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SA Horse Purchase - Who Own It?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Sharon Secker, 7 August 2014.

  1. Sharon Secker

    Sharon Secker Member

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    My daughter lives in Victoria and has sold a horse in the past week for $15,000. The buyer paid the full amount into my daughter's bank account last Friday, 1st August, and went to pick the horse up on Saturday 2nd August.

    She had difficulties loading the horse and left the agistment property without the horse. She has since requested a full refund, engaged a friend (who is a lawyer from what we can ascertain) who has written a letter to my daughter making demands for her to accept a lower purchase price ($5,000 reduction). My daughter is in the process of making contact with a lawyer who specialises in these types of cases, but can't speak with him until Monday 11th August.

    In the meantime the horse remains in limbo, on an agistment property of a third party. My question is, who is the legal owner of the horse under Australian Consumer Law? Obviously if the purchaser chooses to take legal action, then a court would decide an outcome to the dispute. In the meantime, my daughter is being hassled by this lawyer friend of the purchaser and the demands have had three deadlines (firstly 2 hours after the letter was received by email on Tues 5th Aug, 2nd the COB of following day, and now 3rd deadline is next Monday 11th Aug. I am trying to at least help her by establishing who legally owns the horse and to convince my daughter not to do anything until she engages her own legal advice.

    Really appreciate assistance or guidance (someone to talk with etc).
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Is there any written agreement about the sale? Any cooling off period that applies? Any comments that the horse is not as represented pre-sale? Why do they want to pay less?

    Write back to the lawyer and give the facts, and restate the horse is sold, and that the new owner must remove the horse within 7 days or be responsible for agistment costs. Has your daughter given a cancellation of agistment notice to the land holder?
     
  3. Sharon Secker

    Sharon Secker Member

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    No written contract or cooling off, verbal agreement only, worth mentioning that a third party (the Owner of property where the horse is currently agitated, acted as an Agent for my daughter and has been paid 10% commission. The purchaser agreed to pay the 10% directly to the Agent/Agistment Property Owner & the remainder to my Daughter. Those transactions took place at the same time Friday 1st August. The purchaser rode the horse a week prior to paying full purchase price, also had a VET check completed prior to paying full purchase price. She was heard saying she was very excited about her new purchase. She also did her own background checks etc. She came to pick up the Horse on Saturday 2nd August & after refusing to take advice by third person at the Agistment property, on how to load the horse (herself) on the float, spent 45mins whipping and trying to force the horse onto the Float without success. She then called my Daughter in Hysterics. My Daughters Horse is a quiet Dressage Horse with a fine background and history and this has not been an issue in the past. My Daughter offered to assist to transport the horse to the new owners property, but this was refused. My Daughters agistment contract has expired and the new owner has made no attempt to contact the agistment property owner, or make arrangements to pick up/have the horse transported.

    In the letter of demand from the purchasers Lawyer, they state my Daughter did not represent the horse truthfully and they have spoken to a couple of people that confirmed the horse is difficult to float (which is not true). they are demanding my Daughter pay $5,000 back to the purchaser as compensation. My Daughter had already dropped the price of the horse as she has purchased a new horse and doesn't want to pay costs/agistment for two horses.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a lawyer and can't give legal advice :)

    Can your daughter find another buyer? BTW, don't suggest this option to the buyer. New owner sounds like a bad owner if they unnecessarily whip the horse.

    You can ask for proof of evidence of misrepresentation before you'll do anything. Remind the lawyer about the rules around hearsay evidence not being admissible. Also suggest they will become liable for all legal costs if the matter goes to court and you win the case.

    Have your daughter write up notes regarding the sale while she remembers the details.
     
  5. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sharon

    To recap, the buyer is requesting/demanding $5,000 to be paid back as compensation based on an alleged misrepresentation, claiming that in fact "the horse is difficult to float" (which is a claim you have reason to dispute).

    Even if the buyer is entitled to compensation, the figure of $5,000 seems somewhat arbitrary. Also the tight deadlines (2 hours after email received?!) seem a bit unreasonable.

    One option is to let the buyer know you are reviewing her concern and will soon be in contact after you receive some advice on Monday. As you say your lawyer contact is experienced in these matters, he is probably best placed to recommend a suitable approach, and hopefully you might even resolve the situation amicably.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  6. winston wolf

    winston wolf Well-Known Member

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    It seems the most pressing question is who is legally responsible for the horse now.
    It would be my belief that the purchaser now owns the horse.
    1. She has paid for it.
    2. She has taken possession of it. Once she took the lead and tried to float it she had control.
    3. The seller tried to remedy the problem but was refused.
    Your friend and the owner of the agistment must take reasonable care of the horse while it is in there possession.
    As I'm sure you would any way.

    As stated, get legal advise first thing Monday.

    In the mean time I would reply to the person stating that the owner(new owner) is liable for the horse and may be liable for any agistment or ANY other costs incurred relating to the horse from the 2nd Aug going forward.
     
    John R likes this.

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