Passport DOB unknown

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12 December 2018
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I bought a horse from a dealer last week, I came to insure her the following day but the DOB in her passport says unknown, I bought what I thought was a 10 yr old cob x. After doing a bit of digging her microchip comes up as her being 15, I contacted the passport agency who told me the owners requested the DOB to be removed and unknown to be replaced instead, I also contacted the vets who microchipped her in 2016 and they had 1/4/2003 as her DOB. I do have a dentist coming on Monday to look, is there any other reasonable excuse to remove an incorrect DOB 5 yr older other than financial gain? I'm feeling really upset at the moment as I paid strong money for her.
 

claret09

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go back to the dealer. go with a plan about what you want to happen and stick to it. do you want your money back, some money refunded, just to make your point that you were miss sold?
 

CMcC

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Investigate consumer rights legislation. If the seller is a dealer and knowingly mis-represented horses age you would have a strong case for return and refund or as Claret09 says have a plan of what you want.
 

Keith_Beef

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I bought a horse from a dealer last week, I came to insure her the following day but the DOB in her passport says unknown, I bought what I thought was a 10 yr old cob x. After doing a bit of digging her microchip comes up as her being 15, I contacted the passport agency who told me the owners requested the DOB to be removed and unknown to be replaced instead, I also contacted the vets who microchipped her in 2016 and they had 1/4/2003 as her DOB. I do have a dentist coming on Monday to look, is there any other reasonable excuse to remove an incorrect DOB 5 yr older other than financial gain? I'm feeling really upset at the moment as I paid strong money for her.
I don't understand how a passport issuer can do such a thing... There are trained lawyers on this forum, maybe somebody can tell us if willfully changing the date in this document is considered to be forgery.

I don't understand how a dealer, presumably a competent professional, could take a horse and not make any attempt to compare the information in the passport with any information he could get from the chip; such failure to verify the passport information looks to me like gross negligence.

If you really like the horse (and I suppose you must have done, since you bought it), I think you have a good argument for demanding a refund of one third of the price, since she is 5 years older than her stated age of 10.

Get professional legal advice, approach the dealer with a demand for partial refund; if this is refused, sue his bollocks off!

In the meantime, kick up a stink about the passport issuer making substantial modifications to what is an official, mandatory document. You can face "an unlimited fine if you can’t show a valid horse passport for an animal in your care"; to my mind, anybody who wilfully draws up such an important document with false information should face the same penalty.
 

Shay

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If you do not know the date of birth - and many breeders do not, especially with older animals born pre passports or pre microchips. It isn't actually fraud to remove a date you do not believe correct to replace with the more factually accurate "unknown". A year might have been handy - but if even that is not truly known then the passport simply reflects the reality. This was quite probably not the fault of the dealer - the passport was changed before they had the animal. It may not be the fault of the last owners who may have only corrected what they understood to be a fraudulent statement on the passport. But in fairness - it probably was at least with the underlying intention of concealing the animal's true age.

The issue is more what you can do about it. I am slightly conffused as to why this wasn't spotted on vetting. In fact so confused I assume you didn't have her vetted? If not that does make your position weaker. The dealer cannot be said to have concelaed what was in her passport if you didn't ask for it for a pre purchase vetting. If you did have her vetted there are serious questions to ask of that vet as they should check the passport and record the age on the documentation. Presumably the age was advertised "as stated" - as in this is what the dealer was told. You may have rights under consumer protection regulations to return her to the dealer for a full refund. Is that what you actually want to do though? If all you want is a partial refund you could approach the dealer - but it would be harder to find legal ground to enforce it. If you are a BHS member give their legal helpline a call?
 

be positive

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go back to the dealer. go with a plan about what you want to happen and stick to it. do you want your money back, some money refunded, just to make your point that you were miss sold?
This but I would have a real issue with a PIO who can just make amendments to a passport for no reason, it is hardly the same as changing a colt to a gelding or adding serious scarring, removing the date of birth is opening up a can of worms and potentially defrauding anyone who buys it at a later date, the dealer may well be just as in the dark as you were but does need to put things right.
 
