WWYD... horse being misrepresented

Want to know what others might do in this situation… sold a horse for a rock bottom price because the horse was supposed to be a long term personal horse for a professional. Buyer also assured us they would let us know if or when they ever decided to resell the horse. Well not even a week after the horse was shipped to the buyer… he is listed under a new name for 4 times what I sold the horse for. Ok so crappy thing to do, I would write it off as a lesson and make a note not to deal with this person in the future… except for the fact that the horse is being misrepresented as a different breed than he actually is. I feel confident there would be other dishonesty about the horse as well given this persons behavior and willingness to lie. What would you do?

You can contact the person directly (not over email or text) for an honest and frank conversation. Beyond that, there isn’t much you can do. Personally, I would probably record the call as a CYA.

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I am not sure there is anything you can do.

Have you sent them any contact pointing out the problem (like it was an innocent mistake)? No complaining about them selling the horse, just about the facts that are wrong.
Does the horse have papers?

If the horse is advertised on FB I would be tempted to reply that you are the former owner and that the horse is X breed not Y breed. Beyond that not much you can do.

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I’d call them on it. If they induced you to sell cheaper on representations that they were not going to sell etc…and then are selling one week later. I’d be threatening them with a law suit. (Yes, there ARE potential legal claims here). That is really really really crappy and possibly fraud. That isn’t the same as several years later selling because that is better for the horse or their situation changes.

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I agree there are fraud issues here (fraud in the inducement and fraud in the current sale). Noting that should get the attention of the seller. If they don’t respond to your communication, respond on the public sale site with a message that you just sold this horse to dealer a week ago and note that this sale advertisement is not accurate and you would like to discuss.

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I agree. I hope someone can provide more guidance as to steps forward, but this is horrific.

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Honestly I don’t think there is any thing going on here that really legally counts as fraud in the purchase because the OP agreed to sell at a certain price and recieved payment.

As far as the sale, the trainer is misrepresenting the breed. If the buyer asks for papers the truth will come out. Have you transfered papers to the trainer yet? If there are no papers how does OP know the breed?

If the horse has no papers he is effectively “grade” and in that case people do make up all kinds of fables about what their horse “might” be. A knowledgeable buyer will distrust such claims.

As far as “4 times the purchase price” are we taking horse sold for $1000 and is being resold for $4000? Still bottom of the market. Or did horse sell for $20,000 and being resold for $80,000?

Anyhow trainer might claim a legitimate reason for needing to resell. Money problems. It’s also possible this is not actually your horse.

I would take it as a lesson learned in dealing with horse traders. I don’t think there is any legal recourse and it’s up to you if you want to start a war on social media. I expect trainer would just block you.

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Isn’t any of the information in the first post binding as a verbal, legal contract?? The first thing that popped into my head was the work Debbie Bass did on transparency of sales. I have no legal training…

I do have legal training…if buyer lied…and misrepresented themselves to intentionally induce the seller to sell at a lower price…that could be fraud. Depends on jurisdiction and a lot of other facts…,but just on what the OP posted…there could be a claim. Is it worth pursuing? Depends. It isn’t just good faith negotiation for a lower price…

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Was the sale done in state? Harder to pursue out of state I believe.

I think it also matters how much money is at stake. If the horse sold for $1000 and is being resold for $4000, legal fees will make this pointless.

If the horse sold for $30,000 and is being resold for $120,000 then the money is different.

But what is the outcome you want? Horse returned to you? A portion of the resale price? All the resale price?

I think it’s hard to hold a buyer to an oral contract to not resell. We’ve had numerous threads on whether even an explicit buy back clause in a written sales contract is legally binding.

What if trainer says: when I purchased horse I fully intended to keep him. But then I realized he wasn’t quite suitable to my purpose plus my accountant told me I couldn’t afford to keep another horse in the pandemic. So unfortunately I need to sell him.

People do this “flipping” with OTTBs all the time. An OTTB in a sales barn is worth considerably more than an OTTB on the back stretch because not too many ammies have the contacts or horse skills to source an OTTB direct from the trainer.

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Yes…people flip OTTBs for 4x what the paid for them on the backside. But the difference here are the lies to induce the horse to be sold cheap. Absolutely it may be difficult to prove… and costly to take to litigation (depending on a lot of factors). My point is just that there may be claim.

