One of the easiest ways to get ripped off in the automotive world is by having a body shop use cheap, third-party auto body parts on your car repair. Like all auto parts, body parts have a tremendous markup, and if you don’t know what you are doing, it can be easy to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous repair centers. Insisting on using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts will secure that your repair job comes off perfectly, and you wind up with a vehicle that is “as good as new.”
Unfortunately, fender-benders and accidents can happen, and at these times car owners can become understandably flustered and confused. The entire process of dealing with insurance companies, filing police reports, and seeking estimates from body shops can be a bit overwhelming. It’s not surprising then, that many people just want to put the entire experience behind them, and they rush through the process of having their auto repaired.
But this can be a big mistake in several ways. For example, unless you specify the type of parts you would like to use on your repair, and are prepared to oversee the repair to make sure it is to your satisfaction, many body shops will use cheap, third world quality replacement auto body parts, lowering the value of your vehicle.
Why would a body shop knowingly do this? As usual, the answer comes down to money. If your insurance company reimburses the auto shop $2000 for the job, and they can buy a cheap “knock off” auto body parts for one third the cost of standard quality parts, this results in a great deal of profit to the body shop!
But while this may be wonderful for the body shop’s bottom line, it is terrible for the car owner. You can easily wind up with substandard auto body parts on your car, or even parts that do not fit perfectly.
Of course, the best way to avoid all this is to use OEM car parts. You never have to concern yourself about either the quality or the fit of your auto body parts if you insist upon OEM. And if a body shop mechanic should attempt to talk you out of using OEM body parts, you should be very skeptical. The odds are, they are simply trying to lower their expenses in order to increase profits. Don’t fall for it!
Other times, body shop mechanics will ensure you that they only use OEM body parts, but you still need to be diligent and examine the final work. Unfortunately, somebody shops will claim to use only OEM parts, but in reality they are substituting cheaper “knock offs” that wind up on your car. Besides being unethical and disreputable, this is also illegal and it is called fraud. If you discover a body shop misrepresenting the parts they are selling you, it is recommended that you contact both the police and the Better Business Bureau.
In general though, most body shops will gladly use OEM parts when requested. If you have any doubt about the reputation of the body shop, be sure to also get it in writing. That way you will have documentation if it should be needed to prove fraud or other wrongdoing in the future.