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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46776
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a breeder and sold a quality 3/4 Irish Draught mare 2

Customer Question

I am a breeder and sold a quality 3/4 Irish Draught mare 2 weeks ago at a very reasonable price. The mare was vetted for the buyer and passed with flying colours. At her new home she has allegedly developed head-shaking (possibly due to stress at her new home - or to rape) and the buyer is demanding to return her and full refund. The mare had never shown ANY symptoms of head-shaking - or any oher neurological disease.
If I tak her back, I would of course have to reveal the condition to any new purchaser - even if she shows no symptoms here and t would make it impossible to get a reasonable price. Head-shaking is normally relatively easily managed and the mare could still do her job.
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. What would you specifically want to know about this please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ben, I thought I'd made that obvious! Under the Trade of Goods Act (as a breeder, I would be seen as a 'dealer') could this mare be judged 'unfit for purpose. Should I take her back and refund the purchase price? As I understand it, a condition that develops AFTER sale is the buyer's problem. (She didn't tell me at the time that head-shaking is very common in her area - even if she had, I wouldn't have anticipated a problem with the horse concerned. I bred her - I bred half-a-dozen full siblings and NONE of them have had problems, although we have rape right on our boundary.Janet George
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This doesn't seem to be working.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've got to go and do some work! Will check later.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Sorry I was in a meeting by the time you had replied. Also as you did not ask a question in your initial post that is why I was checking what you actually wanted to know about this. Anyway, there is no such thing as the Trade of Goods Act, it is the Sale of Goods Act 1979, in fact the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which is the current legislation. However, the rights are more or less the same and a buyer does have a right to expect that an item they purchase is of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If a horse is shaking its head that does not automatically make it unfit for purpose. It really depends on what the purpose of the purchase was. Does the head shaking actually make her unfit to do what she was intended to do on purchase? These are the questions a court would ask. Whist simplistically viewed a problem after purchase is generally the buyer's problem, with living things you have to consider whether this was a trait which was present before purchase but just was not displayed at the time. A useful rule is that if an issue appears within the first 6 months after purchase, the law assumes that they did not meet the statutory requirements at the time of sale. If the retailer disagrees, it is for them to prove that this was not the case. However, if the fault occurs more than 6 months after purchase, it would be down to the consumer to prove that they did not meet the statutory requirements set out above at the time of sale. So in the circumstances if this goes to court it is for you to prove that this was not an issue present at time of purchase. So whether you take her back for a refund really is up to you - are you confident that if this goes to court you will be able t satisfy the court that the head shaking did not prevent the horse from doing anything she was purchased to do or that you can show the head shaking was not present before purchase? Even if you do refund her, and then have to sell again you do not need to declare the head shaking unless you do not mislead the new buyer or if specifically asked about it do not hide that fact. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the legal position you will face if a claim is made against you, 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
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46776
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm still not much clearer. I am confident I can PROVE she was not a head-shaker - nor did I have any reason to suspect she might become one. I have been an expert witness in two cases against dealers - one for the seller and one for the buyer - and we won both - but they were much clearer issues than this.IF I take her back and she shows no signs of head-shaking here, I would still have to reveal the risk to a prospective buyer - and drop the price accordingly. Would very much like more specific advice.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. As mentioned the issues here are twofold – did you sell a horse which was a head shaker before the sale, and even if it was not, does the fact it has become a head shaker make it not fit for purpose. If a claim is made against you because you have refused to take it back and issue a refund, then as it is done within the first 6 months after purchase it would be for you to prove that the horse was as described and fit for purpose. You may be able to prove that it was not a head shaker before but must also be able to satisfy the court that being a head shaker does not make it unfit for purpose. That is when you have to consider what the purpose of the purchase was – head shaking might be just a bad trait, something annoying which the horse does but does not affect the way it is ridden or how it performs then. So this is what you need to consider when trying to show that it is still fit for purpose, even if it was a head shaker. You cannot be forced to take it back and issue a refund, but if you do not then you face the risk of a potential claim and once that is made the above principles will apply. If you happen to lose then you may be asked to take the horse back and pay a refund, plus pay he claim fees, which should not be more than a few hundred at most. Also considering the claim is kept below £10,000, this will go to the small claims court and you will not be responsible for the other side’s legal costs, such as lawyers’ fees.

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