French garages must offer second-hand parts
Garage owners must now offer customers the option of using second-hand parts to repair certain vehicle defects.
The used parts must come from one of 1,700 approved end-of-life vehicle centres or have been reconditioned in accordance with specifications established by the manufacturers, marketed under the name “standard exchange”.
Spare parts that can be exchanged – and that will cost between 30% and 50% less than new replacements – include removable bodywork, interior trim and upholstery components, unbonded glazing, optical parts and certain mechanical or electronic parts.
Consumer watchdog UFC-Que Choisir said last year that liberalising the second-hand parts market would increase consumer purchasing power by €415million a year.
The rule came in on April 1 but the message does not seem to have got through to all garages.
Quentin Joly, of France Casse, which matches requests from individuals and garage owners for second-hand parts with scrap yards selling them, said: “We had a strong demand before April 1 with around 1,500 parts a day sold through the site, and demand has remained at that level after April 1.
“It could be that garages have not yet started to implement the change, or that car owners are reluctant to use second-hand parts. There isn’t the same car culture here in France as elsewhere, although it is changing, especially as new parts are getting so expensive.
“I expect there will be more demand from garages after there have been a few inspections.”
Not all parts can be reused under the law. For safety reasons, faulty running gear, and steering or braking components are among those that must always be replaced with new products.
Where used parts are available, the garage must inform the customer and obtain their agreement. Customers are free to accept or not.
If the repairer cannot provide second-hand spare parts, he must indicate legitimate reasons why, in writing.
This is the case when they are not available within a period compatible with the off-road time of the vehicle mentioned in the estimate.