Suing a vet practice

Earlier this year we had a terrible experience with a big vet chain. Their crematorium lost our pet's ashes and they have done the sum total of nothing to give us any clarity on the situation. Their behaviour has frankly been insulting and very distressing.

We have tried mediation to get answers but this hasn't worked.

So my last recourse is legal action. I understand this is difficult on the grounds of emotional distress and wondered if anyone had any experience of this?
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  • mortgageFTB
    mortgageFTB Posts: 235
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    edited 18 December 2023 at 2:21PM
    Sorry to hear that - sounds distressing.

    What financial loss have you suffered/incurred as a result of this?
  • Nuno81
    Nuno81 Posts: 12
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    Sorry to hear that - sounds distressing.

    What financial loss have you suffered/incurred as a result of this?
    How would you go about calculating financial loss in this scenario?
  • pinkshoes
    pinkshoes Posts: 20,002
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    Sorry to hear they've lost your pets ashes.

    What is it exactly that you're suing them for? This should be your financial losses due to their negligence.

    If you're suing for hurt feelings, then I'm afraid it won't get you far and certainly won't help you move on.

    The best thing you can do it to leave very factual poor reviews for them and write them a stern letter making it clear how their negligence has made you feel. Hopefully they'll send a nice bunch of flowers and some wine to make up for it.

    If it's any consolation, a friend of mine worked in a crematorium and said that the ashes you get are usually some of your own animal...! At least they were honest and told you they'd lost them rather than giving you some random ashes!
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,152
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    Nuno81 said:
    Sorry to hear that - sounds distressing.

    What financial loss have you suffered/incurred as a result of this?
    How would you go about calculating financial loss in this scenario?
    Ball is in your court to validate the claim when you sue. 
  • Exodi
    Exodi Posts: 2,763
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    edited 18 December 2023 at 2:49PM
    Nuno81 said:
    Sorry to hear that - sounds distressing.

    What financial loss have you suffered/incurred as a result of this?
    How would you go about calculating financial loss in this scenario?
    I think mortgageFTB is trying to suggest you need to have incurred actual financial cost.

    E.g. you paid for an interment, lost wages from time off work related to the mistake, receipts for therapy, etc

    I'm assuming from your replies that there has not been any financial loss, but your question relates to compensation for emotional distress?
    Nuno81 said:
    We have tried mediation to get answers but this hasn't worked.
    Could you expand on this? Were they responsive? I don't want to form any conclusions as I know vets can be unsympathetic (I saw a thread earlier this year where the vet had accidentally put down the wrong animal...), but I know pet owners (especially in these circumstances) can be totally uncooperative.
    Know what you don't
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,675
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    Did you pay for an individual cremation?

    Here https://mypetsashes.co.uk/pet-bereavement/pet-dogs-ashes-lost/ is what appears to be a similar case to yours. The practice had failed to pass on to the crematorium that the customer had paid for individual cremation. Then, because the pet was cremated with others, as is routine, they could not identify individual ashes so the remains were described as 'lost'.

    If this is what happened in your case you should be able to claim for the extra cost you paid for individual cremation.
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,270
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    At the very least this is (presumably) a breach of contract, because they were meant to provide you with the ashes? Have they not even offered a refund of the original fee?
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,014
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    There was the US case where ashes (human) were lost and the court ordered them to pay $2m for general damages and $10m as punitive damages but we aren't in the UK and punitive damages are not allowed here. 

    It sounds like you have no special damages (pure financial loss which is what most claims talked about here are based on) and claiming "emotional pain" come under general damages and is fairly limited in the England and Wales. For example the compensation to a wife/husband for the death of their spouse is £15,120. So how would you compare the loss of ashes to the loss of your spouse of 20 years? 

    You can probably claim a breach of contract and therefore a refund of at least some of the fees for the cremation but any money for the pain, suffering and loss of amenities is going to be token
  • Nuno81 said:
    Sorry to hear that - sounds distressing.

    What financial loss have you suffered/incurred as a result of this?
    How would you go about calculating financial loss in this scenario?
    Receipts for things or services you paid for and didn't get, in part or in full.
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,277
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    edited 18 December 2023 at 4:53PM
    I would assume a price reduction could claimed for not performing the service with due care or skill (or for not fully performing the contract by not passing the ashes along). 

    Not sure how you’d quantify such a reduction but you’d hope a large chain wouldn’t want to go to through small claims and would instead offer something if you sent a letter before action requesting a reasonable amount.
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