How to recognise and avoid counterfeit bearings
Vishal Premlall, National Director of the Tyres Equipment Parts Association (TEPA)

With an estimated 30% of all bearings globally being labelled counterfeit, consumers have their work cut out for them when it comes to ensuring that the parts they are buying are genuine, or at least matching quality parts.

Shawn Reddy, Product marketing manager for Motus Aftermarket Parts notes that South Africa and the rest of Africa are facing a significant challenge of excessive counterfeit automotive parts. As the continent moves to avail more consumer independence he says there is reduced guidance, inspection, and control of products being dispatched to the market and the influx of counterfeit automotive parts is compromising both the safety of vehicle owners and passengers.

Lynette Nieuwenhuizen, SKF Regional Sales Manager of Western and Northern Cape agrees saying when it comes to bearings specifically it is absolutely key that customers ONLY buy their required brands through Authorized Distributors.  Niewenhuizen, who has been a brand protection champion at SKF for the last two years, says from an industry perspective distribution partners are closely monitored to ensure they are compliant and “clean suppliers”.  She says this gives the consumer peace of mind they are not procuring counterfeit product and it’s a way that their distributors can also protect themselves. “We offer our customers free Brand Protection Audits to check product in their warehouses and give them tips to know exactly how to look out for signs that should create alarm bells as in a “it’s too good to be true” scenario,” she says.

It is also suggested, customers download the SKF Authenticate App and make use of it when procuring the SKF product. “In this way they safeguard themselves and  also have the peace of mind that their supplier is providing genuine product.”  She says the problem with these fake parts is the fact that you cannot spot them by simply looking at the product or the packaging.

 A significant number of customers are uninformed and buy counterfeit parts without the knowledge that these would be branded and designed similarly to the original parts.

She says customers should follow the warning signs:

  • The offer is presented as a bargain.
  • Short delivery times for special products.
  • Product authenticity certificates and other documentation where the seller claims a business affiliation with SKF.

“And the golden rule if you suspect a product to be counterfeit, is to always check the authenticity via SKF Authenticate app if you are not buying from an accredited distributor.”

Vishall Premlall, national director of the Tyre Equipment, Parts Association, a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), urges consumers to also report any cases of counterfeit products. TEPA recently hosted a Blow the Whistle Compliance Forum for all industry stakeholders and are actively calling out this type of behaviour. 

“Consumers need to be suspicious about what they buy and should never be afraid to approach the supplier directly to check authentication or to report the product on the Whistleblower hotline. Remember if you have been scammed with parts purchases and suffered some consequence, it is key to report it.  The more examples we have and the more we can share our knowledge and experiences with others,  the harder we will make it for these unscrupulous suppliers to ply their trade,” he concludes.