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Over $1 million in counterfeit parts seized

Left good, RIght bad.

After highlighting the amount of counterfeit parts coming into Australia and being sold online on platforms such as eBay late last year, over $1 million in counterfeit parts have just been seized in the United Arab Emirates, believed to be bound for Australia.

Marked in red shows the counterfeit.

Eight raids across the UAE have netted 178,781 counterfeit parts with a value in excess of $1.45 million dollars. Over a two month period raids were executed in Dubai and surrounding towns. Counterfeit investigation experts have confirmed that the parts were most likely headed for Australia.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ Chief Executive Tony Weber slammed the counterfeiters, noting the trade of fake car parts as a growing concern.

“It’s over 178,000 illegal unsafe parts which will damage cars and pose a serious safety risk to the driving public. Our understanding is that this is just a small percentage of what is out there. Counterfeit parts put drivers, families and the general public at risk,” Mr Weber said.

The captured items appear to be the same as those recently confiscated in Australia, with oil filters bearing a striking resemblance to those the local industry confiscated late in 2017.

“The automotive industry and Border Force are doing their utmost to suppress the rising tide of this dangerous trade,” he said.

“It is becoming clear the counterfeit car part market is operated by a sophisticated global network of criminals with contempt for global road safety. Their means of deception underscores how deeply they are invested in cheating car owners.”

With the seizure of over Over $1 million in counterfeit parts, it will hopefully begin to stem the tide of substandard consumables entering our country, if for no other reason than it must be impacting the financial viability of the counterfeit parts. Make sure you buy any parts for your 4X4 from a reputable supplier, and saving $3 on an oil filter through eBay may just cost you a thousand times that in a replacement engine.

33 Comments

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  • Well said, Geoff 22 Apr. The prices charged for most “Genuine Parts” are high but it pays to take in to consideration that the supplier has overheads such as delivery costs, storage costs, wages, taxes, regulatory fees, advertising costs and a myriad of other costs to cover. If they don’t make a profit then as well as pay their bills, they go out of business. Where does that leave you when you need parts, service or information? I have bought cheap and genuine and been caught out by both. At least with the genuine there is some chance of a refund or warranty but with cheap, especially overseas online items, no hope.

    Good luck to those that have a good reputable non genuine supplier but remember the adage ” Buyer beware”.

  • If Toyota only charged us $20 for an oil filter instead of ripping us off for $60 then there would be no market for the counterfeit items .
    its the manufacturers that have created this issue , not the consumers

  • I work for a manufacturing company in Australia – we manufacture agricultural machinery and basically operate as you have described Holden and Ford here (on a much smaller scale) – we out source some of our component manufacturing and act somewhat as an assembly plant. We have replaceable parts on our products which sell as a spare part. We get comments that these parts are ‘expensive’ and some of our clients shop elsewhere for this part only to come back and say the original part lasted a lot longer – I think this would be the same case with a lot of car manufacturers parts as well. We personally have shopped round and sourced high quality components which have been proven to last on our machinery. It costs us money to stock them and a lot of money has gone into ensuring the quality is maintained therefore our ‘expensive’ price. We do however provide peace of mind and assurance that the part will ALWAYS outlast any cheap copy available to the open market. You are not getting stung by Holden or Ford – you are buying peace of mind that the parts will last. Obviously these parts may be available from Repco as well at a lower cost and lucky you if the part happens to come from the same factory as the Genuine part – personally though – I would prefer not to take the risk, the assurance of having a good quality part means more to me.

  • A guy did a youtube clip a couple of years ago comparing ‘genuine’ and compatible makes of oil filters.

    Cutting them open and looking at the quality of construction and materials used for non return valves, etc.

    Bosch and a few of the Jap manufactures were all deemed to be good. Funnily enough, the genuine Toyota component was actually one of the most inferior, so go figure.

