How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 27297
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Joshua is online now

I have received a number of text messages asking for a

This answer was rated:

Hi, I have received a number of text messages asking for a horses tack to returned to the original owner even though I paid for it. I have now been sent an SMS with a solicitors letter attached asking for it.
Assistant: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The original owner is somewhere in the Cambridgeshire area.
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None.
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just that the original text messages have been quite hostile. I have recently returned to work after a lengthy illness and I have found it all quite stressful.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years experience.

  1. I am sorry to read of the above. May I clarify who you bought the tack from? Did you buy it from the original owner who is now asking for it back or another party?
  2. In any event do you have a receipt or some other form of bill of sale (invoice etc?) evidencing your purchase?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Joshua. Thank you for your response. The tack was given to me with the loan of the horse from the same owner (she is an ex-friend of mine). The horse, unfortunately passed away in 2015 and in 2018 sent me a number of hostile SMSs demanding the tack be returned. I don't have a receipt / invoice / bill of sale as payment of £200 was agreed verbally as she was saving up funds to buy a field shelter for another horse that she owned. I have a a list of bank transactions proving that I transferred a total of £635 pounds to her over a number of months during 2015 alone. Did you receive the solicitors letter that I received as an SMS attachment today?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I attached the letter received by SMS

Thank you. You mention you can show a number of bank transactions. Presumably some of those payments were payments made under the horse loan agreement? Can you point to a specific £200 bank transfer to her which presumably took place at a later date to any fees paid under the horse loan agreement?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, yes a payment of exactly £200 was made on 25th September 2015. I thought I was being kind and friendly by gifting all that money. There is no mention of the loan of the horse or that it was payment for the tack. Also, I paid for the transport of the horse and I went to collect the tack personally in my car. Aberdeen to Cambridgeshire is long way and also cost me a lot of money in petrol.
  1. Thank you. Finally - does the lady have your address? I note your address does not appear on the solicitors letter.
  2. How much would you guestimate the tack is worth in its current condition?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, she does not have my address or landline phone number. Just my mobile number. I would guess that the tack is worth around £200 but, I am definitely no expert.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, the solicitor letter is not signed, is that normal? This ex-friend of mine is the type of person to be bullish and pursue this to the "enth" degree within or without the defines of the law so, I just need to know where I stand, please. Thank you so much for your help. I have moved to a new house since I last had contact with this person and I would prefer her not to have my current address.

There are a number of oddities with regards ***** ***** solicitors letter. First of all, solicitors letters are not usually delivered by SMS but that can be explained on the basis that it is the only point of contact she has for you. However, I also note that not only is the letter not signed as you say, there is no reference on the letter which indicates that the matter has not been opened as a formal client matter. In addition, I note that the owners address if that is what it is, appears in the top left-hand corner. I'm wondering whether the owner has some form of association with the firm - perhaps she works or knows somebody that does - and has either taken it upon herself to type a letter on the headed paper or someone is doing her a favour in doing so in the hope that it will intimidate you.

In any event, regardless of the provenance of the solicitors letter,given that she does not have your address, there is nothing she can do to pursue you for either the return of the tack or its value because to do that she would need your address. She could of course employ a tracing agent but there would be a fee and given the value of the tack if you are right, it would simply not be financially economical. Unless you disclose your contact details to her therefore, it is my view in practice that she has no real respect of a claim for lack of your address.

However, the above notwithstanding, from what you say, you actually paid for the tack and this being the case, belongs to you not her. The obvious weakness of course is that you do not have any form of receipt or bill of sale for the transaction but you do have evidence of the bank transfer which would need to be explained by the lady in the event of any claim in the courts.

I therefore suspect the most appropriate approach in the circumstances would be for you to consider a response by return text message reminding her that you have course paid for the tack on 25/09/15 and it belongs to you and you have no intention of sending her your property and at the same time asking her to cease and desist further contact by text message as you consider it to be harassment and will if necessary make a report to the police if the unwanted contact continues. You could end by saying that if she believes she has a claim, that she is free to pursue the matter through the courts which action you will vigourously defend and claim costs against her.

Obviously you may need to abbreviate some of the above if sending by text message! keep a copy of the message you send in the very unlikely event of any further action is taken by the lady. Most modern smartphones have the ability to block SMS messages from unwanted numbers - if yours has this function this may be a practical step to prevent further contact.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your help, Joshua. I fear that she will pursue this matter whatever but, I will heed your advice carefully and will now go and do the rating.

Thank you. You can't stop her issuing proceedings but she will have to find out your address first which is likely to cost her almost as much as the value of the tack, unless she can track you down using public records like phone book etc.

If she does you dont have a bad argument despite your lack of receipt. You have a clear bank transaction - she would have to explain that and that it fell presumably at or a little after the time of the horses death. You also have had the tack for several years following the death of your (her) horse and she is only raising the matter now. It would come down to who the judge believes if it went to court but the above evidence is reasonably persuasive taken together if not conclusive.