Fraud/contract question

I recently bought a baby horse that was advertised as registered and even had a registration number listed in the ad. Then when we were signing the bill of sale the owner wrote in “registration is buyer’s responsibility” and I argued that she had advertised the baby as registered (and it costs $250 to register the baby). Anyway, she got snippy about it and since I have to leave the baby at her place for the next few months until it is weaned from its mother I didn’t want to get on her bad side, so I signed. After I bring my baby home in a few months, can I still go after the seller to get my $250 back since she fraudulently advertised the horse or was that all negated when I signed the bill of sale stating that the registration was my responsibility?


I think that in the USA, you have 3 days to go back on a deal with or without a contract. As far a a fraudulent deal goes, perhaps it is different. Ask your lawyer to know for sure.

No, you don’t. This is a common misconception that started when there were some laws to protect consumers against highly aggressive door-to-door salespeople. The 3-day rule, when it applies, generally applies only to sales that take place in the consumer’s home. There are some federal laws about this, and also state laws.


As for the OP, I think you need a lawyer to answer the question, but fees could hit that $250 mark pretty quick. But it was an error to sign anything that conflicted with your understanding of the transaction. I do not know if a bill of sale is legally merely a receipt, or in itself forms a contract. What does the bill of sale say? Do you have a copy with her signature on it?

A best-case scenario would be after she delivers the horse, you sue her for $250 and legal fees and win (you can’t demonstrate damages until the transaction is completed). A worst-case scenario would be you sue her and lose, incurring what would almost certainly be more than $250 in legal fees. For that small amount you could probably go to small claims court without a lawyer but would still need some legal advice beforehand.

The other-case scenario is you tell her you’re cancelling the contract unless she covers the registration. At that point, she will decide whether to sue you.

I still very much want to keep the horse. That’s why I signed the bill of sale. I also wanted her to treat the horse nicely while he was staying on her property. I just thought it was unfair of her to advertise him as registered when she knew he wasn’t/wouldn’t be registered by her. The bill of sale is about a page long, it has the date when he will be weaned and all of that stuff on it, and both of our signatures.

While IAAL, this is not legal advice, you are not my client, I don’t practice this type of law anymore, etc. You should go see a lawyer if you really feel wronged.

Some things to consider:
However, do note that you wanted to keep the horse. The facts may present themselves as another bargain taking place (the extra $250 to register). Does the registration or lack thereof change the good being sold? If the answer is no, you might have a more difficult time with a lawsuit. When I opened this thread, I thought you were talking of registration as a means to show the validity of something, like dogs and the American Kennel Club.

Also, the fee involved will most likely dictate that this goes to small claims court (unless your jurisdiction decrees that horses are something that needs the full legal process).

Thank you mazinger_z! I was hoping a lawyer would come along and tell me “don’t bother” or “yes, you have a case for small claims” but now I’m just kind of more confused. The horse registration is like a dog registration. Usually, the breeder is supposed to register the foals she breeds sometime in the first month. I bought him after he was a month old but when I called the registry to see if there was a problem they said they didn’t really care which person registered the horse and it doesn’t really matter if he doesn’t get registered until the end of the year.

Does the registration change the good being sold? I don’t think so? It is like the AKC registration with dogs… A horse with papers would be somewhat more valuable for resale than a mutt horse. I don’t plan on reselling this horse, but I definitely will get him registered anyway. I’m still confused though about whether I should just pay it and move on with my life or whether the breeder could technically still “owe” the registration fee.

Since you want the horse (pics, please? I wanna see baby horsie!!) I would just let it go and register him yourself - then warn anyone who asks you where you got him what kind of business the woman practices. Do you have a copy of the ad where she said he was registered? If you do, keep it - if she hears you are badmouthing her you may need it to prove you aren’t lying. If you didn’t keep the ad, see if you can get another copy from wherever you got the first one. Anything you do to her is probably going to cost more than the registration fee.

widdle bitty baby horsies…

I do have a copy of the original ad printed out. She changed the ad later to say “no” on the registration part and she also raised his price in the ad and left him “for sale” for a while after I purchased him. Oh well. She keeps saying what a great deal I got and how this is the nicest baby her horse has ever had. I think she decided she sold him too cheaply and that’s why she then decided to back out on the registration.

I’d post a photo for you but I don’t have a photobucket or webshots account or anything.

First - if you’re really worried/annoyed about this, see a lawyer. I’m not a lawyer - I hope I’ll be one in a couple of years, but I’m not there yet. I’m especially not a contracts lawyer, and Ford willing, I never will be one. This is not legal advice - it’s me, doing the law nerd thing and looking at your problem for fun.

All that said - I think you’re pretty much out of luck. The problem is that you signed the contract with the new term - the one about registration being your responsibility - after the owner just “got snippy”. The law recognizes that your agreement to the terms of a contract can be compelled a few different ways, and it won’t hold you to that contract under those circumstances, but it’s a high hurdle to clear. I don’t think you can do that. You said you didn’t press your argument with the owner because you wanted to make sure she’d take care of your horse over the next few months - did she give any indication that she wouldn’t if you kept arguing? It would be one thing you said “your honor, I only agreed to the new term because she said/implied that if I raised a stink about it, she’d mistreat my horse.” It’s quite another to claim you were forced to sign an undesirable contract by an unfounded, fanciful fear - and it sounds, forgive me, like that’s what you had here.

What all this means is that, so far as a court is concerned, you consented to the new term fair and square.

I’m kind of drunk, though, and I’m probably wrong. See a lawyer!