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One of the downsides to a recession is that people are faced with lots of companies telling them that they can save money, and this is true of the spare parts industry according to the Telegraph.co.uk.
Whilst there is plenty of legitimate supplier selling good quality parts at a reasonable discount, there are also companies who are flogging parts that are either made so cheaply they cannot possibly do the job, or even worse, disguised to look like parts they are not.
The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has reported that it is impossible to measure the size of the problem mainly because these cheap parts are in the main, fitted without drivers even realising. However, it has been claimed that the counterfeit car parts industry could potentially be worth £6 billion per year worldwide.
This industry can include anything from genuine looking Vauxhall badged wheel trims that have no affiliation with General Motors whatsoever, to brake linings that can burst into flames when hot because they are made from compressed grass.
In 2011, there was an increase of Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat brake pads into Northern Ireland which turned out to be fake parts held together by glue. The TSI have also reported that police in Dubai recently arrested a mob who were planning to influx the market with 45,000 oil and fuel filters counterfeited to look like genuine General Motors, Honda, Mazda and Toyota products.
Tim Milsom, Trading Standards lead officer for the motor trade, said: “People have a right to know what they’re getting for their money when they go to a garage. And we would encourage consumers to ask garages what parts they are fitting.
“Technically, an independent garage should give customers a choice between an original equipment part, something that’s middle range and a cheaper part. There might be a huge price difference between the most expensive and the cheapest but you’ve got to bear in mind that if certain parts fail they can cost you your engine.”
Garages will normally purchase their parts from reputable motoring sources because they can be prosecuted under criminal law, the Supply of Goods and Services Act, and the Consumer Protection Act for supplying dodgy parts. However, some garages will purchase parts over the internet which causes problems as those selling it may or may not be aware that the parts they are supplying are counterfeit and not fit for use. The biggest danger is customers who might purchase their own parts via the internet.
Being savvy will save you both time and money and more importantly keep you and your vehicle out of harm’s way. It is therefore important to pay attention to the small print on car parts – the counterfeit VW brake pads did not contain a batch code or date of manufacture – both of which must be clearly indicated on a genuine part. You can also check out the translation for the name of the part if necessary, the dodgy brake pads were labelled ‘Wasserpumpe’ which is in fact German for ‘water pump’, and is a common trait used to label counterfeit parts.