It’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ serious accidents are caused by the failure of a faulty counterfeit replacement part – a potential problem AADA believes can be avoided.
Australia is at the stage where nobody really knows how many fake and faulty parts are circulating, but it’s clear the importation of counterfeit parts is getting out of hand.
Substitution, pirating, copying, counterfeit – call it what you want – the practice of installing counterfeit replacement parts is deceitful. Some repairers are getting away with passing off counterfeit parts as genuine, while other repairers are victims of innocence, believing damaged parts they replace when repairing vehicles are genuine because they are sold to them in car manufacturers’ branded boxes.
We respect the right of consumers to decide where they want their vehicles to be serviced and their right to choose their own repairers. They have the right to request non-genuine budget replacement parts – but they must understand they are doing so at their own risk.
In 2014, peak bodies in the automotive industry entered into a voluntary Industry Agreement on Access to Service and Repair Information.
It’s disappointing that the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), a signatory to this Agreement, has already broken ranks, lobbying the Government with misinformation, implying Dealers insist that new car owners must have their vehicles serviced at authorised dealers only, and publicly stating that their members cannot access information to service vehicles. If that were the case, how are they still in business?
Naturally they would not mention Dealers have invested millions of dollars in specialised tools and computerised systems that the AAAA want to access at low or no cost. The information and tools are available, but we suspect there is a hidden agenda. Independent tests have shown that non-genuine parts are not compatible with the safety systems of a modern motor vehicle.
We have stuck by the rules, as has the FCAI, but the misinformation campaign continues. The Industry Agreement is not broken and contains dispute resolution mechanisms which should be tested prior to any regulatory intervention. It would be a crying shame if this step were not taken.
The AADA supports the Industry Agreement signed by industry peak bodies in 2014, but our concern is that while millions of dollars of fake parts are being fitted to vehicles, there is a greater risk of serious road accidents occurring.
In the interests of consumer safety we don’t want to see the industry destroyed in the same way that pirates have done by continuing to import designer clothing labels, perfumes, watches, handbags and other fashion accessories such as sunglasses.