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Managing Disputes : A Guide for Professional Equestrians

By The Equine Law Firm

Unfortunately, for all of those working in this industry, disputes will inevitably arise. We set out below our guidance in respect of how to deal with a complaint or claim.

Managing Disputes : A Guide for Professional Equestrians

Unfortunately, for all of those working in this industry, disputes will inevitably arise. Albeit that you would never knowingly sell a horse which was not the correct fit for the purchaser, horses can react badly to certain changes, they can become injured or can develop habits. Purchasers will be sceptical and panicked if a horse transpires not to be suitable for their needs, and of course, you will be their first port of call for redress.

We set out below our guidance in respect of how to deal with a complaint or claim.

  1. Always remember that anything which you write could end up being read by a Judge deciding your case. For that reason, you should not reply in anger or haste to any messages, e-mails or letters from a disgruntled customer. Consider the position carefully and respond in a measured and professional manner.
  2. Don’t put off dealing with complaints, particularly if Court proceedings have been threatened, or have been issued. The purchaser could secure a county court judgment in default against you, which is more difficult to deal with.
  3. Know the potential implications for you. If a claim threatened is for less than £10,000, then the purchaser is unlikely to be able to recover legal fees from you, even if they are successful with their claim. This may be a significant factor for them in deciding whether to pursue you. If the claim is for more than £10,000 (note that the claim could include additional expenses, not just the price paid for the horse) then the purchaser’s legal fees are also potentially recoverable from you.
  4. Gather and preserve evidence. Give consideration to what will be available to you in order to disprove any untrue allegations.
  5. Understand the requirements of the Court process, or seek legal advice. If you become involved in Court proceedings, a Judge is likely to issue a strict timetable, providing dates by which certain documents must be prepared and exchanged. Failure to meet these deadlines can have severe consequences.
  6. It may not always be proportionate or necessary to invest in legal representation. You may decide that you wish to represent yourself in respect of any claim made against you. We can offer cost effective unbundled packages to assist and advise you, including representation at hearings or preparation of Court documents.

If you require help or guidance in respect of a complaint or claim, contact The Equine Law Firm for an informal and confidential discussion on 0333 339 8028.

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