The title pretty much says it all - I'm selling a saddle and have an interested party who wants to take it on trial for the weekend. Of course I understand why and am willing to do it to get the saddle sold, but there's always that "what if" voice in the back of my head.
So, how do I protect myself and my saddle? It's a mid-range, low 4 figures saddle, but it's in mint condition and quite nice so I want to make sure that it a. doesn't disappear and b. doesn't come back to me with damage. Should I write something up for us to both sign and if so, what should I include? Thanks for the help
"to live is the rarest thing in the world, most people merely exist."
I just sold a saddle on trial with a comprehensive trial agreement and full payment up front. I sent the saddle by courier and specific instructions on return if the saddle didn't work out. Pictures and video of the saddle before it left.
Luckily it worked out and the person loves the saddle.
Take pictures of your saddle before!
Take full payment.
Ask them NOT to clean your saddle after the trial if they don't like it and are bringing it back. (Have seen my fair share of weird cleaning techniques; one involving frikin' black shoe polish on a flap to 'fill' a big scratch....)
No riding with jeans.
I wouldn't go as far as tall boots only but...a 'friend' of mine tried a saddle I had for sale (not really expensive but really great shape) and her damn cheap half chaps rubbed/scratched quite badly the left flap of my saddle... and she decided not to buy it... grrrr.
Basically what everyone else has said. Write a VERY specific contract, and get an actual signature on it (I used fax), and document everything well. My experience was this: my conditions deterred some buyers, but the ones it didn't were great buyers and while there are horror stories out there, I'd had very positive experiences sending saddles out on trail. I always get full payment first. And I certainly understand where buyers are coming from, saddle fit is important for both horse and rider, which is why I've agreed to trails.
I have had a few used saddles on trial since my horse's back is Frankenhorse and nothing fits.
I have purchased the saddle, paid in full and signed a contract and the seller signs the contract agreeing to take it back within X number of days in same condition.
I had one shipped from VA and picked up one about 1 hr 15 minutes from home.
Both of them were ebay with no returns. However I told them how interested I was and that I could not buy without a trial. So in addition to the contract we both had ebay messages detailing the terms.
I was extremely careful with both saddles and quickly sent them back when they did not work out.
From a buyer standpoint I was also concerned that if I sent the saddle back in exactly the same condition would the seller refund the money. The contract was my protection too- and I used PayPal both times.
Just be very specific in your contract.
I am very grateful that both sellers let me try their saddles.
Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)
I just sold my Antares and she wanted a trial. This is the first time I've allowed one much less for a saddle of that price. She didn't have pay pal so mailed me a check. I found the bank locally and took it in and cashed it before mailing the saddle out. (cost $5 for a non bank member) I shipped the saddle with insurance since I didn't know until afterwards that it was going to a business (otherwise I generally don't bother) She ended up having it for about 3 weeks due to the weather and her lack of a covered arena which I understand as I don't have one anymore either. Since it rained for a good 4 to 5 days after she got the saddle I gave her about a week and a half before I contacted to see how it was going. She hadn't had a chance to try it yet so after another week or so she finally did and loved it. Its nice to be able to try it but at the same time as the seller it can be a pain to have to deal with shipping it back and forth and having it out of your possession.
I like the idea of bringing the saddle to her and staying with it if that's practical.
Otherwise, your conversations with the buyer beforehand tell you how they roll-- as business people and saddle parents who coddle their equipment or abuse it.
One thing that can help (both of you) is getting to know what has fit her horse/her in the past and what has not. Also, if your saddle is a common one, see if she can ride in another one local to her first. If she knows her stuff-- and has good reason to think yours will work, you have come a long way in making this sale work.
If possible, do a visit first with the saddle so you get an idea of whether it even has possibilities for the buyer first, then if they think they might want it, they pay in full in cash when they take the saddle. You offer a 7 to 10 day return policy (with the understanding that they return the saddle to you in *perfect* condition, otherwise they will not get their money back). Take plenty of pictures, to keep record of how the saddle left you! That way they can't write you a bad check and take off with your saddle, if the saddle is horribly damaged they can't just ship it back to you and disappear, and they get an idea of what the saddle is like before they have to put out a dime (that is the purpose of the visit). When you set up the meeting, be sure to ask that they do not ride in jeans and they do ride in tall boots if possible, otherwise in soft half-chaps or heck, even in jods and paddock boots if there are no other options. It's not like they'll be doing a huge long ride in it, just hopping on and taking it for a cruise around the ring to see whether it has remote possibilities.
This is what I did with my saddle before I consigned it and it worked. I took it out, the woman put it on her horse and it fit, she liked sitting in it. She paid me (cash) and I gave a 7-day return policy. Turns out the saddle didn't work for her when she rode in it, so she returned it, I returned her money, saddle was in great shape when I got it back (really all I had to do was buff it back up with a soft cloth) and I sent it on to the consignment place.
The last saddle I bought had a 72-hour trial period and I paid for the saddle up front so if I didn't like it I could bring it back within 72 hours and get a full refund, otherwise, no problem, I already owned it.
“Thoroughbreds are the best. They’re lighter, quicker, and more intelligent.” -George Morris
I agree about paying up front in full for the saddle and then offering a return within a specified time.
Be careful about accepting Paypal because if the buyer challenges the fee, you'll end up in a battle with them. You could easily end up in a situation where the saddle comes back to you damaged and Paypal still refunds their money.
I have sent saddles on trial and so far it's always worked out fine, but there is risk involved.