A recently released report conducted by the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) revealed a dramatic price gap between OEM and aftermarket or alternative versions of the top 20 most commonly sold certified auto collision repair parts from 2009-2014.
The study found that the top 20 aftermarket parts that were tested by the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) were priced up to 50 percent less than OEM versions of the parts. Aftermarket versions of all of the top 20 were priced lower than the OEM versions; the average was 29 percent less expensive. The QPC claims these price differences have led to more than $80 million in consumer savings since 2009.
“This report reinforces the importance of consumers having a choice when making collision repairs to their cars,” said Ed Salamy, executive director of the QPC. “Without competition, auto manufacturers would be free to charge inflated prices, and consumers would have no other options.”
The QPC says that in recent years, automakers have begun "exploiting" a loophole in design patent law to limit access to alternative collision repair parts, forcing consumers to pay car companies more to fix their vehicles.
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate that would fix this loophole and, the QPC states, "safeguard consumers against price gouging." The QPC says that the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales (PARTS) Act of 2013 (H.R. 1663 and S. 780) would "ensure consumer choice for auto collision repair parts is preserved and protect 60 years of competition that has existed in the auto repair parts market."
“It is simply not fair to saddle consumers with higher repair and insurance costs as a result of car companies seeking to eliminate competition and charge monopolistic prices,” said Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation of America. “This report highlights the extraordinary consumer savings inherent in a competitive marketplace and the need for Congress to pass the PARTS Act without delay. Consumers need to make their voices heard to ensure that happens.”
The QPC is leading a grassroots effort to build support for passage of the PARTS Act at supportpartsact.com.