Horse dealer issues! Any solicitors?

Jo-lly

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26 January 2019
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Long story. I returned a horse to a dealer 4 months ago as while a lovely horse she really didn’t enjoy being in an arena environment and I just felt that she preferred hacking and would probably prefer hunting. Said dealer offered to have her back to sell for me. On returning the horse he said he had full insurance etc.

He eventually advertised the horse after 6 weeks and when I raised concern about how long it was taking he offered to only charge me for 5 weeks sales livery which I appreciated. He said that he had an idea to take her hunting as thought it would be good for her and I agreed.

After the above conversation said dealer was ridiculously hard to get hold of and my husband was getting quite frustrated with it all so took over trying to contact the dealer. He eventually got some communication and it came to light he had sent the horse to a hunt yard to try and assist in selling it without my permission!!!. We have not been given the address of where the horse is. He said there was someone there interested and they were having the horse vetted at the beginning of January. We then contacted him to be told the horse has failed the vetting on a tight circle on hard ground. We were asked if we would take a lesser offer because of this. We asked to see the vet certificate it has never been provided. I was asked to send over my 5 stage certificate which the horse passed on purchase in April 2018 which I did. We said we would think about taking less money.

We then had further radio silence and after continual phone calls he eventually picked up his phone in an angry manner telling us to stop hassling him that he had a lot of horses and was too busy to deal with this. He handed over a telephone number of the prospective buyer and told us to communicate with her. We eventually contacted her after having calls and messages ignored. She made an offer £5000’less than we originally paid. We thought about it and with the amount of hassle we have had and the stress of it we decided to accept. She told us payment would be made to our bank account by Friday at 2pm. We have not received payment and we cannot get hold of this woman. Is she fictional? In in a deal with the dealer?

We then contacted the dealer to say we wanted the address of where our horse is being kept immediately or we would have no choice but to get the police involved as we have no idea where she is. The dealer replied saying he thought the horse was sold and didn’t know what the problem was, we said we had received no payment. He said the horse wasn’t stolen and he could pick it up anytime we could collect it from his yard at any point. He said he would contact the lady which he did and apparently has been told she is still interested and we have agreed if no payment is received by Monday evening I can collect the horse on Tuesday. I am reluctant to collect her for a couple of reasons, firstly she has failed a vetting and is possibly lame in his care? Surely with his insurance he should be made To investigate this? And secondly I really don’t want to have the horse back only to cost us more money. He also said in messages that the same vet did the vetting for the potential buyer who did my vetting in April last year is that allowed? It all just sounds like a massive scam to us and we are unsure where we stand. I am
Going to contact a solicitor on Monday but thought I’d see if there were any legal eagles on here. Thank you in advance for any advice or comments given
 

ycbm

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What do you think a solicitor can do for you? I'm not sure what you could sue for. He hasn't sold the horse, but he probably didn't guarantee he would. The horse is coming back, so not stolen. She failed a vet. It happens. Can the same vet do a PPE on the same horse eight months apart?. Yes, no issue, it's only a record of the horse on that day.

If he told you that horse was insured for vet fees while it was with you, I'd be very surprised. It would be very abnormal for a dealer to insure a horse that does not belong to him in this way. If you let your own insurance setup that was a very regrettable mistake.

It's a really awful situation for you, but I don't think there is anything you can do but pick the horse up, sort out the issue that's causing her to be lame only on a tight circle on hard ground (usually foot balance), and send her to a more reputable selling yard, or sell her yourselves.

I hope you get it sorted.
 

be positive

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Not legally qualified but have bought and sold for clients, I also sent one off to sales livery and ended up in a similar situation to you, in my case the dealer had moved yards without telling me, the horse had failed the vet while away on trial, something I knew nothing about until after the event, I used my contacts to find the new yard as calls were ignored and turned up to collect the horse with no warning, paid a part of the livery and told them to sue for the rest, they never tried.

On the matter of insurance, the horse will not be insured for vets bills, only for PL and maybe accidents while there, I don't think you have any grounds to complain on that front, equally other than his failure to communicate he has not done much wrong, he may have been dragging his feet but this is often the case when a dealer is busy with their own, he has now offered a resolution which seems fair, I would collect the horse, get it looked at under your insurance, which you should have kept going until it was sold, then sell it yourself or through another sales livery yard, mine passed the next vetting with no issues.

