NOT what they seem
Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
All of the panelists agreed that under the doctrine of strict tort liability in the US, any seller of a product, and not just the manufacturer, is liable for losses, injury, or damage caused by a defective product. The fact that a distributor didn't create the defect, take part in the design or production of the product, or produce any product instructions or warnings, is no defense.
To avoid problems that may come with using counterfeit parts, the four panelists offered this advice:
Buy from a trusted source; reliable, established companies.
If you are not familiar with a parts manufacturer, request evidence of due care, ask for copy of self certification for its products, and ask about product compliance testing and reports. “These kinds of things will flush out the good guys from the bad guys,” said Grote.
Look for product markings on packaging, literature, and products.
The old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” is true. Virtually all major OEMs are global in both supply base and production. It is extremely unlikely that a counterfeit parts manufacturer can produce the same product at a lesser cost unless it is taking shortcuts on materials and processes, and that results in products of inferior, inconsistent quality.
In summary, Kleinhagen said distributors are the real key to controlling parts counterfeiting because counterfeiters have no distribution of their own and no brand equity.
“Distribution channels in the commercial vehicle market are pretty short and transparent,” he said. “Most manufacturers in this market don't use third parties between themselves and the North American distributor base. So if you're buying products from someone other than a manufacturer, it's probably not genuine.”
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