The sale of counterfeit automotive parts through online marketplaces is a significant and growing problem, posing a threat to the health and safety of U.S. consumers, according to a new white paper commissioned by the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council, Inc. (A2C2).
The report details key factors contributing to the proliferation of counterfeit auto parts online, including an unwillingness on the part of e-commerce marketplaces to sufficiently, verify the legitimacy of the third-party sellers and products on their sites, and the general lack of awareness among consumers that some automotive parts sold online are counterfeit.
While calling for online marketplaces to be held accountable for the products available on their sites, the white paper also offers several suggestions to improve the situation, including implementation of industry practices to validate marketplace supply chains; a greater collaboration between marketplaces, brands and law enforcement to identify and
track counterfeiters; and improved consumer education.
According to the report, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have taken a hands-off approach to the third-party products sold through their platforms. The growth and increased consumer confidence in e-commerce marketplaces have accompanied a steady increase in the online availability of counterfeit products.
Taking advantage of the lack of seller or product verification online, counterfeiters avoid many safeguards that are in place to protect consumers. While the ease and convenience of online marketplaces benefit legitimate companies, and particularly growing companies and entrepreneurs, they also provide opportunities for unscrupulous and illegitimate sellers to prosper. As a result, when consumers turn to an online marketplace, they typically discover not only authorized dealers, but also counterfeiters who appear to be equally genuine.