Launch UK is warning the automotive industry of the dangers of purchasing from some internet diagnostic tool sellers.
On eBay alone, the company has found at least 50 sellers claiming to be genuine diagnostic sellers, but list inaccurate company information such as a UK base and fraudulent vat numbers.
The Launch investigation also raised a number of complex issues and found that products were not necessarily counterfeit but were of a lower specification, inferior quality and masquerading as ‘genuine’ products. The providers offered no support, updates or traceability to customers and fell foul of tax legislation.
“The rise of spurious internet sellers is damaging the reputation of the automotive industry and also the hard-working diagnostic tool providers,” says Dave Richards, Launch Tech UK managing director. “If somebody purchases a diagnostic tool over the internet, they must be aware of the product’s origin as support for the tool is essential. Price is a key factor and garages are being targeted by these spurious sellers, who cannot provide any support for the product they are selling.
“What’s more, it casts a stain on the character and reputation of genuine diagnostic companies in the UK, who are criticised for not being able to provide support for a product that they didn’t sell, have no knowledge about, but that features their brand.”
Launch has notified the authorities of its investigation and is also advising customers through its social media channels. It is also reaching out to other diagnostic companies to collaborate on this worrying trend, as Richards believes more garages will resort to sourcing more diagnostic tools online during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We fully support the IAAF’s wider activities on counterfeit parts,” says Richards. “Garages must be sure of who they are buying their parts from online and diagnostics is no exception.”