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ARA requests West Virginia Attorney General to curb use of “junkyard parts” term

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Jan. 6, 2012—The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) sent a formal letter of complaint this week to West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw urging him to refrain from using the term "junkyard parts" when referring to recycled or salvaged automobile parts.

In December 2011, McGraw filed a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. for allegedly requiring body shops to repair vehicles with reconditioned used parts. According to West Virginia’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act, McGraw said it is illegal for insurance companies to require the use of salvage, used or reconditioned crash parts on repairs of motor vehicles less than three years old without acquiring the vehicle owner’s consent.

McGraw used the term “junkyard parts” when referring to recycled and salvaged parts in a statement he release_notesd announcing the lawsuit. The ARA said “junkyard parts” is a derogatory and misleading term, and implies that recycled and salvaged parts are inferior to new original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.

McGraw’s misleading characterization of recycled and salvaged parts does a disservice to consumers in West Virginia, the ARA said. The organization added that restricting legitimate choices for vehicle repair does not protect West Virginia consumers. Instead, it restricts access to those parts, which creates a monopolistic market and inflates the cost of vehicle repair and insurance premiums.

"We believe that this statement infers that salvaged, used and reconditioned parts are somehow unsafe and inferior to new OE parts," said Michael Wilson, CEO of the ARA. "This is simply false. Recycled and salvaged automobile parts are not ‘junkyard parts,’ nor are they classified as such under West Virginia statute. We have asked the Attorney General to clarify this statement.”

The ARA is dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of green automotive parts, and the proper recycling of inoperable motor vehicles. The ARA said it provides consumers with quality, environmentally friendly and low-cost alternatives for vehicle replacement parts. The organization represents more than 4,500 auto recycling facilities worldwide.

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