Legislating Quality? A Bill to Declare Aftermarket Crash Parts Equivalent To OE Crash Parts - BodyShop Business

Legislating Quality? A Bill to Declare Aftermarket Crash Parts Equivalent To OE Crash Parts

If common sense is so common, then why do so few people have it? I see examples every day that common sense is going the way of LPs and dinosaurs, and this latest only confirms my suspicions: California legislators are actually considering Assembly Bill 1163 – a bill to declare aftermarket crash parts equivalent to OE crash parts. A bill that, in essence, legislates quality.

If we say these parts are good, then darn it, they are!

The bill is being sponsored by the Certified Aftermarket Parts Association (CAPA) – surprise, surprise! – and was introduced by Assembly Member Leland Yee.

And you know what they say … stupidity loves company. A.B. 1163 is similar to the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) even more moronic Certified Aftermarket Crash Parts Model Act.

“This model act is … only good for insurers, as it gives them an easy mechanism for mandating the use of these parts, creates the presumption of quality and insulates them from all liability,” says Erica Eversman, chief counsel for Vehicle Information Services, Inc. in Bath, Ohio.

California A.B. 1163 is almost as irrational as NCOIL’s model A/M parts act, except that it proposes that any third-party certifier be accredited by the American National Standards Institute and the International Organization for Standardization. It also makes insurers warrantors of the A/M parts.

“True product warranties … are typically governed by state consumer protection laws and enforced by the Attorney General, not by the Department of Insurance,” says Eversman. “As a result, offering a product warranty is not regulated by the Department of Insurance as the ‘business of insurance’ and, therefore, insurers have no exemption via McCarran-Ferguson from the application of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act…

“It’s interesting to consider that exposure to liability for warranting aftermarket parts could wind up costing insurers far more than they save by insisting on them in the first place.”

But that’s the only glimmer of intelligence in an otherwise black hole of stupidity. The California Assembly went on to take an already nonsensical bill and then managed to amend it to make even less sense. The most absurd change was to section 9875.4:

“Noncar company certified aftermarket crash parts used to repair a motor vehicle shall be presumed to be are of like kind and quality to car company parts.”

This amended legislation would take certified A/M parts from being presumed to be of equivalent quality to OEM parts (already a bold assumption) to being irrefutably established as equivalent.

“Regulation like this is crazy,” says Eversman. ” … California legislators intend to give non-American companies a fake quality rating so their parts can be substituted for OEM products – which had to earn their quality ratings. We don’t market-protect American-made products in this manner. Surely, if we won’t protect products manufactured in our own country, we certainly shouldn’t be protecting products made elsewhere.”

It also seems an affront to American capitalism to artificially declare a product “buyable.” If it’s buyable, the buyers will want it without legislation. And if they don’t want it, then it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to figure out why.

“The mere fact that any legislature is considering passing a law for them tells you that the marketplace has already rejected these parts as inferior,” says Eversman. “Otherwise, there would be no need for any legislation – the products would stand on their own merits.”

Both the proposed NCOIL model act and A.B. 1163 subscribe to the theory that if you say something is true, then it is. What’s next? Legislators ruling that Melllo Yello is like kind and quality to Mountain Dew?

Georgina K. Carson, Editor

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