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NSW Take Seller to Office of Fair Trading for False Advertising?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by billiegirl77, 10 January 2017.

  1. billiegirl77

    billiegirl77 Active Member

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    My daughter has been riding her cousin's pony but has out grown it. We do not have a lot of money but she's been in love with horses before she was walking. Then she got the option to ride and we knew one day we have to get her her own horse.

    So with our saving on a tight budget, we got her a horse, and it's been a nightmare ever since. We put feelers out in the local area where her cousin lives but there was nothing available. With our low budget, we knew we couldn't get anything too fancy. She expected that. We came across an ad and when I text the gentleman, the horse he had for sale had been sold but advise me of another horse he had and refered me to the link.

    The price was a little higher for us and I did advise him this. He then said he would drop the price from $3500 to $2700, so we said we would come down and check him out. We drove down the property (2 hours) on 3rd of December. It was just that - a property with a shed (no home).

    The horse was already saddle up & ready to go. Now I will be honest, I am no horse expert, nor is my husband, so we didn't know this is actually not ideal (wish we knew). Some other horse rider (not owner but his worker) put him a small paddock and showed us how he rode. Nothing unusual, so my daughter got on and she said he felt comfortable and really good.

    There were these sky jumping plane going over ahead and it didn't seem to faze him. I picked up his feet and he let me, pat him and everything, and no flinching or anything. He came across as a very good horse. My daughter rode him for a good 30 mins. So deal was done - I left a $500 deposit into his bank account and I was to contact a transporter to drop horse off for me (it was a 2 hour drive).

    Horse was delivered to our cousin's property on the 5th of December. The owner wanted cash money to be paid to the transporter as it was his friend and didn't want a bank transfer. So this was done but no receipt were exchanged (but I have text messages of all this arrangement).

    The horse was a bit tense, but with a long trip to the new property it's not uncommon, he needed to settle in. We got a new saddle and had it properly fitted. He was a little tense with this but overall ok.

    My daughter tries to ride him and he rears up straight away. Luckily she just slid off with no injuries. She gave him a good lunge but he does it again. As days goes, on we notice he was not as easygoing as he was the day we visited,. He seemed spooked by things. We had to move him to another property. He got on the float fine, but he freaks out getting off.

    My daughter has severe rope burn that it blistered badly for days. Our cousin is worried about the horse's behaviour and got a friend to see him and she said he's very nervous and refuses for her to check his feet. She advised us that it's not uncommon for people to sedate horse to come across as more calm when selling but there was no way to prove that.

    The cousin goes on holidays and we feed their horse and ours and he is a different animal. He runs from you and he is not easy to catch. He is so nervous we decided to be safe and not allow my daughter on him until we got him properly assessed.

    We took him to a professional trainer, and she called me yesterday (10th January) to advise he should never have been sold to a 12-year-old girl and that he was possibly sedated on the day, but once again how do you prove that?

    From the ad he had, it is false advertising. From the assessment I had done, these are the false claims from the ad:

    1. Seller claims horse is 7 years old - Trainer believes this is not true horse and the horse is indeed older

    2. Seller claims horse is he easy to handle, shoe and tie up, etc - I know this is not true because he not easy to catch and does resists and refuse for anyone to touch his feet.

    3. Seller claims he can self load float - he won't self load we have to load him and he freaked out on us twice unloading.

    4. Seller claims that there are no nasty surprises - how his behaviour from the moment we checked him to now is a surprise and the fact that he is pretty much un-ride-able for a intermediate rider as per the trainer, he requires a full experienced rider to be on him.

    5. Seller claims he has competed in team penning, and also Pony Club - The trainer said there is no way this horse has completed in anything and in fact, believes he actually only been broken into and is Green Broken which is very unsafe to sell to an inexperienced rider.

    6. Seller claims he is cool and calm - which is very untrue; he is not calm and freaks out over the slightest noise or flinches unnecessarily.
    .
    7. Nothing to spend - yes, I spent money on getting him assessed, plus other costs of getting a new horse and I am so sick to my stomach over this; its very upsetting.

    The trainer advised thaat I should contact the seller back, asking for a refund as he sold us a horse knowing it doesn't match the ad and it was unsafe (as mentioned, my daughter could have really been hurt). I did text him straight away (I like these things in writing - he has no email), advising the horse is not suitable and explained how he was very nervous and not the same horse. He reared my daughter off, freaked out on occasions unnecessarily. I told him, "I have taken him to a trainer to be assessed and it's advised that he not suitable for a child and he has actually only been broken into (green broke). I am requesting a full refund and am happy to cover transport back to your property."