You have not yet suffered a loss so there is nothing a solicitor can really do, if you don't get the horse or the money that will be a different matter but there is no reason you cannot collect the horse so it is your choice really at this stage.
 

Rowreach

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No honest and reputable dealer would behave like this, and I would not be reducing the price (especially by that much) on the basis of a spurious vet report. Have you spoken to the vet, since you know who it is? Presumably they could tell you where the horse is? I suspect the "buyer" already has it and is having a lovely time hunting it.

I learned the hard way- sent a horse to a supposedly reputable hunting dealer, who told me he'd sold it for £4k. Got the money, and then discovered he'd actually bought it himself, and sold him on the same week for £15k :mad:

Moral is, never let them out of your sight.

In your shoes I'd be picking the horse up asap.
 

alainax

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How livery is he charging you per week? It doesn’t sound like this is going to end amicably, I would be collecting horse and sending to a more reliable sales livery.
 

Shay

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It doesn't read as "no honest or reputable dealer..." just not a very good one. The Vet report is not the dealers to send - it belongs to the buyer. They can choose to share it or not as they wish. The vet can't discuss with the owner - he owes confidentiality to the buyer. The dealer didn't refuse to tell OP where the horse was - she's going to pick it up. Sales livery can be an absolute scam as the dealer sometimes gets more from the livery than they make on the sale. In this case they even got the livery costs without having to keep the horse!

That said - unless you pay a very singificant amount this is what working through a dealer can be like. Pick the horse up, treat it under your insurance then either sell it yourself or choose a well recommended sales livery with a watertight contract.
 

Rowreach

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An honest or reputable dealer would keep the owner informed at all times, and would not pack a horse off to another yard without getting the owner's permission or telling them where it was going.

A buyer who is trying to get a knock down price on the basis of a vet report would be willing to share that report.

The dealer has not said where the horse is, but that he can get the horse back for the owner to collect.

I am sure the vet, given the circumstances, might be willing to tell the owner where the horse is.
 

Pearlsasinger

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The whole thing sounds peculiar to me. This is not how to return a horse to a dealer. If it was a true return, the dealer would have either refunded the purchase price, or a percentage of it or swapped it for a more suitable horse. This arrangement sounds more like sending a horse to the same dealer that you happened to buy it from, on sales livery. Why would you send a horse that was unsuitable for you to the dealer who sold it to you, to sell on?
Get your horse back, investigate the lameness, treat it and go from there, without involving this dealer.
 

Red-1

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I don't think that you would have been entitled to a refund for the horse as there was nothing 'wrong' with it, as far as you have said, other than you didn't think it liked the arena as much as hacking. Whatever you perceive the horse as liking or not, I don't think that it makes the horse unfit for purpose, in the eyes of the law.

So, you decided to use a selling livery of the place that you bought the horse from.

Sending to a hunt yard without your permission was not acceptable, and I would not be paying for that portion of livery. If the horse shows sign of injury from the experience I would look to further seek recompense for that (wire cut etc). For that you would have to go and get the horse.

As for the reduction in value, that is fair. You bought the horse as suitable for a number of purposes, including arena/competition work, yet are marketing and selling now as a hack/hunt. Plus, the reduction also reflects that the horse has been unsound on vetting. The seller does not have to provide a vets cert as it belongs to them, but they could choose to do so to back up their claims. There is nothing suspicious about the original vet re-vetting, in fact as he passed the horse in April I would say that this is a wise move!

I don't blame you for accepting the reduced value for ease of getting out of the situation, but now they have not paid as promised then I would indeed be going back and fetching the horse.

It is quite probable that the money will hit your account before you collect, but I would arrange to collect and bank on doing so.

I would not use this dealer again, and as I said, would not be paying for the portion of livery where the horse was at another yard without your permission.

If the horse is sound to your belief when it returns, I would check shoeing and, it on an alternative selling livery and re-advertise.

ETA - I am not a solicitor.
 

ycbm

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I'm surprised at the other replies? Is everyone else not bothered that the dealer has refused to tell the OP where her horse is, or send them the vet report??
Dealer thought the horse was sold, already at buyer's premises and money on the way to the buyer. Vet certificate belongs to the person who paid the vet, no-one else. Horse's location to pick up on Tuesday has been given.

Yes, there might have been a scam going on regarding how much was actually being paid for the horse. But nobody can prove that, so the only thing to do about it is to let it go, Louis.

