This month, our contributors have their say on the topic of customer- supplied parts and the risks involved with supplying and fitting them.
Managing Director, Autosupplies (Chesterfield):
Motor factors are no longer just in competition with other motor factors, but now have to contend with the internet as locating and purchasing a part online is easier than ever before.
As a reputable motor factor, this is not only concerning for our business but it is also bad news for motorists as it is impossible to identify reliable products of proven quality when purchasing from a source behind a screen.
There has been an increase in reports of counterfeit and pirated goods and Trading Standards has also reported a 15% increase in pirated goods online. This brings into question the quality of these parts – something that is especially concerning when working with safety-critical parts.
Motor factors offer complete traceability as all parts in stock originate from high quality manufacturers and suppliers throughout the supply chain. It is our duty to ensure all parts that go out of our doors are safe and of high quality.
Buying directly from an unknown online source is a tricky predicament to be in but we have to put safety first. Customers are going to buy the part regardless and therefore we would prefer to encourage them to buy OE-quality parts from us.
We strongly discourage garages working with customer-supplied parts and wherever possible insist that they only fit parts of OE quality bought through a reputable source. This way, nobody loses out and we continue to have some of the safest roads in Europe.
Proprietor, Scotlands Ash Garage
Over the years, garages have had to adapt to the developments brought about by the digital age and although, for the main part, these are beneficial changes, there are also a number of issues that we need to keep an eye on such as customer- supplied parts.
The rise of the internet has made it a lot easier for motorists to get their hands on the exact part number they require at a significantly reduced rate. However, when purchasing this way, the quality and legitimacy of these products are always in doubt and we strongly advise technicians to steer clear of customer- supplied parts for this reason.
First of all, these parts are more likely to come without a warranty. This means if the workshop fits it correctly they are legally declaring it is fit for purpose and therefore it could get ‘messy’ if something goes wrong down the line.
Contacting and resolving issues with internet-based suppliers obviously comes with greater implications. Not only would it be difficult to find a solution, it could also lead to expensive legal or repair fees for the garage.
We could also end up spending hours fitting a part only to realise that it is incorrect or an imitation. If the customer then sends this back to their internet supplier they could be told the part has been ‘used’.
This is clearly a growing problem for garages and one that we need to eradicate together. Garages have a duty of care to ensure the parts they fit are fit for purpose and safe for the consumer, other road users and the general public. We can only guarantee this by using parts we trust from a reliable source.