The buyer was refunded but they want a dog back

in Pets & Pet Care
23 replies 5.9K views
Good morning,

I wonder if you can help.

I sold someone a puppy, both of us in Scotland. The person was unhappy with the puppy and was unable to cope with the demand. I was concerned after the sale this wasn't a suitable home for a dog of this size and breed, as seems we were a bit misled about the circumstances of the buyer. I offered to take the dog back to reassess the problems with its behaviour. The buyer swayed from wanting to return /not wanting to return but admitted they could not cope with it and it was not fair to keep the dog and the dog needed to come back, at least temporarily. They were also threatening to re-home the dog themselves if they didn't get all the money back. This is not what our contract describes, but we were happy to give the full amount of money back.
When the puppy was returned (okay, we had to pick it up and a combined time of hours spent driving was 12!), I had to take it to the vet as it was showing signs of illness, also had to assess it's extreme fear agression by a professional behaviourist.
I wrote to the buyer offering a full refund (which is way beyond our contract of sales ) and after a few days they agreed. The full refund was sent and received.
They buyer contested the microchip transfer and the dog is now 'frozen' in their name, as they protested that they didn't return the dog to us willingly.

Then just over 1 month after accepting the refund the buyer sent a letter by a solicitor demanding the puppy back and offering to pay the refund back to me in exchange, saying they buyer did not accept the refund as a 'refund' and thought they would still have the dog back at some stage. The header of the solicitors letter is 'breach of contract'.

The solicitors letter gave me 2 days to return the dog and if that didn't happen it said this would proceed to court immediately.
Any advice ?
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  • DUTRDUTR Forumite
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    Trus wrote: »
    Good morning,

    I wonder if you can help.

    I sold someone a puppy, both of us in Scotland. The person was unhappy with the puppy and was unable to cope with the demand. I was concerned after the sale this wasn't a suitable home for a dog of this size and breed, as seems we were a bit misled about the circumstances of the buyer. I offered to take the dog back to reassess the problems with its behaviour. The buyer swayed from wanting to return /not wanting to return but admitted they could not cope with it and it was not fair to keep the dog and the dog needed to come back, at least temporarily. They were also threatening to re-home the dog themselves if they didn't get all the money back. This is not what our contract describes, but we were happy to give the full amount of money back.
    When the puppy was returned (okay, we had to pick it up and a combined time of hours spent driving was 12!), I had to take it to the vet as it was showing signs of illness, also had to assess it's extreme fear agression by a professional behaviourist.
    I wrote to the buyer offering a full refund (which is way beyond our contract of sales ) and after a few days they agreed. The full refund was sent and received.
    They buyer contested the microchip transfer and the dog is now 'frozen' in their name, as they protested that they didn't return the dog to us willingly.

    Then just over 1 month after accepting the refund the buyer sent a letter by a solicitor demanding the puppy back and offering to pay the refund back to me in exchange, saying they buyer did not accept the refund as a 'refund' and thought they would still have the dog back at some stage. The header of the solicitors letter is 'breach of contract'.

    The solicitors letter gave me 2 days to return the dog and if that didn't happen it said this would proceed to court immediately.
    Any advice ?

