Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Who is A2C2? What does A2C2 do?
A:The Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council, also known as A2C2, is a collaboration of North American automakers working to identify and stop the proliferation of counterfeit automotive parts in the North American market.
Q:How large is the problem of counterfeit automotive parts in North America?
A:Using recent data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the estimated financial impact of counterfeit auto parts entering the U.S. exceeds $1 billion for A2C2 members.
Q:Is the problem of counterfeit auto parts growing? If so, why?
A:A2C2 believes the counterfeit auto parts problem has been growing for several years. U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show the number of intellectual property rights seizures of all types rose from 14,841 in 2009 to 27,599 in 2019, an increase of 86 percent, while the domestic value of those seizures jumped from $260.7 million to $1.56 billion, an increase of 497 percent.
American consumers also continue to increase their online shopping. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports e-commerce accounted for $149.7 billion in 2009—just 4.0 percent of all U.S. retail sales—but by 2019 online sales had quadrupled to $595.9 billion, good for 10.9 percent of retail sales. Aided further by the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has accounted for 14.0 percent of all retail through Q3-2020.
Those growing sales, combined with the ease with which sellers can gain entry to online marketplaces, the ability of counterfeiters to conceal their activities on these sites, and consumers’ general lack of awareness that some auto parts sold online are counterfeit, are key factors in the growing counterfeit auto parts problem.
Q:Are there particular parts or types of parts that are more prone to counterfeiting?
A:Any and all parts are at risk of counterfeiting. See our Infographic for more details.
Q:Is A2C2 working with e-commerce platforms to combat counterfeit goods?
A:Please see A2C2’s white paper—"The Online Sale of Counterfeit Automotive Parts" —for details on how A2C2 is engaging with e-commerce platforms.
Q:How can consumers feel confident they are not buying counterfeits?
A:Unfortunately, many counterfeit parts closely resemble genuine parts, often making it difficult for consumers to spot them. The best approach is to know and trust the source of the parts or the repair shop that is providing them.
Q:What can repair and collision shops do to reduce the risk of buying and/or receiving and using counterfeit automotive parts?
A:Much like consumers, repairers (mechanical and collision) can employ common-sense research measures when evaluating suppliers and procuring replacement parts. It is most important for shops to know and trust the source of their parts and utilize reputable supply chains.
Q:Who should be contacted if it is suspected that a counterfeit part may have been purchased?
A:Anyone suspecting a counterfeit part should contact the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center or the brand protection department for that automaker, as found in the Members section of our website.
Q:Has there been an increase in U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizures of counterfeit automotive parts and accessories?
A:Like the statistics cited in Question #3 above, seizures of counterfeit automotive parts and accessories have increased significantly over the last several years.
Q:Is A2C2 active in the investigation and prosecution of counterfeiters?
A:A2C2 members routinely collaborate with law enforcement, providing support to investigators and prosecutors. Details on a number of recent cases can be found in the Press Releases section of our Resources page.
Q:What is A2C2’s position on the SHOP SAFE Act?
A:A2C2’s position on the SHOP SAFE Act is detailed here.
Q:What is A2C2’s position on the January 2020 U.S. Department of Homeland Security report?
A:A2C2’s position on the January 2020 U.S. Department of Homeland Security report is detailed here.
Q:What are some other emerging and existing issues that contribute to the growing counterfeit problem?
A:There are several other issues that pose a challenge for those fighting counterfeits, including:
Drop Shippers:The growing use of drop-ship facilities by third-party sellers to hide both their identities and the source of the goods being distributed has coincided with the explosion in the use of e-commerce marketplaces. Drop shippers, much like e-commerce platforms, should be accountable for what passes through their facilities.
The Proliferation of Social Media Marketplaces and Apps:As part of the growth and evolution of e-commerce, social media marketplaces connect unsuspecting consumers to counterfeiters across the world, and are even more challenging to monitor, particularly with the prevalence of private groups on those platforms.
The Increase in False Reviews:False reviews are becoming more prevalent given the ability of sellers to connect with individuals and offer them free products or other benefits for posting positive reviews.
Advances in 3-D Printing and Similar Technology:Advances in design and manufacturing technology make it easier to replicate part types, exacerbating counterfeit production.
Data Privacy Laws:New laws are creating hurdles and restricting the ability of e-commerce platforms to share counterfeiters’ information with rights holders.