What can she sue about?

I don't see she has any option but to collect the horse, sort out why it failed the vet (if it did), and sell it elsewhere.
 

ycbm

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Why would you send a horse that was unsuitable for you to the dealer who sold it to you, to sell on?

Why not? You bought a good horse from them, it just turns out not to be what you want. So you know that the dealer sells good horses and gets a decent price for them. The horse might even have been an agency sale in the first place.
 

ycbm

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What, by telling the legal owner of the horse where he happened to see it?
By giving another person information as to the location of his customer's property? Afraid so, it's personal information gained during the course of his business and he must use it only for the purpose which was declared when it was collected from the customer.
 
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In my opinion your first step should be to get the horse back into your care so you can keep an eye on his welfare. Also 5000 is a big discount to offer without a very good reason. Since you have contact with the vet in question you could ask him to visit the horse to 'check' it for you (if he is close of course). I think that he won't be able to give you the certificate as it is the property of his other customer, but he may well shed some light upon the matter.

I had a similar situation last year when I was offered a very low sum for my horse on the basis of the vet raising issues, the horse did not 'fail' the test because we live abroad and here do not have this concept of 'passing' or 'failing' a test, just the vet reports on the condition and you make a judgement call. It happened to be the same vet that I use and I know him well, so I asked him to come to the horse to meet me. He explained that he is required to inform his client of everything, but that the injury in question was an old and fairly insignificant one which we had not been aware of, and that since he had been the horse's vet for 6 years and had not seen any problems he assumed that the horse was fit for purpose and that it would most likely not re-occur. So it seems that she was just low-balling me on the assumption that I would not check out what the vet had said. I sold the horse 2 weeks later for 4.5 times the offer that this lady made and he was vetted by another vet who I did not know and was declared fit for purpose. There are people who seek to use vetting as a way to reduce prices and it seems that this might be the case with you.

When you have the horse back you can find out what the real situation is. From what you have said the horse is not unsafe for you, just not your ideal horse. This being the case perhaps you could sort out the problem and then use him yourself while you advertise him? In any case once you have him under your care you will at least know that he is in good hands.

Good luck!
 

Rowreach

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By giving another person information as to the location of his customer's property? Afraid so, it's personal information gained during the course of his business and he must use it only for the purpose which was declared when it was collected from the customer.
The horse is NOT his customer's property, it belongs to the OP and has been removed to a different yard without her consent. I expect if it was your horse, you would be on the phone asking anyone who knew your horse's whereabouts, whereabouts it was ...
 

Jo-lly

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Thanks for all responses. Hopefully we will see some funds by tomorrow evening and if not I will collect the horse on Tuesday and make sure I take pictures and videos etc. I had people telling me to call solicitors and I wasn’t sure but this confirms really I don’t have a legal standing. I sent the horse back to the dealer as I felt the horse just needed a different job she was from my point of view a little arena sour, but not a bad horse and he has a broad range of followers and better ability to sell than I did.
 

ycbm

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The horse is NOT his customer's property, it belongs to the OP ..
Correct, I miswrote. But in nit picking you miss the essential point. The information recorded as to the location of the horse to be vetted was provided to him for the purposes of doing the vetting for his customer, and it would be breaking the GDPR law to give that information to anyone else for any other purpose.
 

fabbydo

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Thanks for all responses. Hopefully we will see some funds by tomorrow evening and if not I will collect the horse on Tuesday and make sure I take pictures and videos etc. I had people telling me to call solicitors and I wasn’t sure but this confirms really I don’t have a legal standing. I sent the horse back to the dealer as I felt the horse just needed a different job she was from my point of view a little arena sour, but not a bad horse and he has a broad range of followers and better ability to sell than I did.
Did you get the horse back?
 

Pearlsasinger

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Correct, I miswrote. But in nit picking you miss the essential point. The information recorded as to the location of the horse to be vetted was provided to him for the purposes of doing the vetting for his customer, and it would be breaking the GDPR law to give that information to anyone else for any other purpose.

Except that he would not be giving out his client's personal information, he would be telling the horse's owner which livery yard she could find it on (apparently).
 

ycbm

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Except that he would not be giving out his client's personal information, he would be telling the horse's owner which livery yard she could find it on (apparently).

The definition is extremely broad:

“Personal data” is defined in both the Directive and the GDPR as any information relating to an person who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person.
 
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