyone else to turn up and test a mountain of appliances will end up costing you a fortune at the normal per item rate.
What we tend to do with other Charity Shop clients is to agree an hourly rate; we’ll put an engineer on site to inspect your appliances, make any repairs, supply replacement plugs and fuses, and wiring diagram cards. How long they take to do all this is how much you pay. You’ll find it a lot more affordable to pay for an engineer for 3 hours than paying per item.
If this sounds like a good solution for you speak to us today – we’ll come to see you first, discuss your needs, see what needs doing then make the arrangements.
You need wiring diagram cards
Wiring diagram cards must be displayed on the plug; they’re actually really hard to get hold of, but we do sell them, so if you need them you can buy them from us, via eBay. – check out this wiring diagram post for more information.
Richard Ayre is an experienced PAT testing engineer with many years experience and the Managing Director of DRA PAT Testing Limited based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Richard is also the Operations Director for the UK's Portable Appliance Testing Trade Association.