A Sri Lankan government agency raided 15 retail shops in mid-February and confiscated unauthorized lubricants as part of an effort to address the increasing number of consumer complaints about sales of low-quality lubricants in the market.
The Consumer Affairs Authority decided to investigate the importation, production, distribution and sale of lubricants and related products in Sri Lanka. The agency raided 15 retail shops on Feb. 17 and seized unauthorized lubricants worth 2.5 million Lankan rupees (almost U.S. $14,000).
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The authority – with the assistance of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka – will continue carrying out such raids, Jayant Hearth, the commissions director of corporate communications, told Lube Report.
Sri Lanka requires companies to obtain licenses from the national government to import, produce or sell lubricants. Thirteen companies to have such licenses, and they sell lubes under 22 brand names. Government officials had observed various other brands available on the market.
Government officials identified the unauthorized products as sub-standard, Herath said, adding that use of them would cause defects in vehicle engines. While the substandard and unauthorized lubricant products have created difficulties for the public, he said, the government of Sri Lanka also had lost large amounts of taxes due to increases in the volume of low-quality lubricants.
Herath explained that the majority of adulterated lubricants are sold in loose quantities rather than in sealed containers. We did not find substandard or adulterated products that had been labeled as legitimate product, Herath said. But we found unauthorized products which are imported and distributed by unauthorized, unlicensed parties. He noted one example involved unauthorized parties distributing Toyota-branded lubricant products when only Toyota Lanka has a license to import and distribute the products in Sri Lanka.
Herath said agency officials did not see any unauthorized product labeled as meeting American Petroleum Institute engine oil standards. Instead, the products involved in the raid typically had labels claiming they were all purpose engine oil or engine oils for all kinds of vehicles.
Herath said in one case the CAA confiscated greases in packages that phonetically imitated the brand name of a licensed supplier, although the spelling of the brand on the package didnt match the imitated brand.
Authorities plan to prosecute those providing the seized lubes.
He added that the commission and authority will soon enter into a memorandum of understanding to carry out intense inspections to clean up Sri Lanaks lubricant market. The agencies will conduct random tests of suspicious samples at short intervals.