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BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  I am a business attorney. I represent individuals and companies with all business related matters.
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I have paid a $500 deposit to a dog breeder 3 months ago (Full

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I have paid a $500 deposit to a dog breeder 3 months ago (Full price is $1,500 + I am supposed to pay for shipping accross the country, these dogs are not a popular breed). We have no formal contract, but I think I can treat our correspondence and one phone conversation recording as such. Am i right? The breeder let me know at the time I promptly transfered the deposit to her was non-refundable. Nothing else about the deposit. I was supposed to pay the rest of the price and shipping at the time of sale when the puppy is around 3 months old. During the three months the breeder was not responsive to genuine and open questions I asked, did not provide the pictures of puppy's to the extent I asked, then she told me I offended her with my questions and that I was rude... May 8th we had a phone conversation that I recorded (because of her ignoring my questions in writing) where I asked when I should plan to get a puppy because I needed to get time off from work to accomodate the puppy and plan for my vacation. She said she understood, told me it would happen around late May, told me she would let me know as we needed to coordinate shipping. During the remainder of the month I repeatedely asked her questions in writing about it, no answer. On May 30th I mentioned the puppy was supposed to arrive in May and she still did not get back with me by then, which I considered unreasonable. May 31st she replied - ok, let's get the process started. In short, the puppy did not arrive in May, I mentioned it to her, she got offended with that too. She told me that I paid a non-refundable deposit and asked if I still wanted the puppy. I said yes and we discussed the shipping arrangements. But, 2 days later she is telling me since I was rude (to her understanding), she is thinking to reconsider selling the puppy to me. That is fine with me too (less drama in my life with the breeder that lacks care, transparency, communication and punctuality), as long I get my deposit back. She did not mention the return of the deposit yet, but I don't think it is going to be a problem at this point. Everything we have discussed was in writing, except for the phone conversation that I recorded. My question is, can I hold her liable for breach of contract when I paid the non-refundable (according to her) deposit and she changes her mind not to sell me the puppy. Does the non-refundable deposit bind her to sell me the puppy we both identified and agreed on? If I will have to get the puppy somewhere else, will I be entitled for the difference in price, additional shipping and other costs I would incur to get another puppy? I understand it is an area of contract law, but are there lawyers that deal with animal disputes? I am in TX and the breeder is in VT.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  BizIPEsq. replied 1 year ago.

BizIPEsq. :

Hello, I will be assisting you

BizIPEsq. :

Your email interaction can most certainly be considered a contract.

BizIPEsq. :

In addition your oral discussions can too be considered part of the agreement.

BizIPEsq. :

Though the fee may be "non-refundable" the breeder cannot cancel the transaction and claim the fee is non refundable at the very least it would be a breach of the agreement you had and could even be considered fraud

BizIPEsq. :

In this situation a concept called specific performance (i.e. buyer can compel a seller to deliver the specific goods the buyer bargained for) can be used. Therefore you will be in your right to ask a court with jurisdiction over the breeder to compel delivery of the specific puppy in question.

BizIPEsq. :

As far damages if you obtain a different puppy, that would be a more difficult claim to make but you can certainly make it and see if the court agrees with you.

BizIPEsq. :

there are attorneys that practice animal law, you can inquire with the local bar association. To compel the breeder to deliver you the puppy, you would need to sue in her home state of VT.

BizIPEsq. :

I trust this answered all your questions

BizIPEsq. :

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BizIPEsq. :

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Customer:

I do not think she will hold the deposit if the does not perform. As I understand she wants to send the money back to me.

Customer:

I am not questioning the deposit being refundable or non refundable for me. If I cancel, then it is non-refundable, I understand that.

Customer:

Does it work both ways though? Does this deposit bind her? Or she just can change her mind and give the deposit back to me and consider the deal done? Does she have a right to do that?

Customer:

Is there anything in the law that she can use to send back the deposit and not deliver the dog just because she claims I was rude?

Customer:

In a month the puppy will not fit the size kennel we agreed on had it been sent now. If she waits longer I will be paying higher fees for the kennel and airfare. Will I be entitled to the difference because of her sending the puppy later then the time agreed upon?

BizIPEsq. :

Texas law does not have specific statues about transacting business with breeders. In the eyes of the law animals are personal property.

BizIPEsq. :

There are two kinds of properties

BizIPEsq. :

ordinary and unique. Ordinary is something that is replaceable. Unique is something that is not replaceable (such as art, real estate and to some degree puppies because every puppy is unqiue)

BizIPEsq. :

with unique properties you can ask for "specific performance" which means that you can ask a court to compel the seller to enter into the transaction and have her sell you the puppy you agreed on

BizIPEsq. :

as noted you would have to do it in VT because that is the only court that has personal jurisdiction over her

BizIPEsq. :

you best recourse now is either come to an agreement with her or sue her in VT. You would be able to seek damages (such as higher shipping cost) that resulted from her breach

Customer:

Ok, thank you. How about the court costs, legal fees? Trips to VT?

BizIPEsq. :

you would be able to ask for those and convince the court that they are reasonable.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX read on specific performance. I remember it from Webster;s Business Law book from college. Have a nice evening.

BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience: I am a business attorney. I represent individuals and companies with all business related matters.
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