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Who's right, the seller or me?

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  • Who's right, the seller or me?

    Long time lurker but first time poster. I've read several posts about sales gone wrong and didn't think I would be the one ever posting. Was wondering the opinions out there on this scenario and the general consensus of the ethics of when a sales agreement should be honored. I had looked at several yearlings from a farm in Pittstown, NJ for a project and seemed to have a good rapport with the owner who showed us the four she had for sale. We spent a good deal of time discussing our plans and which one of the yearlings she felt might be the best fit. While all seemed like nice babies she indicated that the one gelding was the most laid back and easiest to work with. We drove home, and after discussing logistics texted her the same night with an offer. After some negotiating we agreed on a price and I told her I would call the vet the next morning to set up a vetting. I agreed to use her vet as she said he was coming out the next day. I spoke with the vet the next morning and told him I would like a basic exam, and full X-rays, as well as the castration to be done since the colt would already be sedated for x-rays. He agreed but then said that he did not think he would have enough time that day but would set up with the owner for first thing Monday morning. On Sunday afternoon the owner texted me that she had received a full price offer on him and that I could either come up in price or take another one of her yearlings for a reduced price. I chose not to do either. What is considered the standard of when an agreement should be honored? We had agreed on a price and the only reason there was a delay in the vetting was because he ran out of time on a Friday and agreed to do it first thing that Monday. In the meantime she apparently continued showing the colt we had agreed to purchase and took another offer the day before our scheduled vetting. I have never run into this before and in my mind it is both unethical and unprofessional. Am I wrong?

  • #2
    Originally posted by KEE123 View Post
    Long time lurker but first time poster. I've read several posts about sales gone wrong and didn't think I would be the one ever posting. Was wondering the opinions out there on this scenario and the general consensus of the ethics of when a sales agreement should be honored. I had looked at several yearlings from a farm in Pittstown, NJ for a project and seemed to have a good rapport with the owner who showed us the four she had for sale. We spent a good deal of time discussing our plans and which one of the yearlings she felt might be the best fit. While all seemed like nice babies she indicated that the one gelding was the most laid back and easiest to work with. We drove home, and after discussing logistics texted her the same night with an offer. After some negotiating we agreed on a price and I told her I would call the vet the next morning to set up a vetting. I agreed to use her vet as she said he was coming out the next day. I spoke with the vet the next morning and told him I would like a basic exam, and full X-rays, as well as the castration to be done since the colt would already be sedated for x-rays. He agreed but then said that he did not think he would have enough time that day but would set up with the owner for first thing Monday morning. On Sunday afternoon the owner texted me that she had received a full price offer on him and that I could either come up in price or take another one of her yearlings for a reduced price. I chose not to do either. What is considered the standard of when an agreement should be honored? We had agreed on a price and the only reason there was a delay in the vetting was because he ran out of time on a Friday and agreed to do it first thing that Monday. In the meantime she apparently continued showing the colt we had agreed to purchase and took another offer the day before our scheduled vetting. I have never run into this before and in my mind it is both unethical and unprofessional. Am I wrong?
    I feel that until money changes hands, the seller not only can continue to show the horse but should continue to show the horse. Anything can happen before the sale to prevent it from going through. For example, if there was something on the vet exam which you felt changed the issue and the seller disagreed and felt it was a minor issue, you could have backed out.

    Also, from a legal standpoint, I have been taught (I'm not a lawyer though) that for a contract to be binding there must be consideration given. In most cases that means money. If you had paid a deposit I would feel different about your situation and say that you had a binding contract.

    I think that the seller did the correct ethical thing by contacting you before she sold to the other buyer and giving you the option and first choice.

    Another thing which has nothing to do with your question but which seems odd to me: is it standard to perform a surgery on a horse which you don't own? I guess you expected the x-rays and vet check to be fine, but exactly how does that work? Do you pay the seller cash during the vet appointment as soon as you see the x-rays and before the horse starts to recover from the sedation? It just seems like an unnecessary complication and risk to undertake the castration on a horse you either didn't own, or would only have owned for a few minutes.

