Detection: How do you tell a fake from an original
Spotting a counterfeit part is not always easy because the good ones look a lot like the OE parts—that’s on purpose! If they look real, they’re easier to sell.
Here are some suggestions on how to tell a counterfeit part from a genuine part:
- Consider the source. Where did the part come from? A Toyota dealer or a third-party vendor?
- If you’re the shop manager and you’re not installing the part, ask to see the part and package.
Counterfeiters copy the box and packaging as well as the part.
- If the packaging appears flimsy or the graphics don’t quite match the other Genuine Toyota Parts you have in inventory, it could be counterfeit.
- If the packaging appears to be Genuine Toyota but is in a foreign language, it could be a gray market part.
• If the price is “too good to be true”, you should be suspicious.
Toyota even has people walking the floor at the annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) and AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) shows in Las Vegas to be on the lookout for counterfeit parts to try to stop the problem at the source.
The consequences of counterfeit parts
No one wins when using counterfeit parts. They may be more affordable in the short term, but in the long run, they have a negative impact on your entire business:
• Parts That Don’t Fit: Counterfeit parts don’t deliver the fit and quality of Genuine Toyota Parts.
That means they will take longer to install because they don’t fit correctly the first time. Time is money, and that makes counterfeit parts costlier.
• Negative Effect on Durability: People buy Toyota vehicles because of their quality and durability. Anything that compromises that can cause repercussions for your facility and for Toyota. That’s why it’s imperative to always rely on Genuine Toyota Parts.
• Safety Compromised: With counterfeit parts, there are no checks and balances — no assurance that counterfeit parts perform in a collision the way OE parts perform—and the repair facility that uses counterfeit parts is liable if that vehicle is in an accident and the part fails.
• Economic Impact: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that counterfeit automobile parts cost the United States’ automotive parts industry $3 billion in lost sales, as well as thousands of lost jobs due to the parts being made offshore.
Counterfeit parts can also affect the vehicle’s appearance and decrease its resale value, both of which negatively impact customer satisfaction.
Remember: Genuine means Genuine
Bohi concludes, “No one intends to use counterfeit parts. They’re sold deceptively and shops may unwittingly use parts that could fail when the driver needs them the most. Counterfeit parts jeopardize how a vehicle reacts in an accident, so don’t be fooled. You get what you pay for.”
So, when repairing a Toyota, rely on Genuine Toyota Parts, and the only source for those parts is from a Toyota dealer. That way, you and your customers know they are always getting the authenticity and quality of Toyota—and that’s priceless!