Tuesday, 17 May 2016 13:14

Executive Director of IABA Conducts Blind Test of Certified & Non-Certified Labels

Tony Passwater, executive director of the Indiana Autobody Association, has had a lengthy association partnership with ECS for a number of years.

Passwater stated, “As an association, we are always looking at products and services that will benefit our members, and this is how I ran across ECS. At a NACE several years ago, I stopped by a booth that caught my eye about label replacements, and met Dave Walden. During the short discussion, many interesting points were made about the difference between certified verses non-certified labels. Having seen the other two providers and listening to how they were ‘just as good,’ I decided to do a completely blind test of all three offerings. I heard the sales pitches from all three, and all three said they were the best. It sounded like what customers hear when they go to a body shop! So I decided to test this.”

Passwater used multiple clients across the United States to order specific VIN Certification Labels, one each from Ford, Chysler and General Motors. Part of the test was to determine if the provider did any due diligence on the information provided for reproduction.

“I was worried about someone photo-shopping a label to do something illegal,” said Passwater. Only one provider caught the issues, ECS. The other two provided labels that could not represent a valid vehicle. Then he tested the appearance of the label compared to the original. Only ECS produced labels exactly like the original ones … the other two had wrong sizes, no logos when present, and not the same paper. This was so evident with the Ford labels, said Passwater.

And finally he tested the bar codes. He said ECS was the only one that actually scanned as designed. The other two did not. The test results were released to the industry, and even though it was very clear labels produced by other than ECS were inferior in every test area, some industry representatives discounted the results.

“I was at a loss, as if I was in cahoots with ECS in some way,” said Passwater. “I attend a great number of national events including CIC, and when we get into a discussion about aftermarket parts and how they do not fit or replicate the OEM parts, I see no difference with this as well … cheap labels are just knock-offs of the originals and nowhere close to what I have seen with what ECS produces.”

The original test results are available online at http://www.aeii.net/Downloads/Reports/VinLabelsComparisons-2010.pdf.