    Also, are horses always sedated for x-rays? Mine had one and she was not sedated, she just stood calmly, but it was a simple foot x-ray so this is all unknown territory for me.
    "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

    Comment


    • #3
      I wouldn't allow anyone to geld my colt during a sales vetting. That seems insane.

      you said he was a gelding initially, but then talk about having him castrated during the vetting.
      Let me apologize in advance.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the owner was very wrong. You’d agreed on a price and set up vetting plans. To continue to show/offer him after that without letting you know and/or asking for a deposit was unethical. Chalk it up to the crappy side of horse buying.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

        Comment


        • #5
          OP, up to this point is it correct to say that you have not spent any money with the PPE vet? When you said that the PPE vet "ran out of time" was that because he didn't ever make it to your barn and rescheduled? Or he started the PPE and said he would have to come back later to geld the colt?

          What did the seller communicate to you prior to the PPE? Did she ask for a deposit? Did you sign a sales agreement?

          If the two of you agreed on a price, but no contract was signed, then unfortunately, this is the cost of doing business with small-scale breeders or sellers. Large operations cannot afford to play these kind of games or they get a bad reputation.

          When I bought my horse, I knew he would not stay on the market long and that other people were looking at him. I waited for a week after trying him, called the seller and made an offer. I scheduled the PPE two days out because that was the earliest that I could get my vet out,. I asked the seller if they wanted a deposit and they said no, don't worry about it. I'm sure there were other people looking at this horse and would have paid full asking price (I offered about 10% less), but if the seller would have backed out like happened in your case, they would end up getting a bad reputation. This person is very well known in their discipline and makes a living buying and selling horses and they are very good at it. They are very protective of their reputation.

          Comment


          • #6
            while the seller did call the OP to offer her the opportunity to counteroffer, when people do that with me in the horse world, I walk away. It creates a very bad impression when people do it.

            Regarding castration/PPE, the answer is "it depends". I bought a weaning last year and he was gelded at the PPE. The breeder advertised that they would pay for USEF registration, gelding the colts, etc. the SELLER in my case made the decision to pay the PPE vet to geld the colt at the same time. It saved the seller a farm call. By the time I had paid for the colt and arranged for shipping, the horse had healed well and was ready to travel (ie no complications). So yes, sometimes castration happens at the PPE but when it does it's more common for the seller to do it.

            Originally posted by PeteyPie View Post

            I feel that until money changes hands, the seller not only can continue to show the horse but should continue to show the horse. Anything can happen before the sale to prevent it from going through. For example, if there was something on the vet exam which you felt changed the issue and the seller disagreed and felt it was a minor issue, you could have backed out.

            Also, from a legal standpoint, I have been taught (I'm not a lawyer though) that for a contract to be binding there must be consideration given. In most cases that means money. If you had paid a deposit I would feel different about your situation and say that you had a binding contract.

            I think that the seller did the correct ethical thing by contacting you before she sold to the other buyer and giving you the option and first choice.

            Another thing which has nothing to do with your question but which seems odd to me: is it standard to perform a surgery on a horse which you don't own? I guess you expected the x-rays and vet check to be fine, but exactly how does that work? Do you pay the seller cash during the vet appointment as soon as you see the x-rays and before the horse starts to recover from the sedation? It just seems like an unnecessary complication and risk to undertake the castration on a horse you either didn't own, or would only have owned for a few minutes.

            Also, are horses always sedated for x-rays? Mine had one and she was not sedated, she just stood calmly, but it was a simple foot x-ray so this is all unknown territory for me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
              while the seller did call the OP to offer her the opportunity to counteroffer, when people do that with me in the horse world, I walk away. It creates a very bad impression when people do it.

