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Car Safety Being Undermined by 'Grey Market'

» Posted December 18, 2017Resources | Share This Post

Drivers have a right to expect their vehicles will be safe and will operate in the intended manner without problems, especially if the motorist has purchased a new car. When a vehicle has repeated problems, the driver should reach out to a Los Angeles lemon law attorney to find out about options. 

When cars have repeated problems and need regular repairs, the car's poor performance is not only a hassle-- it is also a safety risk.  There are several major reasons why it can be dangerous to drive a car that is defective. One obvious risk is something will go wrong with the car while it is being operated and an accident will happen because of it. There is also another problem as well: the repairs that are done on the vehicle could make the car less safe if grey market parts are used.

Grey Market Parts Endanger Motorists

Forbes recently reported on the dangers of the “grey market.” The “grey market” refers to the market where knock-off vehicle parts are used. These parts are also called after-market. Essentially, the parts are not made by the same manufacturer of the vehicle and the parts are not authorized by the manufacturer.  The parts are made by third party producers, who may not have the same rigorous quality control standards as the original vehicle manufacturer. The parts may differ slightly from the original manufacturer parts, or may – in some cases – be substantially inferior to the manufacturer's original parts.

Knock-off parts are not necessarily a big problem if the parts are used for cosmetic repairs, such as fixing a fender. However, whenever an aftermarket part is used to fix or replace a car component that has a safety function, problems can arise. This includes even parts like hoods and bumpers, which are not just aesthetic but which serve an important safety function on vehicles.

Some car dealers and consumer advocates will not use aftermarket parts because of the risks that the grey-market presents to consumers.  Others, however, make after-market parts their go-to option because of the lower costs that are associated with using these lower-priced parts.  When the aftermarket parts are certified by nonprofits, their quality is checked and the parts are usually – but not always -- fine. But, for other parts without certification, quality can be inconsistent.

Even when the parts themselves appear to be of an acceptable quality, if the knock-off parts don't interact properly with other vehicle systems, this can also cause major problems. For example, in 2010, Consumer Reports found that knock-off bumpers on Ford vehicles could cause malfunctions of the airbag system in computer-simulated crashes.  And this is just one of many ways in which knock-off parts could present a danger to vehicle operators.

You don't want to be at risk because you have a new car with serious safety issues, nor do you want to end up driving a new car with after-market parts. If your vehicle has problems, you should talk with a Los Angeles lemon law attorney to find out what options could be available to you under the law.


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