Latest insights from our experts
Sale of Goods Act and horses
Another week – another horse dispute. I mentioned in an earlier blog the new pre-purchase vetting report introduced last month. One suggestion included in the notes to the report is that the seller be asked to give a warranty with the horse. Well good luck with that! Don’t forget though that a business seller to a private buyer is already taken to warrant that the horse is “of satisfactory quality” and “fit for purpose”. What do these warranties actually mean?
Under the Sale of Goods Act, a dealer automatically warrants that the goods are:
- of satisfactory quality
- fit for the buyer’s purpose (if it was made known before purchase)
- as described by the seller
These warranties apply to a horse just as they would to a washing machine or any other “goods”. Fine for machines but what about horses?
- In the case of horses, satisfactory quality probably involves good general health, soundness in heart, eyes, wind and limb, freedom from vices and blemishes, safeness to ride and handle and general freedom from defects which you would not normally expect in a horse of that type and age etc.
- Fitness for purpose may have different requirements depending on the purpose. For example, a horse required for showjumping may need to have a high level of soundness but purely cosmetic blemishes may be irrelevant whereas a horse wanted for professional showing may need to be blemish and vice free.
- Compliance with description is more straightforward – what did it say on the tin (or in the advert)?
So a dealer may be in breach of one warranty but not the others or in breach of all of them. If any one of the warranties is breached, the buyer has a potential claim. The buyer may be able to reject the horse or claim damages or both.