    I detect BS, for a start the letter may take 2 days to reach you, even if the courts had their time wasted with this pettiness, the may uphold the complaint (if there is a complaint).
  • TrusTrus Forumite
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    I have gone over all the correspondence after the refund was issued , to see how this could be understood as refund NOT instead of a dog back, and I failed to find anything that would equal to some misunderstanding. The buyer was helpful , talking about paperwork transfer etc. I am puzzled...
  • TrusTrus Forumite
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    Sorry not sure how to read to your comment. I calculated two days from the date we received the letter (the letter was sent the day before we received it)
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    Solicitors are paid to say what their client tells them to, whether reasonable or not.
    If the person chooses to take you to court, they can try, but they've had their money back so I really can't see they have a leg to stand on. You do have proof of the refund?
    What do they mean, they didn't give the dog to you "willingly?" I'm presuming you didn't batter the door down to get it back?
    Poor puppy, caught in the middle of all this.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • TrusTrus Forumite
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    Ok I see what you mean. I sent the refund into the bank acc provided. I said it was sent. They obviously received it as the solicitors letter said they are willing to return "the money that has been refunded "(which is a bit of joke, as that phrase contradics the sentence before that one which say the money 'refunded' wasn't a refund!?)
    No I didn't have to batter through the doors to get the dog back, it was all mutually agreed and in writing on messages. It was a positive communication and the buyer saw the real benefit of reassesing and trying to retrain the dog) x
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    Tempted though I would be to tell them to jog on, I'd just put them on ignore and leave the ball in their court.
    If they thought you were taking the puppy back to reassess and then giving it back again, I can't see why they thought they were getting their money back. And if you have messages to back that up they're on a bit of a hiding to nothing.
    Not sure where that leaves you with the microchip, though.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • DCFC79DCFC79 Forumite
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    I wouldn't hand the dog back, after all you say the buyer said they couldn't cope with it. I'm sure there are other dogs for sale closer to them.
  • Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    Trus wrote: »
    Good morning,

    I wonder if you can help ...

    Then just over 1 month after accepting the refund the buyer sent a letter by a solicitor demanding the puppy back and offering to pay the refund back to me in exchange, saying they buyer did not accept the refund as a 'refund' and thought they would still have the dog back at some stage. The header of the solicitors letter is 'breach of contract'.

    The solicitors letter gave me 2 days to return the dog and if that didn't happen it said this would proceed to court immediately.
    Any advice ?

    Welcome to MSE. :) The 'letter before action' is an MSE staple.

    :think:

    As a professional dog breeder, you must have a filing drawer packed with letters, papers and documents, yes?

    Buy a ream of cheap white A4 copier paper and a 'black' ink cartridge for your computer printer. Make a brew. :coffee:

    Photocopy or print everything even remotely relevant (stud dog and b1tch vet history/ kennel club/ invoices/ certificates/ every kind of insurance/ the job lot).

    Rubber stamp/ date/ initial each page. If rubber stamps and ink pads are now extinct, order a miniature dog paw or bone-shaped craft hole punch.

    Mail a stack of documents at least an inch thick to the solicitor, Signed For (keep the receipt from the Post Office).

    Put your feet up and have another brew. :beer:
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • edited 4 November 2019 at 4:04PM
    Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    edited 4 November 2019 at 4:04PM
    If you doubt my methodology, my wisdom, my sanity even, here is why I advise due diligence .....

    It will cost a pretty penny for a solicitor to read through the remotely relevant to get to the relevant. And it will take a wee while for a paralegal or administrator to scan and upload it all electronically. :whistle:

    Please read about your equivalent system on the Citizens Advice Sotland website or similar BUT here in England a small claims action in the County Court is inexpensive and relatively easy for anyone organised and literate to threaten or even complete the forms and initiate.

    Oftentimes the potential defendant gives up/ pays up at the 'Letter before Action' stage or the first hint of official/ court documentation. They are expecting you to be scared, poorly informed, imagine it will be expensive to defend and win and worse to lose (nope).

    They are not expecting - unless they follow MSE if so :wave: - a stack of documents an inch thick. :D
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • TrusTrus Forumite
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    Oh my gosh I love this idea!
    I will send health tests documents for both sire and dam and thier titles and competitions results too !
    I am not a professional dog breeder, it's my hobby. I only bred this litter because wanted to keep two puppies (well, one of them kind of lives with my friend, but still).

    I have spoken to a solicitor today but they wanted £750 deposit down before they even look at the paperwork. They were not sure what the understanding was when they handed the dog over. Was it permanently or temporarily etc. I had no clue whatsoever myself as I didn't really need an exatra puppy (had still 4 left at 14 weeks old then!) And the buyer kept changing their mind about returning it or keeping it. They said it themselves it was unfair on the dog for them to keep that dog. The kind of person that would contradict themselves in the same thread of WhatsApp messages, first we arrange where to meet to hand the dog over, start discussing the time and then they say 'i never said I would be handing the puppy over to you ' ?!? As if none of the above was ever said.
    Thanks for your advice though
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