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- - Being Sued (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-law/being-sued-132180/)
I recently sold a horse to a man in another state. He was determined he wanted THIS horse...and wanted me to deliver it too. I asked him to please come see the horse and try him out but he stated he was in NY and would not be back in GA for a week but after emailing pics and a short video he said he wanted him and I asked or a deposit PLUS cost of vet check up front (feeling leery he was being so demanding) Emailed him a contract he printed, signed and overnighted with a check for deposit but not for vet check. We had a conversation thru texts and via phone because I was not comfortable he was already breeching contract. He stated he was upset over deposit amount and REALLY wanted this horse for his daughter so asked how we could work thru this issue. I finally broke down and agreed to accept remainder of payment and vet check fee PLUS hauling fee (which was VERY MINIMAL...$150 for a 5 hr drive ONE WAY!!) when we brought the horse to him. We showed up as planned Saturday (a little early and waited for over and hr for him to arrive. We unloaded the horse AFTER he arrived and he and his teenage daughter did not even have a clue what a lunge line was, as they bought one thinking it was a lead line. I told this man over and over that I will NEVER claim a horse is bomb proof or child safe because it is an animal with a brain and 4 legs. We lunged the horse, trotted him up and down the road and his daughter took the horse for a walk thru the fields. We were there a good hour with him and the horse and he never voiced a concern about the horse. Just as we are getting back home (5 hrs later) he calls and says the horse is lame!! I asked what happened to him and he said nothing, you sold me a lame horse!!....for hours afterwards he harrasses me and my vet that did the vet check, threatening and harrssing us finally stating in a text his daughter was thrown from the horse and he just cant have her getting hurt so "come get the horse". He stated he had a 3 day period in which to return the horse. I have never heard of this. He then claimed I was a "horse BUSINESS" and he was a CONSUMER and I HAVE TO REFUND HIS MONEY and come get the horse!! First I do NOT operate a horse selling business. This was a horse I was aquired and I am a mare type person. He was too big of a horse for me as well as a gelding. He never showed signs of lameness with me or his former owner. Now this man is suing me for violating the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. How is this possible??? Im not a business. He signed a contract with NO warrantees or guarantees and my vet found the horse sound just days before the trip. ....I do not even know how to go about finding a lawyer for this issue.....HELP!!! I feel it is buyer beware and his daughter is afraid of the horse and now I am getting sued because he has money. Suggestions???? OH yeah and I kept ALL his emails and texts too!!
You need a lawyer.
Not trying to assign blame but why would you go through this sale? The guy didn't seem to know much if anything about horses, his daughter doesn't either, and the horse isn't even kid friendly and it's the daughter the horse is for.
In many states when you sign a contract for something you have 3 days to change your mind. I think it applies to things like gym memberships - not horses. An equine lawyer is what you need.
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yeh you need a lawyer, and be sure to counter suit for legal fees
Oh and i ran into a similar incedent. He is saying the "Horse business" thing because it changes the legal aspect of the sale most likely. Under VA law all horse sales are immediate and AS IS, UNLESS you are a horse professional. Of course the law doesnt define what a Horse professional is. So thats gonn abe the argument point. Have you ever filed a tax return listing Horse income or expenses ?
The one thing I am going to point out is you should NEVER use your vet for the pre purchase exam. That is a big NO NO. You want an impartial vet that has no ties to you or your horse.
I would consult some legal council but I would be concerned for the horses welfare so I may handle it differently as you sound just glad to be rid of the horse. I would never sell a horse with out someone coming to look at it and meeting them.
I would go get it and charge probably a 1.50 cents a mile (or what ever going rate is) for the delivery and pick up and send the balance back.
The horse IS kid friendly and had been shown by a young girl prior to me owning him and trail ridden by several kids too and I have a STRICT rule of never telling anyone a horse is DEAD BROKE, BOMB PROOF or KID SAFE because this is an animal and they have a brain and 4 legs and ANYTHING can happen.......I did not know they were NOT horse smart till I met them...he lied a good game and as they untangled the new lunge line and said WOW this is a LONG Lead line I knew.....They were boarding him at a very nice barn that looked to be a english jumping barn and said she was taking lessons there. I stated both in my ad and over and over that this was a WP and trail horse. NEVER guaranteed him to be a guaranteed show horse now either....I didnt really use "MY" vet I used a vet in the area. He had pulled Coggins for me a few months back and this guy wanted this done FAST and he was the first vet that could get it done within this man's time frame. Its not that I hated the horse. I just felt he was not what I wanted or would use. and yes...I was served with papers being sued ...me and the vet last week...trying to find a lawyer that wont break my bank =(
Usually he would have to file in your town but since you delivered the horse you might have to go to his town and spend all that time driving again.
It is also customary for the buyer to contact a vet and pay them directly and leave you out of the loop. That way they are also in control of how much they want checked and how much to spend.
I know that hindsight is 20/20...
but I have to wonder if the whole thing was a scam from the get-go? The whole story of buying out of state and exchanging checks for incorrect amounts and needing THIS horse RIGHT NOW is the same pattern many other scammers use with different sorts of products. (I have never heard it being done with a horse before!)
Plus - the buyer is awfully quick with his lawsuit...
I'm wondering if you can contact someone in law enforcement or government agency to report this? I know that the FBI investigates certain kinds of buying/selling fraudsters...
And IF it's a scam....
the buyer will probably claim (falsely) that something bad happened to the horse. His goal will be to get his money back PLUS keep the horse (all the while maintaining it had to be put down for its injuries).
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