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Mina Counsel
Mina Counsel, Barrister
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Experience:  Barrister
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We had already fully paid for a puppy but the breeder did

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We had already fully paid for a puppy but the breeder did not release the puppy to us on collection day. We got an email less than 24 hours prior to agreed collection date/time that the puppy had an ear infection. We said we were fine taking the puppy with ear infection but still came home empty handed. We drove more than 10 hours and had out of pocket costs for hotel, food etc. To meet the breeder for collection. But breeder was very inflexible and didn't want to compromise.
JA: What state are you in? And is a local attorney or other consumer protection advocate helping with this?
Customer: We are in Scotland. The breeder is in England. We do not have any consumer protection advocate helping us.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Nothing yet. I am not sure if we have any rights considering we had already paid for the puppy in full.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I also want to know if we can file small claims for all the expenses we incurred because of the short notice the breeder gave us.

Hello, welcome to Just Answer! My name is ***** ***** I am a London based practising barrister with over 15 years experience. I am happy to assist you today. I may need to ask you some questions in order to determine your legal position and I will provide you with an email advice on the same day. Thank you.

There will be an automatic generated phone call offer should you wish to speak to me directly for a fixed fee with no time limit.

(Please note this is NOT always an instant chat service therefore I may not be able to reply immediately. Rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will get back to you the same day. / within 24 hours if it's outside office hours.)

I am so sorry to hear about your experiences. Under the english law, you are entitled to claim for all your direct losses as a result of the breach of contract by the other party, which will include your wasted expenses.

So what else are you ideally hoping to achieve in the circumstances? Do you still want the puppy or a full refund?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
we want the puppy. The breeder is wanting us to go back to her home in Frome, Somerset in about 2 weeks time when the puppy's ear infection treatment is over. I told her this is not possible because my husband's medical condition is greatly aggravated by long drives (Multiple Sclerosis) and unnecessary travel puts him at more risk to Covid exposure. We had already planned out the collection and she canceled without giving us enough time. We were already in England when she emailed about the ear infection.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I asked if she could meet us half way at least in a train station or airport because I don't drive. So not possible to go to her home in Frome where there are rarely any public transport. But she is so inflexible!

What I suggest you do is if she fails to be flexible due to her previous breach you will consider issuing a claim against her for the wasted expenditure. Hopefully she will re-consider the matter and try to meet you half way.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
She refuses even to meet at a train station or airport for the collection of the puppy. But there is no other option for me because i don't drive. And my husband can't do another long drive as it is physically painful for him. What are my rights? We already paid for the puppy in full.

If you have no other ways to collect the puppy, you remaining option will be to give up the puppy and asks for a full refund plus compensation for your loss.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
The price was £1900. £450 unrefundable deposit + £1450 balance 1 week prior collection
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
we will lose the deposit? Or can we claim it back?

She will have to refund you the deposit because she was in breach from the outset.

You need to write a letter, set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court. This is called a pre-action protocol letter of claim. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy. You must give 14 days warning before going to Court.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n1-claim-form-cpr-part-7 and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value, you would need representation for trial.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for using Just Answer and for allowing me to assist you with your legal enquiry. Please do not hesitate to come back to me for further advice on this or any other legal matter. It will be my pleasure to be able to assist you again.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Ok, even if it was in writing that the deposit is "unrefundable" and i agreed to it?

Yes. Because she breached the agreement first. She can't legally take deposit, call it non-refundable and then breach the contract.

It will only be non-refundable if you decided to not buy the puppy because of your own reasons.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Alright that makes sense. Thank you

You are welcome. Take care.

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