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Unfortunately I didn't have her vetted, the passport is an absolute joke, the last owners in it was the riding school that sold her to the dealer but they only changed the ownership in Sept this year, I have videos of her in their yard dating back to 2016, the riding school won't talk to me, I've rang and text a few times, she just text back to say she's too busy for anything else at the moment. Surely when the vet microchipped back in 2016 they would have verified the age as they are signing the document. I understand the dealer may have taken the riding schools word she was 10 but surely he should be as accurate as he can when selling her, it didn't take me long to find she was around 15. I think I would send her back, she was sold as a novice confidence giver but does spook bad at tractors, milk tankers ect which is terrible when we live on a beef farm! I couldn't get on her today as she was too wound up with the busy yard so walked her out in hand! I definitely couldn't put my daughter on her (She was sold as a novice ride ideal mother daughter share)
 

Leo Walker

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If you do not know the date of birth - and many breeders do not, especially with older animals born pre passports or pre microchips. It isn't actually fraud to remove a date you do not believe correct to replace with the more factually accurate "unknown". A year might have been handy - but if even that is not truly known then the passport simply reflects the reality. This was quite probably not the fault of the dealer - the passport was changed before they had the animal. It may not be the fault of the last owners who may have only corrected what they understood to be a fraudulent statement on the passport. But in fairness - it probably was at least with the underlying intention of concealing the animal's true age.

The issue is more what you can do about it. I am slightly conffused as to why this wasn't spotted on vetting. In fact so confused I assume you didn't have her vetted? If not that does make your position weaker. The dealer cannot be said to have concelaed what was in her passport if you didn't ask for it for a pre purchase vetting. If you did have her vetted there are serious questions to ask of that vet as they should check the passport and record the age on the documentation. Presumably the age was advertised "as stated" - as in this is what the dealer was told. You may have rights under consumer protection regulations to return her to the dealer for a full refund. Is that what you actually want to do though? If all you want is a partial refund you could approach the dealer - but it would be harder to find legal ground to enforce it. If you are a BHS member give their legal helpline a call?
Not having her vetting really doesn't weaken your position at all. You have grounds to return this mare for a full refund. I'd see if you can have a chat with a solicitor, maybe one of those free 30mins advice sessions. Then if the dealer wont play ball you know your legal rights
 

be positive

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It sounds as if she is not suitable for you regardless of her age so the sooner you let the dealer know you want to return her as not fit for purpose the better, the fact she was not vetted makes little difference other than the age discrepancy may have been picked up then, a confidence given suitable for a novice should not have issues in traffic and it may be why the RS sold her directly to a dealer rather than privately, passing the buck so there is no come back on them, changing the passport does suggest they did it to get a better price, not many dealers would pay sensible money for a 15 year old ex RS horse.
 

Goldenstar

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Get her sent back asap.
I always make sure the chip is checked at a vetting .
This is after a vet told me about a client whose recently acquired ISH turned out to be a dead KWPN twice the age .
 
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The dealer is away at the moment, not back off holiday til next week, the riding school told me she's 10 so he hasn't done his homework, the horse has had 2 owners, the lady who had her microchipped was the lady who had her as a foal so I dare say she knew when she was born. The dealer paid £850 for her so she hasn't done it for financial gain but I take what she says with a pinch of salt, there is more to this than meets the eye..... I just don't know what!
 

be positive

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The dealer is away at the moment, not back off holiday til next week, the riding school told me she's 10 so he hasn't done his homework, the horse has had 2 owners, the lady who had her microchipped was the lady who had her as a foal so I dare say she knew when she was born. The dealer paid £850 for her so she hasn't done it for financial gain but I take what she says with a pinch of salt, there is more to this than meets the eye..... I just don't know what!
So which owner had the passport changed and when?
 

be positive

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The riding school
So they are the "culprits" in this, the first owner had done everything correctly, there is no break in the chain of owners and for some reason the RS decided to get it changed, I still find it odd that the PIO would do this with no evidence.

£850 is a very low price for a 10 year old that is supposed to be a confidence giver, I guess you paid more but I would suspect there is a bit more history to this whole situation and you need to get out of it ASAP.
 
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Yes I paid £2900 for her, which I thought was an okay price for a 10yr old all rounder confidence giver, I don't understand why a rs would sell a perfectly good 10yr old including full wardrobe for £850, surely they would get more advertising in the tack room!! I understand dealers are hassle free if you are pushed for time but there's definitely more to this!! She also told me she only had her a year but I think she had her at least 2 yrs! She also said she sold her as she had no rider for her but I don't understand that either with her being a rs!
 

Shay

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She being the RS or the breeder? I'm getting muddled with this. She's 15 years old (ish). The RS had her about 2 years? Not more if she was microchipped before sale in 2016. So the other owner had her 12/13 years? Have you spoken to her?

