Product review at centre of clash.
Two girth manufacturers have entered into a settlement agreement following a dispute over an online product review.
CJ Proline ApS, designer and manufacturer of the Scharf Freedom Girth, had objected to a video published by WOW Saddles that assessed different girths available to purchase.
The video was published on YouTube and the WOW website and later reposted to various Facebook pages.
In the video, David Kempsell, managing director of First Thought Equine Ltd, manufacturer and designer of WOW saddles and girths, compared various girths (including his own) using a pressure testing method.
CJ Proline ApS objected to the content of the video as it considers the Scharf Freedom Girth to be incomparable to other girths on the market, particularly when using the pressure testing method used in the video.
Scharf also objected to the fact that the product’s instruction guide had not been consulted and that the girth had not been fitted properly during the testing.
For these reasons, Scharf did not consider the study to be a fair indication of the Scharf Freedom Girth’s performance.
Scharf and The Centre Line, UK distributor of the Scharf Freedom Girth, approached Rebecca Stojak, the head of Geldards Solicitors’ Equine Law Team, to advise and represent them in their dispute with WOW Saddles.
Geldards’ Equine Law Team instructed Oliver Nunn, a barrister with KCH Garden Square, who together with Rebecca Stojak and Jon Butler, a Partner in Geldards Commercial Dispute Resolution Team, negotiated a settlement between the two parties.
Apology and statement
WOW Saddles apologised for any omission and pledged to ensure it contacted the manufacturer of any products prior to undertaking future tests.
As part of the settlement, WOW published the following statement:
On 30 July 2021, WOW published a video in which Mr Kempsell and WOW undertook an assessment of different girths available to purchase on the open market.
Whilst we stand by the results of the testing undertaken, we have since been made aware by CJ Proline ApS, the manufacturer of the Scharf Freedom Girth (‘Scharf’), that they consider the Scharf Freedom Girth to be incomparable to other girths on the market, particularly when using the pressure testing method used in the study, and without the use of the Scharf Freedom Girth’s user manual/instruction guide. Scharf do not consider, therefore, the study to be a fair indication of the Scharf Freedom Girth’s performance.
Specifically, Scharf purport the girth was not fitted properly in the testing. We apologise for any omission and will ensure that in the future we contact the manufacturer of any products prior to undertaking similar tests to ensure they are content the products are being tested as per manufacturer specification.
Our intention was to produce a fair comparison of girths on the market. It is important, therefore, to make you aware of Scharf’s position in respect of the testing undertaken in the video, and specifically the alleged performance of the Scharf Freedom Girth. A settlement has also now been entered into between ourselves and Scharf in respect of the dispute about the video.
“Reputation is important”
“Reputation is important to any business, and especially so in a competitive market like equestrian saddlery products,” said Rebecca Stojak.
“We are pleased that we have been able to help our client uphold their excellent reputation for offering quality, innovative technical equine saddlery products of the highest quality which improve the horse’s comfort and performance.”
Oliver Nunn added: “I am very pleased to have been of assistance in advising Scharf and The Centre Line in connection with their dispute with WOW Saddles.
“An excellent resolution has been achieved on behalf of our client which protects their commercial interests, securing a published apology from WOW Saddles for their omission.”
ETN approached WOW Saddles for comment.