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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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Hi, This is taking place in NC. A few months ago, I agreed

Resolved Question:

Hi,

This is taking place in NC. A few months ago, I agreed to purchase a horse. We had a contract on an amount of $2000. I put $1000 and agreed to make payments of $100 a month til paid in full. The owner turned out to be 17 years old after I signed the contract. I had no idea or I wouldn't have signed a contract with her. I started to find out a lot of lies, which I have print outs of. (amount she paid for horse, The training of the horse, how long she had him, etc) I talked with the previous owner about all this. I was in a trial period with the horse, and had another horse I wanted that was cheaper, so I asked the owner in text messages if she could lower the horse to $1500 and for her to pay for a thing call a "coggins test". She agreed to pay for the coggins test, but I was the one who ended up paying for it. She also agreed to do the $1500 if I would let her show the horse. I agreed but asked her for how long, and never got a response. On two different occasions I offered to let her show the horse, and twice she had something better to do. I have always paid the payments on time, and have the receipts from my checks to prove it. I have screenshots of all our conversations, and agreements that took place over text messages. The horse was advertised as being "beginner safe" and that is what I needed. He is not beginner safe, and I have the help and statement of the previous owners before the girl to prove that he wasn't. She also lied about his age in the contract. I have the ad as well that she put up. Because the horse is not how she claimed, I have decided to sell the horse. In the contract she never stated I couldn't sell the horse only if I defaulted on payments she could repo him and keep the money. She texted me because she refuses to ever answer a phone, saying she saw the ad and all of a sudden would like the full $2000 amount or she will come pick up the horse. I have held up my end on everything (offering to let her show just like we agreed in text messages for me to get him or $1500) , and she is trying to go back and forth with it. She is threatening to take me to court over the extra $500. I wanted a professionals thoughts on this. Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

Is there a specific question I could assist you with?

Customer:

Hi Dwayne, I'd like for you to review the statement that I have sent, and see what you think.

Dwayne B. :

I read through your facts and understand them.

Dwayne B. :

But I need you to ask specific questions, that way I can answer the concerns that you have.

Customer:

I do not know the rule in north carolina for entering into a contract with a minor. Is this contract void or voidable per the minor? I am in real estate for a living, but I am not sure how it works outside of real estate.

Dwayne B. :

The contract is void if the minor wants it to be. I think that you could also claim it was void since she misrepresented her age and so many other things. Typically it is only void if the minor wants it to be but since she didn't tell you she was underage until afterwards I think you could void it as well.

Dwayne B. :

There are very few contracts that are actually void from the beginning.

Dwayne B. :

All of the case law that I have seen deals with a contract where the adult knew the minor was underage.

Customer:

I assume she is going to say I knew about it, which will lead to a "he said, she said" debate. If she decides to void it herself, does that mean she has to give the money that I have paid thus far and I return the horse?

Dwayne B. :

Yes, it would essentially be a rescission. She has to give the money back and you have to give the horse back.

Dwayne B. :

Is she over 18 now?

Customer:

She is still 17 and does not turn 18 until next spring

Dwayne B. :

You may want to consider filing yourself to void the contract and you would have to file against her parent as next friend for her.

Dwayne B. :

The reason is...

Dwayne B. :

in a case like this the winner can recover attorney's fees and you are positioned better if you sue rather than if you respond to being sued.

Customer:

Right now the horse is up for sale, if she decides to void everything, what would happen with a situation like this? There was nothing stated that I couldn't sell the horse at any time.

Dwayne B. :

This one is a little tricky because it has the provision about her being able to "repo" the horse which inherently means you have the horse. So while it isn't written in there she may be able to claim that it is inherent in the contract. An adult wouldn't be able to claim that since any inconsistencies or ambiguities in the contract are construed against the person who drew up the contract. I am assuming that she is the one that provided the contract.

Customer:

I believe she went on the internet and printed it off.

Dwayne B. :

Since she provided it then it should be construed against her. However, I have never seen this scenario with a minor and so am not sure exactly how it would play out. My guess is the judge will just void the contract since there are so many issues.

Customer:

How would I go about filing against her for a void contract?

Dwayne B. :

If you want to do it yourself you would file it as Your Name vs. Her Parent's Name as next friend for Her Name

Dwayne B. :

I think you could do it in small claims court.

Dwayne B. :

There is a link on that page to another site that has info.

Dwayne B. :

But that is the official page

Customer:

Alright,Thank you for the link. Like you said this is a bit tricky, I have a potential buyer for the horse, but I do not want to sell if something can go against me. I assume that is something for a judge to decide if it was the right thing to do or not?

Dwayne B. :

Yes. Of course, if you take the money from the sale and pay the horse off then it isn't an issue.

Customer:

Right now I have paid $1200 on the horse, and will be paying the $300 next month to equal the $1500 we agreed. But, now she is wanting to change her "tune" and calling for the $2000. I have the text messages on screenshot, of her agreeing to the $1500. I know that the contract is technically void if she decides, but is it correct that she essentially made a new contract or a revision over text message with proof of her number, and it could hold up to her? I am trying to decide what my next move will be.

Dwayne B. :

Just as she doesn't have the capacity to make the original contract she wouldnt have the power to make a new one. The disadvantage to you on this is that you knew how old she was on the second one.

Dwayne B. :

Your best route would be to file the lawsuit and ask the court to declare the contract void and for you to get your money back and her get the horse back.

Dwayne B. :

You are taking a chance on every other route.

Customer:

I actually did not know the age at that time either. I did not know until after all the negotiating was over. I assume she did that on purpose but do not know for sure.

Dwayne B. :

Then you're back in the same place.

Customer:

That makes sense. It is very complicated. I think I will file the suit like you suggest.

Dwayne B. :

That is the safest route at this point.

Customer:

Thank you very much for your time, you have been a big help.

Dwayne B. :

You're very welcome and best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work.

Customer:

Certainly.

Dwayne B. :

Anything else I can help with before I exit to help others?

Dwayne B., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 27374
Experience: Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
Dwayne B. and 6 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for the Positive Rating. Please come back and visit us if you have any new questions and feel free to ask for me by placing “FOR DWAYNE B” in the subject line or as the first words of your question and I will pick up as soon as I see it.

Also, I’d ask you to consider issuing a high rating (9-10) when you receive your customer satisfaction survey as that ensures I can continue to assist people in this category.

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