Driving a ticking time bomb
- Fake car parts can be very dangerous for consumers, even killing drivers and passengers who install substandard fakes in their cars
- The automotive industry around the world is aware of the illegal trade and making efforts to combat it
- There are ways to help determine if you've purchased a fake and resources to report the products
Last week, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) established the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) in response to increasing concerns over the ‘tide’ of counterfeit parts in India. The organization is seeking to heighten consumer awareness of fake car parts.
The illegal industry of fake car parts is not new; automotive parts companies have long known the issue and are seeking unique and innovative tactics to combat the trade. In fact, Sproxil has already partnered with several companies to craft anti-counterfeiting solutions that meet their needs.
More important than ever, consumers must be educated on the dangers of counterfeiting. Counterfeited car parts don’t just hurt legitimate companies by taking consumers away from them: they can seriously harm consumers. Fake car parts do not follow any standards of quality or inspection, so they are generally made of poorer quality or wrong materials, missing crucial components, or made completely non-functional. These factors can substantially increase the risk of harm or death for drivers and passengers.
There are a lot of instances where fake auto parts have been acknowledged as a serious concern, but manufacturers fear that the low cost of the fakes and limited accessibility drives consumers and mechanics to purchase bad knock-offs:
- In India, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India reported that up to 20% of car accidents in India are due to fake auto parts.
- In 2012, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned motorists that tens of thousands of cars may be equipped with counterfeit air bags, which do not inflate or fail to inflate properly.
- The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also warned consumers about fake auto parts, and has joined with international partners to warn and fight back against fake domestic auto parts.
- The South African motor industry also recognizes the threat of fake car parts across Africa, especially for consumers who are put at risk by using inferior parts.
- In the UAE, the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Economic Development are working to curb the dangerous issue as well.
The list goes on.
Legitimate car parts manufacturers are becoming more proactive about educating the public on the dangers of fake auto parts and are also helping consumers proactively look for and check for fake parts.
So, what are some ways mechanics and consumers can determine if they’ve bought fake?
1. Compare the product to the real counterpart. Visit the manufacturer’s website or call the manufacturer so that they can help identify if the part is correct. 2. If the part looks old or in poor condition, it may not necessarily be fake, but may be less functional or efficient as a new version. Check with your mechanic. 3. The part does not have a warranty. 4. Research your mechanic if possible. Is the mechanic in good standing? Have there been several complaints? For those in the U.S. they can check resources like Angie's List or Better Business Bureau (BBB) to read reviews 4. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
If you found a fake, alert the manufacturer about the incident: vigilant consumers can help decrease counterfeiting in the market by buying genuine products and making counterfeit parts unprofitable.