    I have cut open a few of the filters for my vehicle, comparing OEM and third party and the guts are virtually identical in every way. The only difference was that I could buy Air, Fuel and Oil Filters for about one and a half times the cost of a genuine oil filter. Hence I can replace the lot every service and actually improve the filtering.

    classic yesterday. Idler pulley for my Triton was about $80AU from wholesale. The bearing in it was only around $7AU. What a markup for the tinnye pulley and axle bolt. I didn’t even bother to consider OEM.

  • Sad but seems that no matter where you look these days the world has become a rip off place. People need to unite and fight back like they are here. For crime to succeed people simply have to do nothing.

  • Grant, you are absolutely correct that manufactures use the same companies to supply their genuine parts, imagine if each manufacture had to make every individual part themselves, what would the price of a new car be?? Where you are wrong, just because it has come from the same supplier doesn’t mean they meet the same specification and that’s where you need to be careful as Brent pointed out above also, or looking at the 2 different filters above. Ian also makes comment about prices compared to US, look at anything, food, phone, TV’s, cars……. i think this has more to do with import duties than anything else, do you think Dealerships are making less money in the US? I think these 2 comments miss the point of the article, even though it looks the same, doesn’t mean it works the same.

  • Spot on Grant. Great response. Mark up on “genuine” parts is ridiculous and a ripoff. Would not have an issue with counterfeit parts if the the price was reasonable. Honda dealer in Canberra once tried to charge me $40 for a genuine radiator cap. Went to Repco and bought one for $7 which I was told came out of the same factory.

  • Totally agree with the right to buy aftermarket parts for my vehicles but It would be a different matter if I was not receiving what I paid for. Counterfeiting, like the example shown, is ripping off purchasers as the product is not what the client is expecting. Pretending to be genuine when it is not is simply fraud as the client is being totally conned. Aftermarket parts are clearly marked and labelled and you know exactly what your buying. This is our choice.
    The above is an absolute rip off and they should jail (or deport) those who participate in this scam.

  • I think you have to consider what you are buying and the risk, by that I mean a mirror window or fittings that fit have little risk, but internal parts to engines, I would be more cautious and prefer to fit original suppier OEM parts, that doesn’t always mean from the car dealer, knowing who the manufacturer is, is the key but not always possible I know.

  • Great another shonky supplier, but so what, there will be another one or more tomorrow. It has been said in one of the previous replies, go off-shore and that is basically the end of QA. China does not recognise any trade mark or patent, they copy (or try to) everything and anything, and do so with impunity. Manufacturers don’t reject this or even oppose it, they embrace it – so long as the labour is cheap and few questions on QA are asked – at least they do until a third party manufacture copies there product. They are hypocrites, and are so to the detriment of where they base there markets. The sham starts with manufactures and there dealerships and spirals further out of control from there. There are few ‘genuine’ parts, most are made by third parties, these third parties then farm out the manufacturing, and the manufactures just abrogate all care and responsibility. The result – no manufacturing in Australia. Great the caught them in Dubai but this is about a control of market share, not about QA or customer care.

  • Reputable re-sellers and those with their own brands do a lot of work before entering a supply partnership with a factory over seas. They then hand over drawings and employ on site personnel from QA companies such as SGS, BV and the like.

    I recently purchased DBA brake rotors and good aftermarket pads which are much better quality than the rubbish Nissan tried to sell me at 3 times the price and didn’t have to pay $100 an hour for a first year apprentice to do the job.

    The companies that make this illegal rubbish such as the parts confiscated are generally not ones with any accreditation and are unable to meet ISO requirements due to poor or non existent systems.

    If you buy genuine, buy it from your local dealer. Otherwise use a reputable supplier or re-seller.

  • There is a huge market for compatible parts. Many owners buy alternative parts, sometimes because of price but often because they want something of a different spec. For example someone who tows regularly may want to use better brakes and transmission fluid than is standard.

    As far as the counterfeit parts go, there is no excuse. Sell it as a Toyota compatible and be judged on the quality. Sell it as a genuine Toyota and that quality is just assumed. That’s the line.