    I sent that at 5:21 pm, so he has not responded but I will give him 24 hours to reply. After that, not sure what I can do. I assume I message him again and advise him if he does not respond that I will take him to the office of fair trading?

    I did some sleuthing last night. I have tracked down his business name (seems he no longer advertises this when selling his horses) and he has mixed reviews - some say he is great, others had issues.

    One similar to mine made on a horse forum which he used names, etc and this seller got to the forum's owners and were forced to take the post down for defamation, saying he has taken a lawyer etc. This is why I chose not to name names.

    Any help on this would be great - I don't understand buyer beware, but this whole thing is beyond that. We were sold an unsafe horse that was not suitable to our needs.

    Thanks. Sorry for the long post.
     
  2. billiegirl77

    billiegirl77 Active Member

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    I heard nothing from the seller and sent another message advising of the False Advertising and the Duty of Disclosure, ie. Not advising the horse was actually Green Broke. I, of course, would never buy a horse that has just been recently broken.

    I have given him another 24 hours to respond. If I don't hear from him, I will be taking him to Fair Trading. Just hope it resolves quickly as this horse is costing me money in feeds and other costs, which we have now lost. So asking for a full-refund is suitable as I won't get any other cost back.
     
  3. SamanthaJay

    SamanthaJay Well-Known Member

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    This is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to selling horses unfortunately. Since I had my kids, apart from one pony and one horse for my partner, I haven't done any buying and selling of horses so I'm not sure how you'll go in regards to getting your money back.

    In my horsey days, it was buyer beware and do your homework when it comes to purchasing a horse. Bottom line is that they are a living creature. If you don't have the experience with horses, then you really need to take someone who does with you to inspect the animal.

    It's such a harsh lesson to learn. I know what it's like to be like your daughter (exactly the same!), longing for my own horse. My dad finally bought me one when I was 13 but he just went out himself (absolutely no horse experience at all) and bought the best looking horse he could find!

    Christmas day he took me to the agistment paddock and said look for the oldest horse, leaning against the tree! In fact it was the most beautiful horse, tearing around the paddock like a crazy thing! I can tell you I had a crash course in learning to ride and many hairy moments including the horse jumping fences and gates with me on him! Few nasty falls as well! So my life has had horses in it ever since. It's a wonderful interest for your daughter.

    Hopefully you will get your money back and perhaps the trainer would be open to inspecting any future horse you might think is suitable. Pony club and Adult Riding Clubs are also another good source of horses needing a new home after owners grow out of them or loose interest.
     
  4. SamanthaJay

    SamanthaJay Well-Known Member

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    Just another thing, re the horse costing money to feed etc. Get used to that with horses...they are a never ending money pit. If it isn't feed, rugs, farrier, it's vets and herbal remedies!
     
  5. billiegirl77

    billiegirl77 Active Member

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    Hi SamanthaJay, thanks for your reply, but I think you have missed the point of my post.

    My daughter has been riding for 4 yesrs at her cousin's property, also at pony camps and has lessons. She has also been doing pony club since April 2015, so she not inexperienced.

    We looked in the local area for horses but nothing was available in our price range. This situation - the seller sold a horse stating it does XYZ when, in fact, it's not true. The horse has not done Pony Club as per advertised and, in fact, as per the assessment seems he has only been Green Broken.

    If this was advertised correctly, I would of not purchase this horse. It is bluntly false advertising. This applies to any item you buy, whether it is a horse or anything other item. If you advertising a product, does something and it doesn't, it is false advertising.

    I am no mechanic but know basic knowledge of cars similar to horses. I am no expert but I know the basics, yet is it my fault if I brought a car and it had a major issue with it that the seller didn't disclose? This is same situation - the horse has a major issue. He is Green Broken and not a Pony Club horse.

    If I was made aware, he never would have been purchase. He shouldn't be selling a horse saying it has experience when it is not. He also has a duty of care to also uphold. From the trainer recommendation, they said it unsafe to ride so I have taken their advice.

    The costing of the horse is not an issue. My issue is it is costing me unnecessary money due to being given misinformed information from the seller.

