Fake and salvaged air bags put New Yorkers lives at risk
10/23/2015Drivers urged to take precautions to avoid auto crash injuries
NEW YORK, N.Y., October 21, 2015 — Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s recent crackdown on uncertified auto airbags is a good reminder that drivers should protect themselves from dishonest auto repair shops that cut corners on replacing airbags.
The New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud praised the attorney general for stoping a Binghamton, N.Y. repair shop after it had sold possibly hundreds of untested airbags.
The flood of unsafe knockoff airbags places drivers and passengers at risk of severe injury during auto crashes. Tens of thousands of unsafe airbags are believed to be in circulation across the U.S. In fact, several injuries and deaths have been attributed to knockoff airbags.
Dishonest body shops have pulled good airbags from crashed cars to make it seem like the bag deployed during the accident. The mechanic then inserted a cheap knockoff bag after the insurer finished the estimate for replacing the original airbag.
Or worse, mechanics have stuffed old rags or cardboard into the empty airbag compartment. The body shop billed the insurer full price for "replacing" the bag — up to $2,000 or more — even though the original was long gone.
Auto owners are encouraged to protect themselves by:
An airbag is a vital safety device that can mean the difference between life and death. Consumers need to know their rights in dealing with repair shops. Have a complaint? Contact the DMV Vehicle Safety Consumer Services Section at 1-518-474-8943 or download a complaint form.
NYAAIF is an alliance of 104 insurance companies in New York. NYAAIF was created in 1999 to educate consumers about the cost of insurance fraud and help consumers avoid becoming victims. For more information, visit www.fraudny.org.