Warning of poorly made Chinese imitation carbon shafts


Warning of poorly made Chinese imitation carbon shafts
March 24th 2006

It came to our attention that some cheap, poorly manufactured Chinese carbon shafts came onto the Australian market. We wish to bring to your attention important information about these poor quality arrows so that you understand the problems associated with selling poor quality products which can become dangerous when shot, without giving any warning to the shooter and we highlight below two cases where the archer has been injured, not through any fault of the archer, but because the arrow is not of an acceptable quality. Being the largest importer and wholesaler of archery equipment into Australia and New Zealand, we thought it was our duty to report this serious matter to you. We cannot overemphasise the seriousness of the situation as these arrows could be dangerous to use whether the archer is experienced or a novice. We believe that these arrows :

  • do not go through any quality control
  • are not tested for performance and durability
  • are unspined ( that is, the thickness or wall of the shaft is not consistent throughout the length of the shaft, resulting in the arrow coming under enormous pressure when the kinetic energy is released upon the arrow being shot)

These two unsolicited comments were received over the last two weeks in our Brisbane store:

1) Last week, a visitor from Victoria was on holidays in Queensland and he dropped into our Brisbane store to browse. He said that in September 2005, he bought some Chinese carbon arrows from another store and after only a couple of shots, the arrow broke on release and split into two pieces, one piece completely penetrating the hand of the archer. This accident occured over six months ago, but the injuries were so severe that his hand is still swollen despite extensive physiotherapy. The visitor made the comment that he will never use any other carbon arrow other than Easton or Beman, as these companies spend millions on testing and safety and make the correct spined arrows for archers, unlike the Chinese or Taiwanese arrows that are brought in and sold to unsuspecting dealers and customers. He said that the Chinese arrows are not spined and he doubts if there has been any testing done in regards to the safety of the arrow.

2) Another customer called into our Brisbane store this week and advised that he had bought some Chinese carbon arrows and a similar incident occured, except with this archer, his arrow broke on release, resulting in a severe injury to his thumb. He stated that he will never buy a cheap imitation carbon arrow again and bought some Easton carbon arrows because he said they were safe to shoot. He added that many of his friends have bought these cheap arrows and have experienced similar problems with them and have now discarded them and gone back to Easton or Beman carbon arrows.

Every year we attend the archery trade show in the USA and assess new products and while there, attend various seminars on archery. We can see new products first hand and test them as to performance and to check out their specifications. Invariably these newcomers do not pass our test and are not considered suitable for our Australian market. Easton was established in 1922 and their original arrow was made from wood. This company has a proud reputation of producing quality arrows, shafts and components that only come to the market after rigorous testing in their laboratories and then performance and durability testing by respected and renowned archers. Easton are very conscious of their high standing in the market and year after year introduce quality products. We have always been attracted to Easton products because of their quality and the fact that these arrows are successfully used by both Olympic archers and the every day archer.

Abbey Archery carries Public Liability insurance of AUD20,000,000 (Twenty million Australian dollars) for any occurence as well as Product Liability insurance of AUD20,000,000 (Twenty million Australian dollars). In addition, it is necessary under US Federal law for our US manufacturer, Easton Technical Products, Inc (part of the recently merged Easton/Bell Sports, LLC. group with annual sales of US $600 million) to carry Product Liability insurance. I am unaware of the Product Liability insurance of the manufacturer of the Chinese arrows, but it would be very difficult to join the Chinese arrow manufacturer into any insurance claim made by an Australian consumer as we understand Australia does not have a bi-lateral insurance agreement with China. Incidentally, the same situation applies with aluminium arrows made in China - insurance cover is unable to join the Chinese arrow manufacturer into any litigation mounted by an Australian consumer.

Unfortunately the quality of this cheap Chinese shaft is very poor and has resulted in quite serious injuries to archers. We have been made aware of these two instances and we think it is a timely warning to our customers, as we live in very litigious times; the nature of our businesses is selling sporting products to consumers - not taking up our valuable time in defending poor quality products involving us in expensive court cases where adverse publicity is the only thing we walk away with.

We are aware that some dealers are purchasing cheap Chinese arrows and are probably purchasing these products instead of the US made Easton and Beman arrows, because they are attracted to their lower price. You should always check to see if the arrow you are purchasing is one of these Chinese or Taiwanese manufactured carbon arrows and you should question the quality of these arrows and ask the dealer if the importer of these arrows and the overseas manufacturer have adequate Product Liability insurance to cover any likely claims. In the event of the product being proved to have not been quality tested, there is a real likelihood of the Australian insurance company not honouring the insurance claim of the consumer and the consumer relying on suing the personal assets of the dealer involved.

To summarise, when there is a mishap with any equipment, there is a propensity for injury and the attendant legal action that ensues. We have taken the unprecedented step of reporting this problem to our customer base and pointing out that we understand the makers of these Chinese shafts do not carry adequate product liability and personal indemnity insurance cover and any dealer who sells these shafts to schools, camps and the like, does so at their own peril as they run the very real risk of being successfully sued for negligence by the consumer and the dealer finding their insurer will walk away from any claim because of the negligence of that dealer. These shafts are still out there, but be warned as it will likely end in a large claim on the dealer and their personal assets if sued, not to mention the adverse publicity to our great sport of archery and to the parties involved.

Abbey Archery strives to sell only quality products and our shafts are no exception. We have issued this warning in order to protect our dealers and our customers from any claims that may ensue.

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