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CNN Report Slams Repair Practices, Tarnishes Aftermarket Parts


By Bill McDonough, Editor, Body Language

A report broadcast on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° program on February 11, 2015 took a hard look at alleged steering practices by insurers. The report was strongly biased against insurers and took a very negative attitude toward non-OEM parts.

CNN Anderson Cooper Report Watch the report online by clicking here.

While the focus of the video is on steering to “preferred” repair shops, a great deal of attention is paid to shoddy replacement parts, which CNN’s reporter, Drew Griffin, says insurers force shops to use. He unfairly lumps aftermarket parts in with salvage and recycled parts.

As a representative of the collision repair industry, and as someone involved in the aftermarkets parts business, you may face questions from customers, insurers, colleagues and friends about this report. There are several points you should keep in mind and try to get across when responding.

  • Salvage parts and recycled parts should not be confused with new, “alternative parts.”  While there is nothing wrong with a recycled part, it must be made clear that they are two completely different segments in the industry. I feel as if the CNN report grouped them together and did not distinguish between the two.
  • The report seemed to not only group aftermarket and recycled parts together, they also insinuated with a broad stroke that all of these parts are “substandard” and inferior, a claim that has no basis in fact.
  • The ABPA is committed to promoting the distribution of the highest quality products available in the marketplace including those that are third-party certified from such organizations as CAPA and NSF.  These certified parts are tested and validated to perform in the same capacity as the car company part on an undamaged vehicle.
  • CAPA has been certifying collision parts for over 25 years. NSF, an internationally recognized leader of quality standards and systems, is also a major player in the parts certification business.
  • Many distributor members of the ABPA participate in the NSF Distributor Certification Program.  These companies must meet stringent guidelines for distribution (ISO 9001) and they are regularly audited for compliance.
  • Aftermarket parts typically have a far more comprehensive warranty over car company parts, with many ABPA members offering a Lifetime Warranty.
  • The CNN report fails to address the benefits to consumers when they have a choice in collision repair parts. Not only are these parts certified and have better warranty coverage than car company parts, they are available at a substantial discount which is passed on to the consumer. These savings range from 25-50%

When consumers require “out of pocket” repairs for brakes, tires, shocks or even collision repairs, they will investigate the best value for their budget. They need to be aware that our industry provides these same values.

As an industry we cannot simply stand quietly on the sideline while a crusading reporter takes ill-informed potshots at our products. The fact that we offer significant financial savings to consumers with products which are certified, warrantied and of the highest quality should be a source of pride, not a reason to defend our work.

Let’s not take this smear quietly. I urge you to take to social media and industry forums to set the record straight about aftermarket parts. Post the correct information to Facebook and Google+, send a Tweet to your followers, email your contacts with the points made in this article. Don’t let irresponsible reporting by CNN paint an inaccurate picture of our industry.

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