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.