BMW and Mercedes Benz are prime targets for parts counterfeiters because of the high prices and perceived quality by consumers. Original Equipment Service or OES brake pads are some of the most counterfeited parts around the world. Fake OES brake pads can match the packaging and look of the automaker, but they can’t match the performance. Counterfeit OES brake pads are often below the quality level of reputable high-quality aftermarket brake pad manufacturers. These videos from BMW and Mercedes Benz show what can happen if a low-quality brake pad is installed on a vehicle.
In the US, OEMs can’t mandate that the vehicle owner use only parts from the OEM to service and maintain their vehicles thanks to the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act. Some aftermarket brake pad manufacturers often meet or exceed the performance of the original brake pads. Also, some aftermarket brake pads can solve issues like brake fade, dust and noise the OEM could not have anticipated when they were engineering the vehicle years before. Also, brake friction materials, backing plates and even shim designs are constantly evolving.
The best advice is that if you want OES brake pads, buy them from the dealership or specialty distributor for foreign nameplate vehicles. Otherwise, put your trust in aftermarket brake pads that come from a source that has a good reputation.