The growth of the counterfeits parts industry is causing problems for motorists, suppliers, manufacturers, and governments from around the world. Just how bad is the problem? For starters, the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit car parts is a multi billion dollar per year business. Car owners from the Kia to the Camaro and from the Geo to the Golf, and every make and model in between are all susceptible to getting hooked with fake parts. This doesn’t have to happen and I am going to share with you how you can avoid being deceived by purveyors of bogus car parts.
Read the labels. Fake parts purveyors are getting very crafty in copying logos and other important information off of product boxes. Check for typographical errors or odd sounding language on the boxes. Most counterfeiters are smart when it comes to crime, but pretty dumb when it comes to understanding the proper use of English terms, grammar, and spelling. For example, brand names spelled wrong such as Monrow for Monroe. One more point: packaging may be “correct” but sized wrong; be suspicious of any part sold to you in a package that isn’t sized according to the product it holds.
Check the part. If the texture of a part seems odd, it could be a fake. For example, that Hella headlight may not be what it appears to be especially if the element inside looks cheap or broken, or if too much plastic was used in the development of the casing.
Know your supplier. Purchasing your parts from a reliable supplier isn’t a 100% guarantee that the parts received are genuine. Still, if they back up what they sell with a guarantee you won’t get stuck should a counterfeit part get passed through them to and on to you.
Buy OEM or better. Only purchase parts that meet or exceed stringent original manufacturer requirements. Prices 70, 80, or 90% lower than retail rates should raise a warning flag. Stick with the name brands; there is a reason why products from Bosch, Covercraft, Denso, Flowmaster, Injen, K&N, and others sell so well: they are trusted names associated with well known brands. Avoid generic or no name brands.
If you think that you have been sold bogus parts, inform the local police as well as the parts supplier of the problem. If you buy from an overseas company, the chances of you receiving a refund from them are slim. When purchasing online only purchase through those retailers who have an established track record and are reachable through a toll free number. You may save money in the short run with bogus parts, but you will lose in the long run with Volkswagen or other parts that are defective or even dangerous.
Copyright 2005 - Matt Keegan is a contributing writer for Auto Parts Canada, a wholesaler of fine Volkswagen parts and Volkswagen accessories for your Volkswagen truck, van, SUV, or passenger car.