ARA Warns Consumers About Counterfeit Parts
Just in time for Earth Day, the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) released a statement warning consumers about the growing danger of counterfeit automotive parts in the marketplace and urging them to utilize quality, recycled original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts supplied by professional automotive recyclers.
“ARA has a long history of speaking out against counterfeit automotive parts and warning the automotive repair industry community and consumers about the dangers they pose and their increasing prevalence,” said ARA President Ricky Young. “The issue of counterfeit parts is a serious concern for the professional automotive recycling industry because, like the auto manufacturers, ARA members also sell genuine, OEM parts. Each day over 500,000 recycled OEM parts that were designed and built to meet the automakers’ original requirements for fit, finish, durability and safety are sold directly to consumers as well as to repairs shops. The presence of counterfeit parts in the marketplace is harmful to automotive recyclers and all other reputable part suppliers.”
According to ARA, lawmakers across the country are increasingly aware of the threats posed by counterfeit automotive parts and are taking steps to address the problem. The federal government’s National Intellectual Property Rights Center defines a counterfeit automotive part as one that bears the trademark of a legitimate and trusted brand, but was produced by another party and is usually not made to the specifications of the original equipment manufacturer. These counterfeits are produced illegally and sold at a profit sometimes to support other criminal activities.
Legislation has been passed in several states making it a crime to knowingly manufacture, import, install, reinstall or sell a counterfeit or nonfunctional airbag. “ARA has been able to reach out to other interested parties, such as the Association of Global Automakers, to address the specific issue of counterfeit airbags,” said ARA CEO Michael E. Wilson. “In March of last year, as a result of ARA’s interaction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on counterfeit airbags issues, ARA met with senior policy staff from the Obama Administration responsible for coordinating the federal government’s efforts on intellectual property enforcement issues,” added Wilson. “Also in attendance was a representative of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security and a representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).”
ARA stated that it believes collision repairers should use their professional training and judgment to make repair decisions based on the individual circumstances surrounding the damaged vehicles, and that all stakeholders involved in the collision repair marketplace should recognize the genuine value, safety and benefits that each repair part option (recycled, new, aftermarket, remanufactured) may provide in a given repair. ARA urges consumers and repairers to be informed about the source of parts being purchased or installed in a vehicle. Professional automotive recycling operations have robust product assurance and quality control procedures in place to identify parts that do not meet industry accepted standards. More information and a list of all ARA member facilities are available on the ARA website: www.a-r-a.org. If you suspect you have purchased a counterfeit part, contact your local HSI or FBI field office to report the crime.