What are “genuine” car parts? Are they really made by car companies? Does fitting independent aftermarket parts and accessories risk voiding your manufacturers’ warranty?
Research by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has shown these are questions many workshop technicians may find difficult to answer.
AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity said: “If the industry cannot answer these questions accurately, what hope do car owners have?”
Stuart Charity said for many years car companies have successfully promulgated the “myth” that you need to fit “genuine” parts sold by their dealerships, or risk voiding your manufacturers’ or “new car” warranty.
“Most consumers are completely unaware that they have extensive statutory rights under Australian Consumer Law when buying a new car. Car companies cannot restrict these rights by forcing car owners to use their dealerships and branded parts when servicing their new car.
“The AAAA believes in free and open competition as the best way to ensure that all Australian car owners have access to affordable, high quality repairs and parts,” said Stuart Charity.
“To achieve this we must ensure that consumers have access to factual information, so they can exercise their statutory rights under Australian Consumer Law. To help deliver the facts to consumers, the AAAA has initiated an educational campaign for independent aftermarket workshop operators,” said Stuart Charity.
The AAAA is distributing a brochure titled The Truth about Genuine Parts – A Workshop Guide to Dispelling the Myths to provide workshops with:
- Definitions used to distinguish between the different sources of parts available in the market.
- Previously released Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) guidance on car parts.
- An outline of “best practice” workshop procedures in relation to parts ordering and the benefits of workshops communicating clearly with customers about the parts they are fitting.
And for the record . . .
The term “genuine” parts is used as a marketing tool by car companies as a general reference to parts and accessories that are sold in their own branded packaging.
“It is important to note that car manufacturers do not make the majority of parts themselves. They are almost always made by third party component suppliers and put in boxes with the manufacturer’s brands on them.
“It is common for these same component suppliers to also sell parts under their own brand – same part, same factory, different box,” said Stuart Charity.
“And while it is true that not every part sold in the aftermarket is manufactured by an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) supplier, every parts manufacturer and distributor has the same obligations under Australian Consumer Law.
“The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has previously issued guidelines that explain that the issue is not who manufactured the part, it is whether the parts are fit or appropriate for the purpose intended.
“If a part is non-genuine, but is interchangeable with the genuine part, it would be viewed as being fit or appropriate for the purpose and would therefore not void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Source from reputable manufacturers and suppliers
“However, if the aftermarket part fails, or causes damage to the vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer would not be liable for any damage caused by the failure of that part. It is therefore important to ensure that both workshop operators and their parts suppliers provide reliable warranty support and have adequate insurance.
“The critical point for independent workshops is to only source parts, lubricants and accessories from reputable manufacturers and suppliers. These parts also come with Consumer Guarantees under Australian Consumer Law in the very same way that OEM parts do.
“Aftermarket parts may also provide a significant price advantage. Using unknown internet sources to get a cheap price is not good policy,” said Stuart Charity.
AAAA invites independent workshop owners to download a copy of the “The truth about genuine parts – a workshop guide to dispelling the myths”.