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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: general considerations: electrical goods


All electrical goods sold at auction must comply with the Low Voltage Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1989, which specify the requirements for electrical equipment for domestic use (that is toasters, kettles and the like, but not office equipment such as fax machines and computers).

The safety regulations apply to new or second hand goods. You should make sure that all mechanical or electrical appliances that you seize are in working order and that your auctioneer is able to have any electrical equipment checked by a qualified electrical engineer before sale.

Televisions, DVDs, Hi-fis, VCRs and so on

If the equipment has a remote control you must ensure you list it separately on the inventory, otherwise you have not seized it and cannot subsequently remove it. Always list the manufacturer’s name, model, colour and serial number.

Fridges and freezers

If you need to remove fridges and freezers you should ask the defaulter to make alternative arrangements for any perishable goods contained in them. EU Regulations require commercial open freezers, (that is, those without a lid) and chilled display cabinets, to maintain low temperature levels. Because these can only be tested effectively when filled, you may find it difficult to sell such items.

Note: Remember that you should always leave one fridge to satisfy basic domestic needs (DMBM655130 and DMBM655140).