AASP/NJ Members Attend Webinar about the Dangers of Counterfeit Parts
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AASP/NJ Members Attend Webinar on Counterfeit Parts

Any time a counterfeit part is added to a vehicle, it can cause injury to the driver, their passengers and others on the road.

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This critical message was shared by the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council (A2C2) to a large webinar audience comprised of members of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ), parts distributors, insurers and other inter-industry representatives.

Presented by Guild 21/VeriFacts Automotive on June 11, “Don’t Gamble with Counterfeit Parts” explored the dangers of fake automotive products and A2C2’s work to hunt down these items and prosecute those who sell them to unsuspecting shops.

Led by retired insurance industry veteran George Avery on behalf of VeriFacts, the webinar featured panelists Abe Jardines (special agent/national program manager for Homeland Security Investigations, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center); John Lancaster (national wholesale parts manager for Subaru of America);
Teena Bohi (senior brand protection analyst for Toyota Motor North America); and Andy Forsythe (brand protection and dealer parts loyalty for Nissan Group of North America).

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A2C2 consists of multiple OEMs, including Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan Group, Subaru and Toyota. This collaboration among automakers and their partners strives to eliminate counterfeit automotive components that could harm U.S. consumers.

Long before his career in law enforcement began, Jardines delivered car parts to collision shops in his home area. He was well known among these facilities and on a first-name basis with everyone he encountered, but he warned attendees that those days are gone.

“We knew our supply chain back then…can you trust who you get your supplies from? Can you trust that the part that is going in the car will be safe if your own loved ones were to enter [that vehicle]?”

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E-commerce plays a role in the infiltration of these counterfeit parts by making it difficult for shops to know the legitimacy of part sources.

“There is a lot you can hide behind when you sell online,” said Bohi.

A2C2 has prosecuted multiple cases of counterfeit products that were traced back to online points of sale. Although it’s believed that just about any part can fall victim to counterfeiting, some of the examples shown during the webinar included brake pads, oil filters, keys, wheel covers and airbags. Additionally, a video was shown about a case led by attorney Todd Tracy, known for his work in the litigation against John Eagle Collision Center, that involved Sarah Loughran, a young woman who died after a counterfeit airbag installed in her Kia failed to deploy.

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“We are here to educate you on red flags,” said Lancaster. “If you see something and aren’t sure about it, contact us and let us know.”

Added Forsythe, “If you suspect that your supply line is compromised, you are getting parts that are of suspect quality and something doesn’t feel right, flag that shipment. Note how it arrived [and] its label[s], and contact the [Intellectual Property Rights] Center.”

“This webinar was another example of how AASP/NJ has tried to keep our members up to date during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Charles Bryant, executive director of AASP/NJ. “There was a great deal of information discussed, and hopefully those who participated came away with some knowledge that will help them in their day-to-day business.”

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For more information on A2C2, visit a2c2.com.

For more information on AASP/NJ and upcoming events, visit aaspnj.org.

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