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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48209
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I am a hobby cat breeder and recently sold a kitten, which

Resolved Question:

I am a hobby cat breeder and recently sold a kitten, which is sold with 4 weeks free insurance cover, in good heath (100% cleared by vet 24hrs before going to new home) and a contract stating (signed by both parties) which contains the clauses that allows the new owner to return within 48 hrs if unhappy and another clause stating that the new owner is satisfied the animal is in good health at time of purchase.
I have since received a demand for compensation for vet fees after the kitten became ill, with the new owner stating it was ill when she bought it, however the new owner never sought veterinarian advice until 11 days after purchase and also appears to have made a claim against the insurance she was provided (note: this would not be considered by the insurance company for pre-existing conditions).
I’d like to know if she has a case and I need to seek further legal advice ?
Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When did you sell the kitten?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I sold it on the 4th March 16 and first contacted about it on the 15th March 16
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Okay thank you leave it with me please I will reply fully later this afternoon thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks for your patience. Even as a hobby breeder you will be considered a business trader and be subject to certain consumer regulations. The main of these is the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which states that any goods bought from a business seller (a kitten will be treated as goods here), must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If it is not, then the buyer has certain remedies, including rejecting the goods within the first 30 days and asking for a refund or asking for a repair (in this case treatment) or replacement. The last two can be sought even after the initial 30 days.It could be argued that if the kitten became ill it was not of satisfactory quality. If the issues arose in the first 6 months after purchase it is assumed they were present at the time of sale and it is for you to prove that this was not the case. You may do so by getting the opinion of a qualified vet who can comment on whether the specific issues the kitten experienced were due to a condition present at time of sale or something that occurred afterwards. So do not accept any liability at this stage and ask for the evidence to see what caused the illness and if needed seek independent professional opinion from a vet to confirm.Also remember that even if you may be liable you cannot be forced to pay anything unless the buyer goes to court and wins. There is no guarantee they will ever make a claim or if they do, that they will win so you can refuse to compensate and see see how far they will take this. If they issue formal warnings of impending court action or make a claim to then you can reconsider your position and whether to try and negotiate some compensation.This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the position you will be in if they were to issue a formal claim, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thanks for your help.
The kitten was checked by my vet 24 hours before she went to her new home and the vet said she was fine at the time. The thing that makes me think it's something that has happened since going into her care is, she has an older cat which sounds as if it is not vaccinated . So it could be possible she caught something from him, especially since her vet didn't see her until 11 days later. Also if the insurance pays out for the vets bills does this not prove it was not pre existing, as they won't pay out unless it's something that has happened since I took the insurance out?
If she does take it further where would I stand on this?
Thanks.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
If the insurance pays out that does not automatically mean anything – it depends on the policy wording, not all policies exclude pre-existing conditions. Also it depends on what they actually found and knew about this – it could be based on wrong or factually incorrect information, so this pay out on its own means nothing legally. Happy to discuss the options if this proceeds further, please remember to leave your rating for the information provided already, ten I can continue, many thanks
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. If the person takes this to court, assuming the amount is for less than £10k, it will go to the small claims court. This is the venue for small disputes and for unrepresented parties so it is a relatively straightforward process. It is not formal and you are not required to have legal representation. It basically allows a judge to decide what and who is right and make a decision which is fair. So you could try your luck and defend an claim that comes in. If you lose then in the small claims court each party pays their own legal costs so if they used a lawyer you will not be responsible for their fees. You will have to reimburse their court costs which will be a few hundred at most, on top of any award the court makes, which will not be higher than what they are claiming. Also if you cannot pay the amount awarded you can ask for periodic instalments to be made to pay this off. So you can either try and settle the matter now or just risk and let her take this court, knowing that there is no guarantee she will ever do that or that she will win if she claims, and try your luck that way.