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How to Avoid Counterfeit Auto Accessories
If you are unfamiliar with what makes aftermarket accessories the genuine article or a shady deal, then you may not be able to recognize a counterfeit performance car accessory when you see it. Counterfeits exist in every conceivable market, and discount car accessories are no exception.
This problem is nothing new. Over the last 20 years, criminals have sold phony high-performance car accessories for reduced prices. Loss of revenue for the automotive industry is not the on negative result. The less expensive price can save you some money while driving a car from accelerating gas prices. But consider this: most discount car accessories and parts sacrifice quality and safety with inexpensive and weaker materials.
Counterfeiters are clever people. They can create aftermarket auto accessories realistic enough to fool you long enough for it to be too late to do anything about. Several years ago, CBS Evening News ran a report on very crucial aftermarket automotive accessories: counterfeit brake pads. These pads were made of compressed grass clippings and wood chips, useless as brake pads. When you need to stop fast in an emergency situation, grass isn't going to cut it. When it comes to purchasing performance automotive accessories, stick with a brand name you know you can trust.
Is there a way for the average person to be protected against after market automotive accessory fraud?
Here is something to remember: A price that seem too good to be true, generally is! Seeing a popular brand of auto body kit that you've been eying available for half price may be a scam. Many counterfeiters have started to counter this approach by lowering their price just enough to avoid suspicion. Don't forget to do your research. Don't stop as soon as you find one instance of what you're looking for. Comparing prices to determine the average price for the accessory will allow you to make an intelligent decision on what you have observed.
Look closely at the package. At first a package may look creditable, but then some signs appear that it could be selling a scam.
Go to shops that you have had experience with or those that have received high reviews. Visit places you know about, or have been recommended to you by someone you trust. Sometimes the shops are being fooled just as much as you are, and every small shop is not deliberately being crooked by selling you discount car accessories. Distributors will usually purchase from those which have provided good service and good products. Consider purchasing from distributor that you've had previous good experiences with.
Be directly in touch with the manufacturer. The maker of the car can usually tell you if the item is real if you are unsure. Most major companies have protocols for proving the authenticity of accessories. Finding this information may be as simple as the code that is engraved on the part.
Your vehicle, your money, and your life are important. It would be foolish to settle on purchasing discount car accessories just to save a few bucks. Most manufacturers have phone lines or websites devoted to reporting fraudulent aftermarket automotive accessories and parts. Protect yourself, and report these crimes if you feel you've been a victim.
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