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ATIEL Statement on Counterfeiting and Fraudulent Lubricants

ATIEL and its members have received several enquiries regarding fraudulent lubricants or fake lubricants in the marketplace.  Fraud in the market through the selling of fraudulent lubricants is unacceptable.

Although occurrences of fraud are rare, this statement is intended to provide some guidance to support lubricant marketers affected by this type of fraud and to try to aid recognition of fraudulent oils and indicate what action can be taken to prevent it.Examples of selling fraudulent lubricants in the market include:

1) Counterfeiting lubricants by third parties such as:

  • the use of counterfeit packaging to contain the lubricant
  • re-packaging of an oil, including used oil, into the original packaging

2) Fraudulent lubricants such as:

  • the use of unapproved base oils for approved formulations
  • reduction or even removal/omission of additives required to meet the performance requirements

ATIEL supports measures for preventing fraudulent lubricants being sold in the market, which are the responsibility of the lubricant marketer to implement.  Such measures include, but are not limited to:

  • packaging, batch numbers, bar codes, QR codes, scanning of codes with a link to the oil marketers website to confirm the oil is genuine.
  • use of inert tracers within the additive systems and the base oils used to make the formulation as well as within the marketed lubricant.  These tracers can be detected in samples of the oil to confirm if it is genuine.

ATIEL works with its partners within the industry and has implemented a scheme for sampling oils from the market and analysing them for compliance against the requirements of the ACEA Oil Sequences.

An additional benefit of this analysis is identification of any tested oils from the market that are potentially fraudulent.  Photographs of the packaging are also taken which may indicate to the oil marketer if it is counterfeit. If such a case is suspected, the marketer will be informed to allow further investigation.

ATIEL is committed to improving the quality of lubricants sold in the market and the ATIEL Code of Practice, together with other industry codes and specifications, drives quality lubricant development as part of the European Engine Lubricants’ Quality Management System(EELQMS).  More information on the ATIEL Code of Practice and the EELQMS can be found at: