ASA Slams Electric Shock Dog Training Collar Advert

An advert for an electric dog collar that uses shock treatment to teach pets not to bark should have made it clear the product was illegal in Wales, the ASA has ruled.

One shopper complained that the product page for The-Sleeping-Giant on the Amazon UK website incited consumers to break the law because it did not mention that it was a criminal offence to use an electronic collar on dogs in Wales under the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations 2010.

In its response, The-Sleeping-Giant explained that the advert was not targeted at consumers living in Wales, made no reference to Wales and did not suggest that it was legal to use the product in Wales.

The company said Amazon was an international sales platform and it sold its products to customers worldwide. It believed it was for the consumer to ascertain whether or not a product was legal to purchase or use within their own country.

The company added that although the use of electric shock collars was illegal in Wales, the law did not prevent the manufacture, sale or purchase of the collars in that country.

In its assessment the ASA noted that the ad was not specifically aimed at customers in Wales although they could purchase the product via Amazon.

The complaint was upheld, however, and the ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form. Future ads for the product must prominently stated that it was illegal to use the product in Wales.

"We understood that The-Sleeping-Giant believed it was the customer's responsibility to ensure that the product could be used legally in their own country but we disagreed," the ASA ruling stated.

"We considered that customers in Wales may not have known that the product was illegal for them to use in Wales and that the ad should have made this clear. Because it did not, we considered that it was misleading and could unwittingly incite customers in Wales to break the law."