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A good social media outing that comes up on goggle searches can live a long life. :wink:

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@Scribbler I must say I laughed out loud at the first paragraph of your post, following as it did the posts of two attorneys. :slight_smile:

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First and foremost - Make absolutely, 110% sure that it is your former horse the trainer is advertising. If it is, document. Show photos with matching markings, that kind of thing. Screen print, file, save. Put dates on absolutely everything.

You have one chance to get the goods on this, and if you don’t do it now, there is no proving it later. If the trainer gets wind of a fuss, the ads will be altered or come down. Later, a new owner isn’t going to cooperate with you. So documenting what the trainer is doing can’t wait.

I would doubt there is any financial benefit to you to pursue this. You know the horse and agreed on the price, so that’s done. Perhaps the trainer’s lie about their intent for the horse matters, but there is a good chance that legally it doesn’t if it’s not written in a sale contract.

It is the next buyer who is at financial risk and would have grounds for fraud and misrepresentation, is my guess.

IF it is proved to be your former horse:

Go/No-Go Decisions to make:

What is your real motivation to do something? Welfare of the horse? Outrage at the trainer? Protection of the public/next buyer? Justice?
As has been mentioned, a fraud motivation will depend on the monetary values at stake - and the claim is likely to belong to the next buyer, who is the one who doesn’t know the truth about the horse. The last, justice, you will never get to satisfaction, so if that’s the main motivation, time to let it go. The others need to be evaluated in terms of the next question.

How much trouble, time and expense are you willing to go to for this?
That is actually 3 different independent answers - trouble/effort - time - expense. Each is a decision criteria. When you hit the limit on any of the 3 criteria, you stop. The answers need to be framed in the context of your true motivation, such as horse welfare, or protecting the unknown next buyer.

And the most important: How much sustained energy are you willing to devote to this?

Such as:

  • One shot chance: Show up at the trainer’s barn with a return of funds and a trailer to pick up the horse. Demand the sale be reversed instantly (with paperwork, prepared for trainer to sign, standing up, right there (have a clipboard)). If you stage a big enough fit, the trainer might actually agree and you get the horse back. Never mind all of the people who will tell you that this isn’t going to work. It is a matter of making yourself the bigger personality. This kind of staged command of the moment works all of the time, and it’s perfectly legal. (Until you stay after they tell you to leave.) Honestly, I’d only do this if horse welfare were a very high concern for me. [Ask any pro trainer if staging a scene can create an outcome. Or one who does this kind of performance from time to time.]

  • Or, consult an attorney and pay hundreds, likely thousands, to pursue this through legal avenues. For months. With a completely uncertain outcome.

  • Or, post the suggested comments denying the trainer’s claims. Maybe expand your postings and alerts elsewhere on social media. Is Rate My Horse Pro still going?

Those are the kinds of things to think through to decide how much you want to do, and just as important, where you want to stop and let it go. There are no right or wrong answers, it’s down to what you want to do about it.

It will help you decide if you are concrete in your plans and what you are willing to do.

And of course, you need to verify the identify of the horse beyond all doubt before doing anything more.

Hope you do find some peace and satisfaction, whatever you decide … and the horse does land in a good next home.

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Well, if it turns out OP can take legal action and it’s effective I’ll be very happy for them and happily retract my words! The other posters didn’t actually identify themselves as attorneys in Britain :slight_smile: so I had know way of knowing that, and I’m actually in Canada.

My experience in Canada is a that you can get a “scare letter” from a lawyer for a couple hundred dollars but if you want to follow up with actual legal action on any kind of issue you are well into the thousands.

Also I’m not sure what OP wants. In a civil suit you need some kind of goal in mind ( return horse or pay more for horse).

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^^^ This.

Make sure the first and last names are repeated more than once.

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I took it that the attorneys here were opining that the situation may indeed have fraudulent aspects, not that legal action should be taken.

I got the impression that the OP just isn’t comfortable saying nothing when a horse she sold is being misrepresented so shortly after the sale, and I don’t blame him/her. :yes: What to do about it, I have no idea, but I hope there is a way the OP can find a way to expose the dishonesty.

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Exposing the dishonesty is different from seeking legal redress

I could imagine a successful civil case that rescheduled a cash settlement that forbid you to discuss the result publicly.

On the other hand you can go into SM wars on your own steam but such things can rebound on you and get you banned from groups or called a troll.