Riders with Point Two air jackets say they have been left confused after the company and its former supplier issued conflicting statements on how to service the garments.
Point Two started selling air jackets made by the French company Helite in 2009.
But last autumn, Point Two brought production in-house and now makes its own jacket, which has a different triggering and canister system.
The new canister and airbag system has been fully CE certified — a European Union requirement for personal protective equipment.
Julian Westaway of Point Two told H&H it was “just as safe as earlier versions of the Point Two air jackets”.
But Treehouse, formerly the largest retail outlet for Point Two jackets, has opted to distribute Helite’s version.
Charlie Morris of Treehouse told H&H he “preferred the Helite triggering system and screw-in canister, rather than Point Two’s ‘bayonet’ canister”.
Confusion arose from an advert taken out by Helite in H&H, which stated that owners of one of the 30,000 “original” airbag jackets with a Helite label must have it serviced and maintained by Treehouse or Helite engineers — “otherwise you will invalidate your CE certification”.
Point Two’s Julian Westaway insisted this was not the case.
“Should anyone other than a Point Two engineer attempt to service our vests, it will negate any liability and warranty by Point Two,” he told H&H.
“We have serviced the jackets for four years and the lifetime warranty is with us,” added director Lee Middleton.
Both companies recommend an annual service (at a cost of around £27). H&H readers say they are now confused as to which company to contact.
“Both seem to be saying they’d invalidate warranties and safety regulations, so not sure where to go now,” wrote one forum user.
Another said the argument “left a sour taste in the mouth — this is people’s safety at stake here”.
H&H went back to both Helite and Point Two. Each maintains that they should service the jackets, leaving something of a grey area.
Claire Williams of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) said if readers were worried, they should examine their warranty and then contact whoever sold the item.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (28 February 2013)