eBay calls on UK insurers & garages to allow used car parts in repairs

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eBay is calling on UK insurers and independent garages to commit to offer consumers the option of purchasing recycled used car parts, rather than just a new one, when their vehicle is being repaired.

Naturally eBay have an interest in this with 1,000s of sellers supplying used car parts on eBay who we’d expect to benefit from the publicity. There are only two hurdles to get over – for some smaller parts sellers, membership of the new certification scheme could be beyond their means and the second is the willingness of your local garage to use used car parts. However consumers might find garages surprisingly willing – my local garage (SP McAuley if you’re looking for a decent garage in Thatcham) has certainly sourced parts on eBay to cut my repair costs.

There are some parts you wouldn’t want used – for instance a 2nd hand clutch plate probably isn’t worth it, but other parts such as refurbished starter motors, alternators and turbos offer great value. For accident repair, a genuine reclaimed body panel will generally be better than a pattern part and way cheaper than a brand new panel from the original manufacturer.

Estimates suggest just 2% of vehicle repairs in the UK use recycled parts – well behind nations including New Zealand, the USA, and Australia. This is despite the fact that most insurance policies allow for the use of reused parts.

eBay estimates that increasing the use of used car parts in the UK by 10% could prevent 390,000 car parts going to landfill, and save nearly 190,000 tonnes in carbon emissions through reducing demand for the manufacture of new materials, each year. Additionally, refurbished parts can cost up to 60% less than new, meaning greater use of recycled components could lead to drastically lower insurance
premiums for policyholders.

A commitment to always offer reused or remanufactured vehicle parts by insurance companies and garages would bring the UK in line with France, where the Government passed a Circular Economy Law in February 2019, in which the use of recycled vehicle parts in repairs is mandatory.

eBay today has launched a sponsorship of a new, independent safety parts standards certification scheme, run by the Vehicle Recyclers’ Association. Vehicle recycling businesses that meet the criteria will benefit from increased exposure on eBay UK. eBay, the largest marketplace for vehicle parts and accessories in the UK, has 1.4 million customers buying recycled vehicle parts each year – with a car part sold, on average, every two seconds.

“Increasing the use of reused car parts in vehicle repairs in the UK would see huge environmental benefits, as well as helping to drastically reduce pressure on premiums. However, the UK lags far behind other countries in the use of recycled parts, which is why insurers and garages should commit to always offer customers the choice when their vehicles are in for repair.

The launch of our new pilot scheme will help provide extra guarantees for the safety and quality of used parts, building on eBay’s position as the biggest marketplace for buying and selling vehicle parts and accessories.”
– Laura Richards, Senior Automotive Business Manager, eBay UK

“We support eBay’s plans to encourage the safe use of recycled car parts.

The scheme supports both the Environment Agency’s commitment to move towards a circular economy and the 95% recycling target set for end of life vehicles. It also enables consumers to make sustainable purchasing decisions.”
– Tania Tucker, Senior Advisor, Environment Agency

“Car parts have become very expensive over the years, and increasingly we’re seeing consumers turning to recycled parts – not only does it make sense financially, but it’s also beneficial for the environment. Since we started selling our stock on eBay 15 years ago, our business has grown exponentially.

We’re absolutely in support of the idea of a certification scheme, as it would give customers the necessary comfort that they are buying from an accredited company. With eBay’s support, we’re hoping more insurers and consumers will start to recognise the advantages of using recycled car parts.”
– Marc Trent, co-owner of vehicle recycling business Charles Trent Limited

4 Responses

  1. can’t see it taking off here, though i wish it would.
    UK mechanics run a racket, they refuse to put brand new parts on your car if you buy them anywhere else except from them. and if you buy from them it’s the exact same item at twice the price.
    definitely don’t mention ebay at all if bringing your own parts, and don’t even hint that they might possibly have been used before.

  2. @Chris Dawson I would consider “refurbished” to be completely different to second hand.

    I have somebody that will supply refurbished alternators and they give a guarantee to the item.

    The big problem with garages fitting second hand parts or customers supplied is what happens if there is a problem? A customer that is not prepared or can not afford to pay for new items is likely to be short on cash. The labour can often be more than the cost of item(s), what happens when it breaks down a week later due to the second hand part breaking, who pays?

    The customer will not be happy and will then tell everybody what a rubbish garage they are.

    Will the customer believe the mechanic when he tells them the part is unlikely to last a week due to how worn it is?

    What is the “certification scheme”, you do not explain it, maybe that would resolve some of the issues.

  3. Some UK insurance companies are already – seen a few cases where 10 year+ cars have been repaired with used parts rather than written off as its a cheaper option.

  4. Ebay have kept their ropey system going for years on used parts.

    Remember that picture of the mop and bucket propped up against their main server?


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