    Anyway, he has replied back. He said he is unwell currently and is in the hospital. Not sure if he is saying this to bid time or it could possibly be true. Just deciding how to respond without being nasty or rude, being concerned but, at the same time, would like this resolved quickly.
     
  6. SamanthaJay

    SamanthaJay Well-Known Member

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    No, I do understand what you are saying, absolutely. I was telling you that it was the oldest trick in the book when it came to selling and buying horses, because it is. If you had been experienced enough, you would have had a knowledgeable horse person with you. By knowledgeable, that includes a history of buying and selling horses.

    I have over 30 years experience with horses and I would still take someone else with me when I thought I had found 'the' horse. A vet check as well. Telling a horses age from the teeth is really one of the first things you should learn when being involved with horses and especially if you are buying one. A vet would confirm it for you.

    I'm really curious to know how you go with Fair Trading. I thought Fair Trading dealt with commercial matters/registered businesses. Was this guy selling the horse through a business or just a personal sale?

    I know you said he doesn't use his business name anymore. I'm wondering if it's something you'll have to deal with as a civil matter if the seller does not come to the party. But I'm glad you are taking firm action. These kind of 'dealers' have always been difficult to deal with unless you know someone that can act like a bigger bully than they are.

    I sincerely wish you good luck in returning the horse and getting your money back. Like I said I understand the love for horses and I hope your daughter finds her perfect horse soon.

    Keep us updated!
     
  7. billiegirl77

    billiegirl77 Active Member

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    Thanks SamanthaJay - I agree, lesson learned in that background check are more necessary and having someone more experienced is ideal when checking a horse. I guess we don't have REV check on horses, but still it doesn't stop to say he falsely advertised an item for sale.

    I did find some interesting information on the internet regarding his business. Some were very positive, others were not, but they didn't say much. If they did say negative things, seems he lawyered up and the post was remove.

    He had one legal case against him in TAS for a horse but I can't locate any more information on the matter. It was about 6 years ago.

    I was speaking to a co-worker who believes he is faking the hospital thing and thinks I should get a friend to contact him about a horse he has for sale currently on the sites, and see if he's capable to meet them. If so, then he is lying, so it could be one way to check.

    Thanks
     
  8. billiegirl77

    billiegirl77 Active Member

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    OK update -

    We decided give the benefit of the doubt to the buyer on his illness based on the fact that he has no horse for sale beside one which is generally unusual. I keep checking the website (like car sale for horses) and today new horse.

    So I text him saying hopefully he is well and notice he has a horse for sale so I assume he is OK to sort this matter. He pretty much fobbed me off, and said he has staff doing that (mind you he's the contact on the ad still). He is going back to hospital and he does not want to deal with me and pretty much go away.

    I was nice reply back saying I am very sympathetic he is unwell wish him best of luck for recovery but he has got to understand my position as well. If he has staff, couldn't a staff member assist me in this then?

    I dont think he replied back as he wants me to go away. Truth is,, he maybe unwell or it's a lie - I'm going to test that out and contact him on another phone about the new horse and see how it goes.

    Thanks
     
  9. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    He may be making the selling of horses a part-time business. You might to suggest the tax office may be interested in his sideline if you can't return your horse. Especially if he is dealing in cash with no receipts.

    If that doesn't work, send a demand letter saying what you want and by when (allow at least 14 days, 30 is better). If that doesn't work, call NCAT and see if they will help. Not sure if they help in private sales, but you can say his business is the selling of horses - and produce all the ads you can find.
     
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  10. billiegirl77

    billiegirl77 Active Member

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    Thanks Rod - I just put the complaint in to Fair Trading see where it goes from there, after speaking to the people that asses the horse on Saturday when I picked him up. They said he's either been afraid of people before they got him or they scared him into what we see now. They said you can tell he wants to be close to you and please you, but he so nervous.

    I did more research on this guy and came across information of someone a few years back notice a horse for sale with no experience, then a few weeks later, the same horse on sale from these guys with suddenly all these experiences. They said you have to be miracle worker to get a horse to that level from nothing in 2-3 weeks.

    I will be putting in a complaint to ATO for his tax and RSPCA to check the welfare of his horses. I doubt I will get my money back or anything. A family member knows someone maybe interested in the horse as they work with horses like this and use them for herding cattle so he be worked everyday which is what he needs.

    I rather get something back and it go to a good home than back to this guy who will probably abuse him again :(
     

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