The New York State Auto Collision Technicians Association (NYSACTA) has commended West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw for what the association says is an "unfettered commitment to consumer safety and awareness." McGraw's office is pursuing a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual Insurance and a West Virginia body shop for installing "junkyard parts" on a vehicle an act they say violated state law.
The lawsuit has drawn the attention of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), which called on McGraw to stop using the term "junkyard parts" because the group feels it's derogatory and misleading toward its members' products. NYSACTA, however, believes the term is accurate and that terminology referring to parts taken from salvaged vehicles as "recycled" can be misleading and harmful to consumers.
"In our collective experience, the term 'recycled' has been misused and/or abused in collision repair estimates prepared by insurance company appraisers and some repair shops/garages for years … The process known as 'recycling' by definition is when a vehicle is shredded and metal by-products are re-smelted for another use. The 'salvage part' re-conditioning process takes place at the repair shop … The re-use of a 'salvage part' or the selling of a 'salvaged previously used part' does not qualify [the part] as recycled," NYSACTA's letter states.
NYSACTA also claimed that the ARA took an FTC position on recycled crash parts out of context. NYSACTA believes that, per the FTC, although installing salvage parts may not void a whole vehicle warranty, their use could possibly void other limited warranties.
NYSACTA's letter also voiced concerns about salvage part safety, pointing out that cars in salvage yards have often undergone a great deal of abuse, and the quality and performance of salvage parts in a subsequent crash are "unknown."
The association believes that terms like "recycled" are used by the insurance industry to save money while "lulling consumers into a false sense of what is 'commercially' viable and, more importantly, safe."
"The 'salvage yard' association certainly has the right to defend their members; we are simply suggesting the term 'recycled' only be used when the part has been recycled as defined by law," NYSACT says, later adding, "Our association firmly believes that the term 'junkyard' (where applicable) is not any more derogatory than the term 'repairman-person' vs. 'repair technician' or 'repair shop' vs. 'garage.'"
The bottom line, NYSACTA said, is that "consumer safety and awareness is and always will be more important than nomenclature."
Download a copy of NYSACTA's letter
ARA Tells W.Va. Attorney General to Stop Using the Term 'Junkyard Parts'
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