Counterfeit Honda Airbags Mislabeled as “Plastic Boards”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to Ontario International Airport (ONT) express air cargo operations in Ontario, California in coordination with import specialists assigned to the Automotive & Aerospace Center of Excellence (AA Center) seized eight counterfeit Honda airbags arriving in two express packages from China.
On September 12, CBP officers discovered the airbags while conducting an enforcement examination of the express packages. AA Center import specialists confirmed that the airbags were in violation of the Honda protected trademark. If genuine, the seized airbags would have an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4,856.
“Protecting the health and safety of the American consumer is a top priority for CBP,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Counterfeit airbags pose American motorists in extreme danger, they can fail to deploy or even hurt passengers during a collision.”
Airbag fraud occurs after a vehicle is involved in a wreck and the original airbags are replaced. Consumers buying airbags from non-legitimate sources online may encounter counterfeit versions sold at what appears to be a deep discount.
“Airbags are essential car safety features and we know counterfeit devices are a major invisible threat already associated with fatalities in the United States,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said. “As a safety agency, NHTSA takes these cases extremely seriously and we applaud CBP’s efforts to intercept dangerous products before they get into circulation. NHTSA values its partnership with CBP and this work is literally saving lives.”
“CBP commits substantial resources to detect, intercept and seize illicit goods arriving in the express package environment,” said Donald R. Kusser, CBP Port Director overseeing ONT international operations. “Counterfeiters are constantly attempting to take advantage of consumers by disguising their illicit goods as legitimate shipments.”
CBP focuses on priority trade issues such as intellectual property rights and health and safety, in order to protect consumers from harmful products.
CBP established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness and consciousness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at fakegoodsrealdangers.
If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov/referral or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.
NHTSA’s mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement. The agency advises that the following consumers that may be at risk of owning a counterfeit air bag:
- Consumers who have had air bags replaced at a repair shop that is not a new car dealer franchised to perform the repair
- Consumers who have purchased a used car that may have sustained an air bag deployment before their purchase
- Consumers who own a car with a salvage title
- Consumers who have purchased replacement airbags from eBay or other non-certified sources—especially if they were purchased at unusually low prices (i.e. less than $400)
Concerned consumers should contact their local certified automotive franchised dealer to have their vehicle inspected and visit nhtsa.gov/equipment/air-bags for more information.