Last night the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s Marketplace program aired a segment on pet safety. It was an excellent profile on why the efforts of Center for Pet Safety are needed. We’re working to bring truth-in-marketing to the pet products industry – but we have a long way to go.
What last night’s segment didn’t show was my angry rant about a manufacturer who is using egregious marketing to dupe the consumer – using a video showing one of our test dogs. When I witnessed the CBC test of the Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness it made me angry – so here’s the rest of the story.
In early 2014, Solvit contacted Center for Pet Safety to license our test dogs for use in due diligence testing. Something we applaud. At CPS we work hard to make time for manufacturers and share our equipment and fixturing with them. Unfortunately, on this round, the manufacturer let us down.
Solvit tested their new harness product over a series of days – using only the 3-point connection. Never once did he test this product using a single point connection – something I mentioned over and over that he needed to do. Eventually, on the last day of testing, I was so frustrated with this manufacturer that I opted out of attending. He was going to do this his way.
When CBC presented the Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness for testing, the producer, the engineers and I reviewed the enclosed instructions. What I read was disturbing. The manufacturer states that the “safest” connection for their product was a single point connection – not the 3 point connection he had tested earlier. To make matters worse, the 3 point connection attachment was “sold separately” and not included with the harness. The engineers advised the producer to test using the “safest” method.
At the point of impact, I watched in horror as the “crash tested” harness shredded off of the dog. Unfortunately, now consumers who have bought into the marketing hype surrounding this product – are at risk. This product failed testing and the manufacturer should offer a refund to each and every customer who bought this harness product. But….he likely won’t. He has your money – you have bought into his marketing hype.
Below, I have included the due diligence test video, paid for by the manufacturer, of the harness tested ONLY with the 3-point connection. If you look closely, you will see a band that goes around the soft underbelly of the dog – a design I also voiced concern about. This is the same video used by the manufacturer to tout Crash Protection Claims on his website.
Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness – Size Large – Manufacturer Test
Now…watch the Marketplace Episode:
This goes to show that manufacturers can abuse the goodwill of the Center for Pet Safety. Had we had funding, I would have tested this product once it was released to market – and you would have been forewarned – and could have put your hard earned money toward a product that would offer real crash protection. In the future, we will be managing manufacturers a bit differently – and our tone will change toward them as well.
So the next time a manufacturer or retailer tells you “it’s Crash Tested” or has “Passed Crash Testing” – spit in their eye and go to our website – do your homework – BEFORE you buy into the marketing hype.
Lindsey (Founder, Center for Pet Safety)
Center for Pet Safety is a 501(c)(3) research and consumer advocacy organization. Our work is funded by donations.