£4bn Spent on horse tack in the UK and nothing guaranteed. Exactly What does your local tack shop guarantee?
According to the National Equestrian Survey (NES) commissioned by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), UK horse owners and riders spend around £4 billion per year on horse riding equipment and activities.
The survey shows that there are 1.35 million horses in Britain, which are looked after by 720,000 private owners and professional establishments. It also states that around 2.1 million people ride at least once a month, with a further 2.2 million doing so during the last year.
That’s a total of 4.3 million riders, riding 1.35 million horses and spending £4,000,000,000 pounds on horses, horse riding, horse tack, feed, bedding and equipment.
Equestrian activity is the second largest economic activity in the British countryside.
Which made me ask … Who does offer a full guarantee on horse tack and riding equipment?
Well, I called various UK tack suppliers including Robinsons, R&R Country, Ingatestone Saddlery, Fal Pro, Ride-Away, Matchmakers International and quite a few others.
I visited the websites of online tack shops including Derby House*, the Saddlery Shop, Tackanory, Eileen Douglas Tack Shops** and all the above, plus other horse rug and horse tack sellers, and the short answer appears to be… NO-ONE.
In a full day of calling and searching I couldn’t find one horse tack website or one horse rug or tack manufacturer that provided a genuine full guarantee on the products they sell… NOT ONE.
When buying horse tack online in the UK, Distance Selling Regulations apply (DSR’s).
These regulations are the law and all business traders have to comply with them. They also have to tell you, the consumer, about them before you buy and enter into a contract with the trader.
I find it amazing that some online tack shops can get away with blatantly flouting this law, by completely ignoring their legal requirements. Check out what the UK Office of Fair Trading advises in their publication; A short guide for business on distance selling.
Consumer Protection – (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (DSRs) extract
- 3.23 Where the DSRs give consumers the right to cancel an order, this right is unconditional and begins from the moment the contract is concluded. Unlike when buying from a shop, the first time that a consumer will typically have an opportunity to examine goods purchased by distance means is when they receive them. The DSRs give consumers who buy by distance means more rights than consumers who shop in person. When a distance consumer cancels a contract to which the cancellation provisions apply they are entitled to a refund of any money they have paid in relation to the contract even if the goods are not defective in any way.
- 3.46 As soon as possible after the consumer cancels, and in any case within 30 days at the latest. You must refund the consumers money even if you have not yet collected the goods or had them returned to you by the consumer. You cannot insist on the goods being received by you before you make a refund.
- 3.48 The DSRs require you to refund any money paid by or on behalf of the consumer in relation to the contract to the person who made the payment. This means the full price of the goods, or deposit or prepayment made, including the cost of delivery. The essence of distance selling is that consumers buy from home and receive goods at home. In these circumstances, almost every case of home shopping will involve delivery of the goods ordered and so delivery forms an essential part of the contract
If large well established tack shops give no guarantee on horse tack, and some even fail to comply with consumer protection regulations then you’re probably just as well buying from private sellers on ebay. At least then you know exactly were you stand.
The R&R Country Tack Shop, online Terms & Conditions State
No Claim Can Be Considered … WOW!R&R Country
Damaged or Undelivered Goods Please check the condition of your parcel on delivery prior to signing for acceptance. In the event that goods are missing or damaged on arrival please specify against your signature and inform us within 3 working days, otherwise no claim can be considered.
Returned Goods A full refund (less postage and packing) will be provided on any item returned to us in the original packaging, unsoiled, within 14 days, for any reason. Alternatively the goods may be exchanged. Refunds or exchanges cannot be made before we receive the returned goods. If an item is being returned due to it being faulty – R&R Country will refund the postage costs incurred for returning the item – up to the value of £5.00. Please be aware of this when returning items. Returns made after 14 days or soiled goods will not be eligible for refund or exchange.
**Eileen Douglas Tack Shops Terms and Conditions states….
Not a product guarantee by any stretch of the imagination.
