Dangerous and Defective Product: Counterfeit Airbags
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Dangerous and Defective Product: Counterfeit Airbags

Monday, August 05, 2013By ALG

By Richard Alexander

Criminals are selling knock-off airbags as replacement parts to unsuspecting consumers, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Officials have been successful at intercepting some large shipments, but this incredibly dangerous scam has become so pervasive that scores of the unreliable airbags are still making their way to the U.S., usually from foreign countries.

NHTSA warns that consumers who may have bought their cars during the last three years for after-crash repairs, other than those by a new car dealership, should contact car manufacturer call centers to arrange for an airbag inspection. Small or independent shops are more likely to order the counterfeit bags from online markets than dealerships that generally purchase replacement parts directly from manufacturers.

Consumers who have purchased airbags themselves at online markets such as eBay or Amazon are also highly vulnerable to buying counterfeit air safety bags. The government agency says that safety bags priced under $400 are a red flag.

While the reach of these non-certified airbags is relatively low at just 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet, that still amounts to tens of thousands of vehicles.

The NHTSA warning should be taken seriously. The inexpensive knockoffs look just like manufacturer-approved equipment, even bearing the insignia and label of car makers, but they are dangerously defective.

They may be worthless in a crash or even explode shrapnel upon impact.

What is even more disturbing is that the placement of these bags leaves them hidden from the consumer until after the crash when it is too late.

Dozens of makes and models have been identified as having counterfeit airbags on foreign and black markets, including Audi, BMW, Volvo, Honda. The full, shocking list of affected brands and years can be found on the NHTSA’s website.

Airbags are one of the most integral safety innovations in automobiles. After a crash, proper replacement of the equipment is critical to protecting drivers and passengers. An airbag can mean the difference between life and severe injuries or death, all in a matter of one-tenth of a second.

If you have had bags installed by anyone other than a new car dealership, contact your car makers call center immediately.

Alexander Law Group, LLP is a nationally recognized, award-winning personal injury law firm with offices in San Jose and San Francisco, California. The attorneys of the Alexander Law Group have decades of experience with outstanding results litigating difficult and complex cases against major insurance companies, large corporations, public and government entities. Call us now at (888) 777.1776 for a Free Case Evaluation.

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