Online Retailer AutoAnything Pays $1 Million Fine for Selling Illegal, Polluting Aftermarket Parts in California

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) today announced that AZAA Investments, Inc., formerly known as AutoAnything, Inc., paid $1 million to resolve violations of the California Health and Safety Code and Vehicle Code related to the sale of illegal aftermarket performance auto parts in California.

“Although the former AutoAnything, Inc. was a retailer, everyone in the chain of commerce – that is manufacturers, distributors, dealers, installers, and retailers – has an important responsibility to ensure that all aftermarket products they offer for sale have first been exempted by CARB,” said CARB Enforcement Chief Todd Sax. “This settlement is a reminder of the serious consequences for ignoring this responsibility.”

CARB investigators discovered that AutoAnything, a major online retailer, advertised and sold performance parts that modified emissions components, ultimately committing approximately 4,000 violations between 2012 and 2015.

California law prohibits the advertising, sale, distribution, and delivery of parts that alter emissions control systems of vehicles unless these parts have first been exempted by CARB and are proven not to increase smog-forming emissions. These laws apply to all manufacturers, distributors, dealers, installers, and retailers, even if they do not manufacture the products themselves, or are located outside of California.

Illegal parts sold by the former AutoAnything, Inc. included engine programmers, air intake systems and catalytic converters that were not approved by CARB for use on highway vehicles. These parts can reduce fuel economy and increase emissions.

Modified vehicles that no longer meet California’s emissions requirements pose a significant health threat to California residents, says CARB.  They create higher amounts of smog-forming pollutants, which can worsen respiratory problems and negatively impact other health conditions.

In addition, vehicles modified with illegal aftermarket parts will fail the smog check program, and the owner will be required to restore the vehicle to its original certified configuration before the vehicle can pass smog check and the owner can renew the vehicle’s registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

California law does allow marketing and sale of an aftermarket performance part after an evaluation by CARB to ensure the part does not raise emissions.  Once CARB approves the part, it is granted an executive order that allows the sale and installation of the part on pollution-controlled vehicles.

State law also requires manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to take steps to ensure that consumers understand the legality of parts offered for sale and to discourage illegal modifications to vehicles.

AZAA Investments, Inc. paid $1,006,250 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund which supports air pollution research and education. In addition, during the settlement process, AutoAnything was sold along with its online retail platform to a new owner.

Along with the financial penalties imposed by the settlement, AZAA Investment Inc. is subject to a permanent injunction barring the sales of automotive parts and must notify CARB prior to resuming any related business activity.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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