There are many risks involved when purchasing ‘goods’; that is why legislation has been put in place to assist in providing protection to consumers.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (‘CRA 2015’) provides certain statutory rights for purchasers when buying a horse as a ‘consumer’ from a ‘trader’ (or also known in the equine industry as a ‘dealer’). The CRA 2015 applies to all horse purchases between a trader and consumer on or after 1 October 2015.
The statute affords protection if the horse does not match the terms implied by the CRA 2015, which are as follows:
If the consumer believes that these implied terms have been breached by the trader, the CRA 2015 provides guidelines on the timing of the consumer’s rights to reject the horse:
Clear communication is imperative in disputes of this nature and it is advisable that consumers gives both oral and written notice to the seller (trader) of the notice of rejection.
It should be noted that the CRA 2015 does not offer private buyers any protection when making purchases from private sellers (i.e., non-dealers/tradespeople). The law “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) applies in these types of transactions.
If a private buyer purchases a horse from a private seller and it later transpires the horse is not as expected, the buyer has to prove the seller knew, or ought to have known, the problem the horse had when it was sold, with any claim usually being pursued under the law of misrepresentation.
There are three different types of misrepresentation that a buyer may allege: –
The remedies available for a claimant are different based on the type of misrepresentation – a buyer may be able to claim recission (i.e. the cancellation of the contract) or, alternatively, they might be entitled to claim damages.
In order to avoid a dispute arising in the first place, it is advisable that when private buyers make a purchase via a private seller that they consider the below: –
If a private buyer purchases a horse from a person who is selling on behalf of another (i.e., if the horse is on ‘sales livery’), and a problem arises with the horse, the buyer cannot make a claim against the person who they bought the horse from (i.e., the agent). Instead, they would have to make a claim against the person who owned the horse, therefore reducing the buyer’s legal protection as this claim would not arise under the CRA 2015 (as it isn’t recognised as a business transactions). In this scenario the buyer would have to prove misrepresentation.
Despite best precautions, disputes inevitably happen. In such circumstances, it is important to obtain the advice of solicitors with knowledge and expertise in equine law.
Read our equine law page here