    Of course car manufacturers could help by not gouging their customers for genuine parts. When you can get identical parts for less than half the cost of genuine you are leaving the door open for counterfeiting.

    I broke the glass in a wing mirror on my HiLux. $75 from Toyota or $12 from Aliexpress.

  • Hi,
    This a real problem how many engines have been damaged,Toyota need to step up to the plate and
    have feature on the filters difficult for asisan knock off companies to copy not just a bit of paint and
    some hologram on the box.Toyota spend a lot of money legally chasing some aussie diesel repair
    companies that speak out about DPF problems on 2017 Hiluxes ( a mate has had 2 replaced in 26,000 k)
    Deal with knockoff filters and DPF issues.
    Regards Dibbo.

  • Grant, I think you missed the whole point… The article is about making sure you don’t get ripped off buying a filter or part marketed as say ‘genuine Toyota’ through ebay that turns out to be a substandard counterfeit copy. No one suggested that there are any issues with after market parts from reputable retailers, which I agree with you, are often identical to the ‘factory’ part.

  • Just try writing to either the distributor or manufacturer of an engine oil filter asking them as to the micron rating of their oil filters. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT ONE!

  • Grant is pissed off but I reckon he has a point here, I needed an oil filter for my BT 50 it was $36 at Mazda and $22 at ford both have fomoco stamped on them the only difference is the box and the dealer outlet so is this a rip off you betcha it is and this doesn’t even mention the servicing costs or differences in intervals so yeah some dealers are getting stuck into us

  • Try writing to the oil filter distributors or better still, to the makers of oil filters and asking them as to the Micron rating of their product. GOOD LUCK!

  • I completely agree with Grant, If you compare the price of genuine automotive parts supplied to consumers in the US and then see what we pay for our genuine parts here in Au, you will see the way we are being ripped off.
    Ian M

  • I made and installed a stainless steel conveyor for the heat treatment of parts in a car part manufacturing plant in Melbourne years ago,
    When Pirate parts were rife every where,
    My question to the plant manager was,
    Do you make el cheapo parts with sub standard materials or lower quality materials for your cheaper parts,
    No, He said,
    Today it goes in a pretty ford box, That will cost you $160-00
    Tomorrow, It will go in a pretty holden box, That will cost you $140-00,
    Then on the third day it will go in a plastic bag with just a number on it for the wholesalers, That will cost you $30-00
    They are all the same parts, With the same numbers,
    Changing the materials would actually cost us a fortune extra, and then the chance of getting them mixed up, Would create too many problems for us down the line,

    I went in to buy a tie rod for my Monaro, From repco years ago,
    He was looking in the book for the right one,
    It had three listed,
    Brougham, $180-00
    Monaro, $160-00
    Kingswood, $140-00
    All the same numbers on them, Whats the difference I asked,
    You pay extra for the more fancy cars,
    The Kingswood one fitted perfect in my Monaro, for $140-00

    Car companys are assemblers, They They make very little of the cars they make,

    One good one I see all the time on Forums, Only buy genuine OEM bearings or seals,
    That means buy the bearing or seal from the manufacturer of the vehicle,
    No vehicle, Bike car or truck manufacturer any where in the world has ever made bearings or seals,
    They buy it from the Bearing and seal manufacturers that give them the cheapest price for a job lot,
    Buy Genuine parts, Your paying for the fancy box it comes in, Not for the part inside,

    But be aware, There are shonky parts out there, Caviet Emptor,

  • “But there cheep (gullible Australian public )”

    But they’re cheap (literate Australian)

    Local manufacturing is not the answer, through local labour laws, local parts are more expensive, thus increasing the margin for counterfeit parts.

    Grant you are missing the point, the issue is as an Australian consumer, I should be able to make the choice to purchase either a genuine part at full price, or a non-genuine part at a lower price, my choice. However, if I do choose the genuine part, that is what it should be, not a counterfeit part.

