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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48157
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I sold a horse to a horse dealer. She wants to send it back.

Customer Question

I sold a horse to a horse dealer. She wants to send it back . I said I am not a horse professional. the horse has not been in regular work for months. I have not ridden her for several months as I came off a different horse and I am awaiting back surgery . I explained the horse has had a front leg break which happened with the previous owner. I told her to get in touch with the old owner and gave her the opportunity to not buy the horse. The buyer sent a horse transporter and bought the horse without seeing her . I confirmed the horse was okay months ago but could not state her condition now. I sold her for £500
The buyer wants to send her back because the horse is now lame
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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long ago did you sell the horse and how long after the sale has the buyer contacted you to return the horse?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I sold the 13 days ago. The buyer said she wanted to return the horse after 6 days
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you in a short while. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your patience. For legal purposes a horse is classified as an item. When a person buys an item from a private seller, their rights will be somewhat limited and will not be as extensive as if they had bought it from a dealer (i.e. A business seller)

In general, there is no legal requirement for the item to be of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose. Therefore, the buyer will only have rights in the following situations:
• If the item did not match the description given, whether in the advert or any subsequent discussions. This would amount to breach of contract or misrepresentation
• If the seller broke a specific contractual term – e.g. if they fail to do something they specifically agreed to, for example, provide treatment or documents before the purchase
• If the seller was actually a dealer posing as a private seller - this is an unfair commercial practice and can even be a criminal offence

So if you had described the horse correctly and highlighted any potential issues with it and did not make any representations that turned out to be untrue, there is very little the buyer can do. Horses are living creatures, things can happen to the, that makes them turn lame and that does not mean that it is the seller’s fault. Therefore, unless the buyer can satisfy the requirements above and show that you had in some way misdescribed the horse’s condition, they cannot do much to return it.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of what could happen if they decide to take this further, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your information Ben.The buyer has said that I confirmed the horse as sound. The horse was fine when she left but I am not an expert and said the buyer should speak to the previous owner before making a decision. the buyer did speak to the previous owner and decided to proceed.The buyer has sent a message saying she has had a vet confirm that the horse is 60% lame and not rideable. She also states that she has now spoken to the vet of the previous owner who has told her all of the problems with the horse. This was not disclosed to me when I purchased the horse.The previous owner has forwarded questions to the buyer which I asked her after I purchased, querying the leg injury and the horses back being stiff. the buyer states this shows I know the horse is lame. I have said that I did not know the horse was lame but was trying to find out information. Am I in the wrong? should I take the horse back?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, the main issue for you here would be if you had described the horse as sound, when it was not. That would be an incorrect description, even if you believed it to be true. So it comes down to whether at the time of sale the horse was lame as they are claiming, or if that is something which only became apparent after the sale. Also in these situations the legal principle of ‘buyer beware’ is important – this means that the purchaser of goods must take care to ensure that they are free from defects of quality, fitness, or title. In other words, all the risk is borne by the purchaser and not by the seller. If the goods turn out to be defective, the purchaser has no remedy against the seller. However, the rule does not apply if the purchaser is unable to examine the goods, for instance if the defects are not evident from a reasonable examination. In this case the seller did not see the horse before purchase but was given the opportunity to do so and they should have availed of that. So you can still refuse to accept the return of the horse and see where they take this. If they go as far as court you can reconsider your decision and even if you do not change your mind and defend the claim and lose – you will not be too much out of pocket as you will not be liable for their legal costs.