              Regarding castration/PPE, the answer is "it depends". I bought a weaning last year and he was gelded at the PPE. The breeder advertised that they would pay for USEF registration, gelding the colts, etc. the SELLER in my case made the decision to pay the PPE vet to geld the colt at the same time. It saved the seller a farm call. By the time I had paid for the colt and arranged for shipping, the horse had healed well and was ready to travel (ie no complications). So yes, sometimes castration happens at the PPE but when it does it's more common for the seller to do it.


              How about the sedation? Are horses sedated during a PPE or during x-rays? What parts of the body are usually x-rayed for a PPE?
              "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

              Comment


              • #8
                It entirely depends but as I recall we did sedate rather feral young horses for xrays.
                Let me apologize in advance.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is a close one. You had no written contract. Did you have an oral contract with a condition precedent, or no contract at all, well, that's hard to say. I assume you had no explicit discussions with the seller.

                  Legal or not, it's shady and would rub me the wrong way. You'd reached an oral agreement on price pending vet check, which was promptly scheduled. Without a deposit/contract, I wouldn't expect the seller to stop showing the horse, but I absolutely would expect the seller to honor my price if the vet check went well and not use a second-in-line potential purchaser to re-negotiate price with me. If I failed to schedule the PPE promptly, or didn't like something in the PPE and walked, or didn't like something in the PPE and tried to re-negotiate price - seller can move on the next buyer in line.

                  On the other issue, I wouldn't allow a buyer to geld my colt until the wire cleared the bank - which most certainly won't have happened during the PPE.

                  Yes, horses are often sedated for x-rays during the PPE. Maybe if you're just doing hocks on a chill schoolmaster, you'll skip it. But if you're doing a full set, or shooting a baby, or a hot or spooky horse, it's just easier/safer for everyone. Not to mention that the PPE vet should, in an ideal world, have no prior familiarity with the horse.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I guess I should clarify. Part of our negotiated price was that I would pay for the castration, which the owner had been planning on. The vet said that since he sedates for x-rays it would be a good time to do the castration if the vetting/xrays were clear. I understand the point that no money changed hands. We live a state away and reached the agreement later in the evening. The vetting was supposed to happen the next day when the vet was at the farm doing some other castrations, but he reached me later in the day and said he had run out of time. The owner never asked for a deposit which in retrospect I should have sent her, although I feel she would have just refunded it. I know legally, etc. she is not in the wrong and she did contact me and say I could pay the higher price, but at that time I was caught by surprise and not sure what exactly was going on with the scenario, but it did not seem to be an ethical way to conduct business. Just the opinion of a disappointed buyer wanna be.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sadly, until there has been consideration and reliance, no contract (even oral) is in effect. You could litigate for your PPE costs if you like.
                      kenyagirl

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think the seller was wrong. Once you involve a vetting, IMO that's a near sale, and the seller should've told the 2nd buyer that a sale was pending but if something happened, she'd let them know. I've been casually looking at horses and the 1st horse - the breeder told me she had others interested but since I showed interest and tried the horse first, she would give me first option to purchase (I had agreed to her the price so that was not an issue). I really respected and appreciated that the breeder had that attitude and if it came down to it, I would've given the seller a deposit to hold the horse

                        Of interest a lawyer friend of mine once looked at horse, set up the vetting. On the day of the vetting, friend called vet to see how it went. Vet said oh the seller cancelled it. Huh? Turns out the seller sold the horse to someone else. Friend did not think too kindly of that breach. Let just say after she got thru with the seller, she got a different horse from him, a companion horse and a truck and trailer (old but useable). And yes, she is an attorney.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would not allow or have done any surgery during a ppe. This seems a wildly unnecessary risk, particularly for the seller.
                          Let me apologize in advance.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                            Let just say after she got thru with the seller, she got a different horse from him, a companion horse and a truck and trailer (old but useable). And yes, she is an attorney.
                            And from the other side he got rid of a worthless horse and some stuff he wasn't using and got paid in the process.
                            Let me apologize in advance.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As an eternal cynic and a New Jersey native myself, I am inclined to think that there was something fishy happening here. Was there really another buyer, or was this a ploy to get the full asking price for this horse? And wouldn't the vet want to do the PPE first so he could then focus on castrating the horses that he was originally there for? So that he could have all that equipment out and ready to go? Why go snip, snip, PPE, snip when you can go PPE, snip, snip, snip?

