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Beware of dangerous fake car parts – 02/08/2010

Trading Standards are warning traders and consumers to be extremely vigilant when purchasing car parts following a recent seizure of unsafe counterfeit brake pads.

The brake pads, branded as Volkswagen, SEAT, Skoda and Audi were seized at properties in Belfast and Armagh following a tip-off from the Volkswagen group.

An examination of the brake pads revealed that they were highly dangerous, failing to meet the required breaking friction levels and only held together by glue. The test concluded that the fakes would not obtain R90 approval – the European legal standard for brake pads.

Damien Doherty, Trading Standards Service (TSS) said: “In the past, counterfeit car parts were mainly non-safety items such as window wipers, mud flaps and car interior accessories. Now, counterfeit items such as brake pads, brake shoes, suspension components and steering linkages are readily available on the market.

“Car repairers and car part suppliers may not be aware that they are in possession of fake parts, as they can be made to look quite convincing. However, it is unbelievable to think that there may be some businesses out there that are knowingly selling counterfeit brake pads.

“If brake pads fail there are serious safety implications and lives could be lost. Risking the lives of drivers, passengers, other motorists and pedestrians for a few extra pounds is madness.”

Damien Doherty added:  “Vehicles cannot avoid the need for car repair and repairs can often be expensive.  Car repairers and consumers are enticed into buying fake car parts because they are cheaper. Genuine car parts may cost more but they guarantee peace of mind. Consumers should use reputable dealers and repairers, and if they are concerned, they should ask for approved branded car parts.”

“TSS officers will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any business or individual found to be involved in selling counterfeit car parts. Anyone selling such items will have their goods seized and face prosecution with the maximum penalty being ten years imprisonment.”

If a retailer, car-repairer or consumer has purchased Volkswagen branded brake pads that they are concerned about, they can check for the following tell-tale signs:

  • The fake box label indicates that the product is a “Wasserpumpe” and not brake pads. Wasserpumpe is German for water pump.
  • Printing error on fake box reads ‘Fonnel Q’ but should read ‘Formel Q’.
  • The backing plate of the fake pads is engraved with ‘TAXTE’ or ‘TEXTA’, whereas the genuine product are engraved with ‘TEXTAR’.
  • No fitting instructions included in the box.
  • Tamper proof box seal missing.
  • The fake parts do not have a batch code and production date.
  • The performance of the fake product is significantly lower than the genuine brake pads.

Anyone who suspects they have purchased counterfeit brake pads, should report the matter to Domain Scams on 0300 123 62 62 or log onto www.domainscams.co.uk

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