What do I do if an item fails once it’s been used? All goods supplied by Eileen Douglas Tack Shops are from official sources within the UK and are covered by the normal manufacturers warranty. If you feel that an item has failed prematurely, please advise us.
*Derby House were called twice
Once on 0800 048 0114 and once on 0800 048 0113.
I held on for five minutes each time and got no answer. However the Derby house Terms & Conditions do include the following. Although I was unable to find out what the single asterisk refers to.
Certain products are guaranteed for 12 months with a manufacturers guarantee, valid from the date of receipt and providing they are used in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations (fair wear and tear). If you have any questions regarding the guarantee, please ask your Derby House sales consultant when making your order. In the event of any dispute or uncertainty about the validity of the item for replacement or refund under the guarantee, Derby House reserve the right to return the item to the manufacturer for their own assessment and feedback. Please allow up to 30 days for an exchange or refund in such instances. This is an addition to your statutory rights. If you have any further questions, please contact Derby House.
In accordance with manufacturers recommendations can mean a lot of things.
Particularly, when you’ve never seen those recommendations, don’t know who the manufacturer is (ie. is it a company in China or India or the another importer or Derby House themselves), or whether there actually are any guidelines published by the manufacturer or even if the manufacturer offers a guarantee.
In early September 2014, I and some of my equine friends found a Bridleway Equestrian brochure dropped through our letterbox.
So, has anything changed with the latest horse tack seller? Do they offer any better guarantee than the well established tack shops?
Firstly, there was absolutely nothing detailed in the sales catalogue; no guarantee information at all.
A resounding NO! from Bridleway Equestrian. No Guarantee on Horse Tack and no mention of Distance Selling Regulations.
I then naturally checked the Bridleway Terms & Conditions on the website;
- A search for the word ‘Guarantee’ found nothing
- A search for ‘Returns’ found …
“Goods ordered and subsequently returned will not be accepted unless by prior arrangement. Under such circumstances we reserve the right to deduct a handling charge from the value of goods. Size charts are provided for rugs. We ask that you pay particular attention to these charts as they are there for your benefit. Using these charts may eliminate the need for you to unnecessarily return goods.“
I then followed the order process, which displayed nothing new. No Guarantee details and only a link back to the same Terms & conditions page viewed previously.
In my previous post, “No Guarantee on Masta Horse Rugs”
Matchmakers International, (Masta product manufacturers), told me they provide no manufacturers warranty or any form of guarantee to the consumer.
With them, I simply asked if the manufacturer or tack shop selling the goods could point me to the details of the guarantee they provide for the products they manufacture and/or sell to horse owners; and I did the same with the other horse tack suppliers we contacted.
Some of the answers we got included …
- Oh! I don’t know you’d have to talk to the boss about that and he’s not available.
- Sorry, you don’t have a guarantee with us your sales contract is with …
- Well that’s difficult, horses are hard work and they roll!
- Jane, he wants to know about our guarantee, do we have one?
- Well you know the material is waterproof when it’s made but when they stitch it, it leaves holes. But you can buy proofing things!
- We pass on the manudacturers guarantee. So I asked, "Do all the manufacturers you use provide a guarantee?" … The answer “Hmmm, I’d have to get back to you on that“
How it Should Be Done …Compare the above with U.S. tack shop Dover Saddlery, who proudly display a ‘Satisfaction Guarantee‘ link in their site navigation, which when clicked says simply…
Dover’s Customer Satisfaction Guarantee
Dover Saddlery is proud to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our products. We stand behind the quality of our products, and should you not be satisfied with your purchase, simply return it and we will refund, replace or exchange it for you. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed – Your Money Back Any Time, for Any Reason
WOW!! We stand behind the quality of our products… Could you ask for anything more?
Don’t you think injecting £4 billion into the UK economy means UK horse owners deserve products that are guaranteed to do the job equestrian manufacturers and retailers say they will?
Shouldn’t you, the UK horse owner, ask one simple question every time you buy horse tack … What guarantee do YOU THE RETAILER give with this product?