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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Hope you can help me. I bought a cat through a pet website

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Hello, hope you can help me. I bought a cat through a pet website online. The advert was for a neutered, female adult cat and the cost was £300.When I enquired about the cat before buying, I was told that the cat had not actually been neutered, the lady wanted to make sure that the cat would not be sold to someone who would breed from the cat. I asked the lady if she could (as per the advert) have the cat neutered before we adopted her. She agreed.I also asked many questions as the cat was supposed to be a pet for my daughter (7 years old) who is severely autistic and also physically disabled. She has poor balance and needs splints/special footwear to enable her to walk. She needs a wheelchair outside etc..I also told the lady that we would not be able to let the cat into the bedrooms at night for safety reasons. My daughter is in a high sided, padded, secure bed as she thrashes around at night and for her own safety to stop her roaming (she has little concept of danger). She also sleeps very lightly.The lady told me that they left all doors open at night and that the cat slept on their beds sometimes. This concerned me but the lady assured me that this cat would be fine on her own at night and would be okay being in the conservatory.After a lot of questions I agreed to go ahead and adopt the cat.as I feared, the cat was very distressed at being shut away at night and clawed the door all night causing a lot of stress and loss of sleep. The cat also started to weave around my daughters legs and caused her to have a nasty fall.After that, my daughter would not go near the cat and cried if she came near.I realised it was not going to work and contacted the lady telling her what had happened. I offered to re home the cat but she said she would prefer to take the cat back and reimburse me (she did not say how much but assumed she would give me what I had paid). We agreed to meet half way.. When we met, she took the cat out of my carrier and put her into her own carrier and into her car. She then told me that she would only be reimbursing me £150 as she had bought her children christmas presents (bikes) and had lost money that day (cancelled appointments, freelance work) by coming to meet me. Had she mentioned this prior to meeting, I would have suggested a day when she was not working. She had just told me that she was working in the morning and would meet me after which I was led to believe is exactly what we had done.She also said that she had lost money as she had to neuter the cat ( I reminded her that she had advertised the cat as being neutered for £300. She went on to say, she had just had to fill her car with diesel, that she would now have to buy a litter tray.i could accept that she might keep the £50 deposit but to only offer half back seems very unfair.Where do I stand here?Many thanks
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I am in the UK. I have not spoken to a lawyer.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have tried to work it out with the person involved but they are not responding
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I think thats everything, thanks

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

What are you ideally hoping to achieve in the circumstances, please?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Hello, I hope that I could at least be reimbursed for the money I paid minus the deposit.

Thank you. The issue here is that as a private sale, your rights are rather limited and the legal principle of ‘buyer beware’ applies, where you are expected to satisfy yourself that you are happy with the purchase before proceeding with it. The seller will not be liable for any issues which may occur after sale as the risk passes over to you after you purchase it. You will only be able to pursue the seller if they clearly misrepresented the cat, i.e saying it was black when it was white, that it had no injuries, when it came with 3 legs, or that it was of mild character when in fact it was clearly highly charged.

 

The issue in your case is that a lot of it can be attributed to the stress of the move, as cats are territorial animals and get distressed when their trusted environment gets changed. No one can help that or predict how bad it would be and you cannot blame the seller for it – it is just part and parcel of buying living animals. Similarly, you cannot realistically say that she lied to you about how the cat would behave if shut out because again, we are talking about a living thing, with its own brain and capable of making its decisions in that respect so no matter what the seller said, I can never be a guarantee.

 

On that basis, they unlikely would owe you a refund and it is a case of taking what is on offer or selling the cat on yourself to someone else to recoup these costs.

 

I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for but it is the legal position and I hope that it at least clarifies where you stand?

 

 

 

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can simply reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’ and I won’t bother you again. Thank you

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you Ben, yes that does answer my question. Best wishes Susan

All the best

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