From Elliott: “I noticed that State Farm is being sued for forcing their customers to use generic parts when they bring their car in to be serviced. Do you have any thoughts on this matter? I noticed that Nader, et al., are backing the Insurance Companies on this one.”

And rightly so. Ralph may be a Big Fat Idiot when it comes to personal-injury auto insurance, as I’ve argued at length elsewhere, but he’s very much on target if this is indeed his position on replacement parts. Generics are usually a better buy when it comes to many consumer items — it’s just wiser shopping. So if State Farm — a mutual company with no rich shareholders who profit from screwing consumers — thinks it’s in the interest of its customer/owners to hold down costs by specifying generics, it probably is. (All the parts, as I understand it, have to meet quality tests.) Otherwise, you give GM, etc., a monopoly — only GM can sell genuine GM parts — and monopolies are not consumer friendly.

If there’s a demand for a policy that would cover “only parts from the original manufacturer,” insurers should offer it (some already may), and consumers who want to pay the extra cost should be free to choose it.

Ah, the rush. I get so excited writing about auto insurance. Tomorrow, back to less exciting topics.



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