June 25, 2013—The New York state Senate recently passed the Counterfeit Airbag Prevention Act to protect consumers from the installation of potentially fatal counterfeit airbags.
The Counterfeit Airbag Prevention Act would make it illegal for companies to knowingly traffic or install counterfeit and nonfunctional airbags for automotive repair. The legislation provides the New York Attorney General with necessary power to address any attempts to do so.
New York state Senator Lee Zeldin, chairman of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, said the U.S. has become aware of a growing proliferation of counterfeit automobile parts since U.S. customs officials intercepted more than 300 counterfeit airbags manufactured by Guangzhou Global Auto parts bearing the logos of Honda, BMW, Lexus, and Audi in 2010.
According to independent research firm Frost and Sullivan, automobile suppliers lost $45 billion worldwide in 2011 due to airbag counterfeiting. U.S. officials have identified China and several other Asian countries as the main sources of counterfeit airbags that do not perform to the standards of OEM replacement parts.
Although federal U.S. officials have increased efforts to prevent counterfeit airbags from entering the country, Zeldin said the practice has become so pervasive that the parts can be purchased online at wholesale rates through websites such as Amazon and eBay.
“Only 7/1,000s of a second can mean the difference between life and death. We need to take proactive action to protect New York consumers and their most precious cargo—their families,” Zeldin said. “Any legitimate body or repair shop that accesses airbags through these sources clearly understands that this is not original factory equipment and is doing so with the intention to deceive the consumer. In the most abusive cases, dishonest shop owners will purchase these cheap airbags, but charge the customer or insurance company the full cost of a manufacturer's airbag and pocket the difference. Such actions demonstrate blatant disregard for the safety of their customers.”
The Counterfeit Airbag Prevention Act has been sent to the New York Governor for consideration.