                              And as the seller I would want the PPE done first so that I could get the money for the horse I was trying to sell as soon as possible, UNLESS I knew I had another potential buyer coming to see the horse and that would pay full price. So at best, the seller wasn't being transparent with you, which is bad business and I personally wouldn't tolerate.

                              Everything that the seller did was within her rights to do, but if I were in OP's shoes I would have done the exact same thing and walked away.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree, there's something fishy here.

                                I would never ask the seller's vet to do the PPE. Your OP gave me the impression that the seller and the vet agreed on something between themselves, maybe to hold out for the higher offer, so the vet told you he didn't have time to geld the colt that day. That just sounds off to me.

                                IMO it would be best to have your vet or a disinterested vet do the PPE.
                                Rack on!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This.

                                  Also, there is no right or wrong really since no money had been exchanged, but I agree with all below from PeteyPie. If you had left a deposit then that is a game changer... By the way, what was the price difference?



                                  I feel that until money changes hands, the seller not only can continue to show the horse but should continue to show the horse. Anything can happen before the sale to prevent it from going through. For example, if there was something on the vet exam which you felt changed the issue and the seller disagreed and felt it was a minor issue, you could have backed out.

                                  Also, from a legal standpoint, I have been taught (I'm not a lawyer though) that for a contract to be binding there must be consideration given. In most cases that means money. If you had paid a deposit I would feel different about your situation and say that you had a binding contract.

                                  I think that the seller did the correct ethical thing by contacting you before she sold to the other buyer and giving you the option and first choice.

                                  Another thing which has nothing to do with your question but which seems odd to me: is it standard to perform a surgery on a horse which you don't own? I guess you expected the x-rays and vet check to be fine, but exactly how does that work? Do you pay the seller cash during the vet appointment as soon as you see the x-rays and before the horse starts to recover from the sedation? It just seems like an unnecessary complication and risk to undertake the castration on a horse you either didn't own, or would only have owned for a few minutes.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I am part of the crowd that thinks that nothing stated makes me think there is something nefarious going on here.

                                    Sure, there was a lack of communication which caused a problem. But the seller is not wrong.

                                    If the OP wanted the horse to not be available for others while they waited for the PPE or such then something needed to be asked/confirmed by the OP.

                                    The only way for people to be on the same page is to make sure you are on the same page, not assume things.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                                      I am part of the crowd that thinks that nothing stated makes me think there is something nefarious going on here.

                                      Sure, there was a lack of communication which caused a problem. But the seller is not wrong.

                                      If the OP wanted the horse to not be available for others while they waited for the PPE or such then something needed to be asked/confirmed by the OP.

                                      The only way for people to be on the same page is to make sure you are on the same page, not assume things.
                                      Agreed.
                                      I don't hold horses without a signed contract and a deposit. I would not expect anything different from a seller I'm trying to buy from.

                                      Also color me confused about doing a castration during a PPE.
                                      "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM

                                      http://www.mmeqcenter.com/sale.html

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If the potential buyer has not signed a contract and paid a deposit, then the seller can, and should, continue to market the horse. If the seller gets an offer/better offer from a new buyer, the polite and ethical thing to do is exactly what the seller in this case did: call the initial potential buyer and offer them the opportunity to meet/exceed the new offer.

                                        IMO, the seller in this case did nothing wrong. How many posts have been made here by sellers complaining about potential buyers flaking out/disappearing at the last moment? It's not uncommon. A seller can't afford to hold a horse without a signed contract and some cash in hand.
                                        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                        that's even remotely true."

                                        Homer Simpson

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