Most web searches lead to counterfeit parts | Carsales

Compressed grass clippings found in dodgy brake pads

Up to 60 percent of online search results for automotive parts lead retail consumers to sites offering counterfeit parts for sale.

The FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries) has today issued a press release citing intellectual property protection firm Incopro, which has found that there’s a lot of shonky business taking place in online parts sales.

Not every result in a search is a supplier of counterfeit parts, but the FCAI and Incopro claim that 60 percent of searches will contain at least one result that links back to an unscrupulous part supplier.

In a quarter of all web searches for automotive parts, the first three results displayed were “potentially harmful sites”, Incopro has told the FCAI. At least one in every three websites found in web searches were selling counterfeit products or products that infringed intellectual property.

“The advice of the industry is that customers should only trust vehicle parts acquired through the authorized dealer network,” said Tony Weber, Chief Executive of the FCAI.

“Through our Genuine is Best initiative we have seen counterfeit brake pads, wheels, steering parts, oil filters, air filters, spark plugs and bonnets. They fail, they shatter, they catch fire or they snap in half,” Weber was quoted as saying in the press release.

“They put road users in harm’s way. We aren’t talking about clothing or handbags here. Counterfeit automotive parts directly endanger lives.

“People are trusting of search engine results. They click what is returned on the first page. That trust comes with an obligation for search engine operators. If any business is made aware the products on display may be dangerous, they should remove them. Failing to do this could cost lives.”

The FCAI has vigorously defended against the incursion of counterfeit parts in the retail automotive parts market, even asking online trading portals to remove listings and retailers of counterfeit parts.

Last month, the FCAI learned of spark plugs that risked catastrophic damage to engine internals. The chamber keeps track of counterfeit parts like this in a database that includes oil filters that don’t filter oil, wheels that shatter in low-speed pothole impacts (pictured), asbestos used in friction material for brake pads and linings. But the case that topped the lot for the FCAI was the set of brake pads made from compressed grass clippings.

The Chamber invites consumers, motorists and mechanics to report counterfeit parts via the website. Each report is forwarded to the car company concerned, as well as the Department of Home Affairs. Incopro also keeps tabs on counterfeit parts through its own website, and the ACCC is in the loop too.

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Read the article in Carsales here

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