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Shops can now attach photos to online CAPA parts complaints

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Get a dud CAPA-certified aftermarket part? You can now submit a photo of the offender through a revised online complaint form, the Certified Automotive Parts Association announced Tuesday.

The ability to upload photos with complaints was something that’d been in demand by the market, according to CAPA.

“CAPA continually monitors the quality of parts certified to the CAPA standard and is pro-active in soliciting industry feedback through the Quality Complaint Program. This is an important tool for investigating certified parts which do not meet customer expectations,” CAPA operations director Deborah Klouser said in a statement. “We encourage repair shops and all other stakeholders to report any complaints about CAPA Certified parts to CAPA.”

Shops occasionally post to social media images of annotated side-by-side comparisons of OEM and aftermarket parts to show peers flaws in the latter. It’d probably speed a CAPA investigation and make it harder to dismiss complaints if such glaring photographic evidence is involved.

“In addition to purchasing the complaint part, the Validator purchases a car company service part from the market,” CAPA describes its investigative process. “Both parts are fit on an undamaged vehicle and assessed for their overall fit and finish quality. If no defects are found, a CAPA VTF Technician will contact the complainant to attempt to clarify the noted defects and discuss the VTF outcome. A letter will be sent to the complainant advising them of the VTF outcome.

“… Once the VTF is complete—regardless of outcome—a full report with digital photographs is provided to the Participant via a secure website. If defects are found, a joint investigation between the Validator and Participant will be initiated in order to determine the root cause of the defect(s).

“Potential results of the investigation include decertification of the part or part lot, a corrective action request (CAR), or no action when the reported nonconformity was not substantiated by the investigation. CAPA reserves the right to decertify the lot number or the part number immediately, prior to investigation.”

For those who’ve never submitted a complaint to CAPA, the process is twofold.

First, submit the complaint online, via fax/mail or by calling 1-800-505-CAPA.

Then, if you return the part to the distributor (and why wouldn’t you?), print this form out and affix it to the part so it isn’t destroyed before CAPA can investigate. The distributor can be reimbursed by the part manufacturer if the part is decertified.

“Please submit the CAPA Quality Complaint form within 24 hours of returning the part to your distributor,” CAPA wrote on its complaints webpage. “Submitting the complaint in a timely manner will help to ensure that the part is not destroyed by the distributor and can be obtained for further quality testing.”

BodyShop Business in 2009 reported that a California Autobody Association survey found 49 percent of respondents reporting that only a quarter of CAPA parts seemed equivalent to the OEM.

More broadly, the magazine’s 2017 industry profile survey found 57 percent of all certified aftermarket parts had an acceptable fit, compared to 23 percent of uncertified parts. CAPA isn’t the only certifying entity, though it considers itself the toughest, in part because of its transparency. 26 percent of aftermarket parts fail its VTF B test the first time, according to the organization, and many aftermarket parts aren’t certified by anyone, CAPA Executive Director Jack Gillis told a Morning Call columnist in 2015.

More information:

“CAPA Releases New Online Complaint Form”

Certified Automotive Parts Association, Sept. 19, 2017

CAPA complaints page

Featured image: The Certified Automotive Parts Association booth stands at NACE 2016. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)

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