It isn't uncommon when passporting an already adult horse to reduce the age a bit. If nothing else it makes insurance cheaper. With the requirement to microchip at birth it is reducing but does still happen with horses born outside the UK requirement. We had a glourious Welsh SecA who, if he was in fact the age shown in this passport was recorded as competeing in affilliated driving trials at 6 months old. We know the passport age was fictional. I'm fairly sure my daughter's first pony is also a good couple of years older than his stated passport age - again only passported when the regs came in.
 
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I can't find a phone number of the first owner to ask her, the first owner had her microchipped at sale and passported her and gave her DOB 1/4/2003. The rs had her 2 yrs and then when she came to sell her she applied for her DOB to be changed stating it should be 2008. They got the vet who microchipped her to write a letter in Oct saying he went off client information at the time of microchipping and had no reason to believe she wasn't born in 2008. Here's the thing, he hadn't seen the horse since 2016, the passport agency then puts unknown as they told me you can not prove how old she actually is, the passport agency also said it would be difficult to send her back as you can't prove you have been misold on age.
 

be positive

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So the passport agency will in theory change any passport and "help" an owner commit fraud based on a vague response by a vet who has firstly put her as born 2003 but now thinks it could have been 2008, he seems to be guessing at best and should not really have gone back on his original age with no evidence to prove otherwise, either way it does seem that the first owner who knew her all of her life should be the most accurate and is unlikely to be 5 years out, if you cannot get a phone number I would at least try writing a letter asking for her to contact you, she has done nothing wrong and if she cared for the horse should want the best outcome for her, she may have moved but it is worth a try.

You could put a few details on here without giving too much away to see if anyone in the same area can offer suggestions of where the first owner may be, obviously be discrete in case you take it further.
 

ihatework

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The way I see it is, it doesn’t matter how much you paid and whilst it is ultimately poor practice by the PIO & RS the only person you directly deal with is the dealer.

The dealer sold you a 10yo horse suitable for a novice right? And instead you have a 15yo horse that is traffic shy. Therefore horse mid-sold and it’s the dealers problem to address.

If it were just the age gap but the horse was suitable I’d say suck it up. But as horse unsuitable anyway it’s your easiest leverage to return.

Print off the dealer advert stating horse is 10.
Try and get a statement from the original owner/breeder pre RS to confirm known year of birth. Obtain a printout from PIO of the subsequent changes.

That is your evidence and a basis for court proceedings, small claims should do it for a cheap horse.
 

ycbm

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I can't find a phone number of the first owner to ask her, the first owner had her microchipped at sale and passported her and gave her DOB 1/4/2003. The rs had her 2 yrs and then when she came to sell her she applied for her DOB to be changed stating it should be 2008. They got the vet who microchipped her to write a letter in Oct saying he went off client information at the time of microchipping and had no reason to believe she wasn't born in 2008. Here's the thing, he hadn't seen the horse since 2016, the passport agency then puts unknown as they told me you can not prove how old she actually is, the passport agency also said it would be difficult to send her back as you can't prove you have been misold on age.

You CAN prove she has been missold on age. She is s fifteen. She was sold as ten. And it is completely irrelevant whether the person who sold her to you knew that is not, if they were a dealer and this is a business sale.

As an aside, who does this to a horse? Who sells it knowing that in another five or ten years people will be asking a horse which should be coasting down to retiring to work like a much younger horse? I'd like to give them a piece of my mind!
 
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I was open with the dealer, I told him I needed a confidence giver as I've had a break from riding and that i classed myself as a novice but that I wanted to grow on her and am prepared to get some lessons/clinics as my confidence grows, i also wanted to walk my kids on her and for them to grow on her in yrs to come so we could do pony club, this is the reason I wanted a horse no older than 10. I wouldn't have even looked at her if i knew she was older than 10. It's heart breaking there is no though of the poor animals by mis selling them and pio are helping these people :(
 

neddy man

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Check to see owners name and address (when a foal) on the electoral register, if the same write to her give her your e mail and ask her to contact you (dont say passport problem) if not at that address write to current tennents asking if they have a forwarding address.
 

Shay

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Can you name the PIO? I had assumed the change to "unknown" had been at the RS request - not from 2003 to 2008! That is seriously sharp practice. Passports are not a reliable indication of age (or indeed much else in some cases) but this is quite scary.
 
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Horse Passport Agency - they cover themselves by changing it to unknown, they could only change the date if the vet had contacted them in writing 6 weeks after registering but as it was nearly 3 yrs later they have to put unknown, I have my horse dentist coming tomorrow but I know teeth aren't accurate in a later horse. They are very quick to relinquish any blame and they also said they do not enforce changing details ect in 30 days of ownership when I pointed out the rs had had the horse in their yard for over 2 yrs before changing the details.
 
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