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Is that dog collar worth $30k?

Garmin dog tracking devices can't be sold in NZ as they operate on an illegal frequency.

22 February 2021

Members have a lot of responsiblities when listing radiocommunications devices on Trade Me - we suggest if you want to list them, you become familiar with our guide

Some dog-tracking devices are illegal to sell or operate in New Zealand because they work on the same radio frequencies as equipment frequently used by people travelling and working in rural areas.

In 2014 Radio Spectrum Management successfully prosecuted Trade Me member Conrad Adams for selling imported dog-tracking radio electronic devices.

These devices are illegal to use as they operate on frequency bands that have already been allocated for other official uses.

We’ve touched on this before, but dog-tracking devices like Garmin Astro collars and their parts are a no-go on Trade Me. Garmin Astro collars are the chief offenders but other makes and models are also restricted:

  • Garmin Astro 220 system
  • Garmin Astro 320 system
  • Garmin DC 20 collar
  • Garmin DC 30 collar
  • Garmin DC 40 collar
  • SportDOG TEK equipment
  • and other devices.

For more info on why these items are restricted on Trade Me, check out this blog post. Compliance with radio-spectrum management is important.

The frequencies allocated are relied on by a multitude of people working and travelling in rural areas like emergency services, logging and transportation firms, farms, NZ rail and those working in forested areas.

The use of Garmin Astro collars and similar devices creates a very real risk. At one end of the spectrum (couldn’t help myself), the interference can be a nuisance to those relying on the frequency.

At the other end, it can fully disrupt emergency communications operating in the area.

To ensure awareness that this prohibition includes all the component parts of the devices, the Prohibited Equipment – Dog Tracking Devices Notice has been amended to include parts used with these kinds of items. This includes collars, batteries and pouches. If these items are listed, they’ll be removed from the site.

It is fine to sell other kinds of Garmin gear not associated with the Dog Tracking Devices, such as fish finders, GPS plotters and GPS navigation systems.

Adams was fined a whopping $30k for importing and selling these devices.

While this may be steep, it highlights the importance of compliance with the regulations.

In this case, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) have shown a serious commitment to prosecuting those who ignore the regulations. MBIE have indicated they will continue to pursue people importing similar equipment in the future.

Before you buy equipment of this sort, be sure to check whether the device may be imported and is acceptable for use in New Zealand. Importing, selling and using illegal devices may result in a fine or prosecution. If you are uncertain, please contact RSM for information.

If you are about to list, or thinking about listing Garmin Astro collars or similar items, it’s important that you are aware of the regulations. If you want to know more about radio spectrum management, check out this site.

MBIE’s Radio Spectrum Management team can be contacted to discuss dog tracking collars and other prohibited equipment on 0508 RSM INFO (0508 776 463) or by email at

Creative Commons image used courtesy reneeviehmann on Flickr.