    Those companies that have moved manufacturing to the low cost shore, without reducing retail price are making greater profit than ever before. They should be using these profit to track down and cut out the counterfeit supplies to save their brand an reputation, after all, sale of a counterfeit part to a consumer who has elected to purchase the genuine part, is a lost sale.

  • A $3500 quote for parts for a BMW X5 – became a $679 bill via online. Purchased thru the same manufacturers that supply BMW?? Not all non dealer parts are rubbish. Be aware and do your home work.
    Cam advance senors/motors, gaskets etc. All working great. And the joke … the guy at BMW willing gave me a written quote supplying all part numbers ….. and he knew exactly what I was going to do. So even they know they are ripping us off.
    Although, I also agree, lot of rubbish out there. Be smart.

  • If the genuine parts suppliers did not rip people of with highly inflated prices we would not have to worry about the faulty supplies

  • “For the saving made on not buying from dealer to the potential cost if something goes wrong is miniscule”

    A lot of people believe, and this is through the clever marketing of original car manufacturers that their filter, because it is in a Holden or Toyota box, is somehow a superior quality…… do Toyota have their own oil filter manufacturing factory ? Do Holden have their own brake pad manufacturing plant ? No they don’t !
    Car companies no longer “make” their cars like they once did many years ago, they simple build / assemble them. All those parts used to build the car are often supplied by companies like Ryco filters, Gates belts, Bendix brakes, DBA etc and they simply come along a conveyor belt and are either painted with a blue backing plate and slipped into a Bendix box ( destined for Repco, Supercheap, AutoOne etc ) or are painted red with a Holden logo on the back and popped into a nice shiny red Holden box and sent to the Holden dealership network.
    The only difference is a front set of “1085” front Commodore pads from Repco / Supercheap and the like will set you back around $ 35 – $50 a set, depending on brand.
    However if buy the same red “Holden” pads from a dealer, expect to pay around $73 a set, as confirmed today, in AC Delco brand which is not even “genuine” Holden as they can’t “get them anymore” as confirmed by one Holden dealer just this morning. The price difference is because of its nice red Holden packaging. Also someone has to pay for the nice clean shiny glass fronted showrooms and the $ 3,000 courtesy client coffee machine !
    It’s an absolute rort and waste of your hard earned $$$ to pay more for “genuine” parts when they’re made by the same manufacturers that supply to the aftermarket. Car manufacturers have been very clever too for many years pushing the whole “you must come back here for servicing and parts to keep your new car warranty” when in fact this is a blatant marketing gimmick and in in fact illegal under the ACCC law. Provided you take your new car to a licenced mechanic and they’re using parts, even aftermarket brands, that meet or exceed OEM specifications, your new car warranty can not be void.
    If a dealer tells you otherwise, they will be in court facing huge fines ! It is illegal yet the way they word it implies you have to go back to them for warranty sake and it sucks in many many people who end up paying two or three times the price for a standard service anywhere else.
    Wake up people …… dealers sell the car with little or no profit margin and how do they make their money then ….. ? Through rip off services and parts pricing.

  • And this is what happens when reputable companies like Ryco, who once made high quality filter products here in Australia, decide to ship manufacturing off shore to places like China, Thailand, India etc and their products are made to a price and open to a flurry of counterfeit rubbish taking over. Bring back Aussie manufacturing and this won’t be an issue !

  • I bought a box of 10 counterfeit Toyota Oil Filters via Ebay about 8 years ago. Packaged in Toyota boxes and large box was also Toyota. Looked slightly different inside to an original so cut it open and filter material inside was very poor. Lump of steel added to it to make it similar weight. Seller was a reputable diesel shop who told me he had been conned and he stopped selling them. Only ever buy from a dealer now.

  • Why are we not making everything we need here in Australia . We can send billions in foreign”aid”. What about aiding local enterprise and building a future for Australians here.

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