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Answered in 5 minutes by:
5/27/2018
LegalPro54
LegalPro54, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,547
Experience: General practitioner with diverse legal experience.
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Hello and welcome. I may be able to help, but you have not provided much of an indication what your situation is. Can you tell me what is going on and clarify your specific question? Thank you in advance...

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Hello, I own a small pet store here in California. We purchase puppies locally and resell them. A customer purchased a Maltipoo (Maltese/Poodle) from us a few months ago. The customer ran a DNA test and turns out the pup has small percentages of some other breeds as well. We received a letter in the mail from the customers attorney today, the demand is for $5000, full refund, attorney fees, interest and punitive damages for fraud and misrepresentation. The pup was purchased for $1400 plus tax. The letter states we are not to contact the customer directly. This is the first we've heard of this as the customer has never reached out to us directly. Thank you.

Thank you for explaining the situation. Can you narrow down your question a bit? What specifically would you like to know?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Sure. Even though the letter states we are not to contact the customer directly, can we? And must we pay the $5000 demand? Thank you.

Thank you.

If you retained an attorney, your attorney could not contact the customer directly as the law prohibits attorneys from contacting parties whom they know to be represented. However, if you are not represented, the law generally does NOT require you to follow an attorney's instruction not to contact their client. That said, I'm not really sure what you would gain by disregarding the instruction to contact the attorney.

As for whether you have to pay, you never have to pay a demand. However, if you cannot settle this matter it's quite possible they will sue you in small claims court. If they do sue you in small claims court they would likely be entitled to a refund in exchange for returning the animal to you. Punitive damages would be very unlikely though, as that requires showing you engaged in conduct that was willful or malicious. Here, if the percent of other breeds was small, as you indicate it was, this was clearly an honest mistake. Thus, the customer's remedy is just going to be a breach of contract claim and the return of the money they paid for the dog.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications, and the information provided is not legal advice.

LegalPro54
LegalPro54, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thank you.

You are very welcome!

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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