How the law views a dog
The law considers dogs to be ‘chattels’ – items of property other than land. Dogs are viewed as tangible goods which can be bought and sold or given away. Consequently, any dispute arising from the sale or gift of a dog is likely to be dealt with by the courts in exactly the same manner as an action involving any other ‘goods’ e.g. a washing machine or a car.
Private sale or consumer sales?
The law differentiates between sales by a Trader to a consumer and similar transaction between private individuals. For sales by a trader, consumers have additional statutory protection in the forms of terms which are implied into a contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015). For such consumer contracts the goods must be:-
- of satisfactory quality
- fit for purpose
- as described by the seller
The buyer must prove to the court that the seller was selling as a “trader” and that they bought the dog as a consumer. Under the CRA 2015 a consumer has the right to reject goods which are not of satisfactory quality, fir for purpose, or as described within a 30-day period and to demand a refund of the purchase price. After than 30 days has expired this entitlement to a full refund ends.
The buyer may require the seller to remedy any fault (if possible) or to replace the ‘goods’ – tis may not be considered acceptable by the buyer who is likely to have already formed a close bond with the dog.is a question of fact and degree as to whether a court may consider an issue such as a dog’s temperament to be a fault sufficient to constitute a dog ‘not of satisfactory quality’ or ‘fit for purpose’. Arguably if a dog has been described as having a temperament which is clearly does not display then it may be considered as ‘not a described’ but this will depend on the evidence.
If the buyer is not able to prove that the seller was selling in his capacity as a ‘trader’ to the buyer as a ‘consumer’ the CRA 2015 will not apply. In these cases there are no implied conditions and the legal principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is likely to apply which will mean that the buyer is unlikely to have at legal remedy.
Legal Aid is highly unlikely for a civil case in which case you are either going to have to pursue it yourself of by paying for Solicitors to act on your behalf.