Advice to Buyers

View it. Always go and see what you are purchasing and try it out for whatever you want it for. Don't be afraid to ask to catch a horse in a field, drive in traffic, test drive a car, etc... whatever matters to you. Ask the seller to ride and drive first so you can see what the horse is like and how they handle it prior to you getting on. Be prepared to visit more than once. It is a good idea to take someone experienced with you for an unemotional opinion. If you are running late or cannot make the appointment let the seller know. Do not pay any money without viewing first.

Vet it. Once deciding that you want to make a purchase it is a good idea to get it checked by a professional eg vet, AA, RAC, etc... Any faults found need not be a deal breaker but could be a point of negotiation on price. You can ask to see a horse's veterinary record. An HPI check on motorised vehicle is also recommended (make sure it checks for logbook loans).

Read advert fully. Ensure that you have read the advert fully and also between the lines of what is not said. Ask the seller to clarify any queries you have and to add additional information which is not in the advert, ideally in writing such as an email. If you are having to travel a long way ask for photographic evidence of horse's abilities and training levels, video is even better. The photos on the advert can also be very informative if you look at them carefully.

Leave deposit and collect promptly. Leaving a deposit shows an intention to buy and should stop anyone else viewing. Before paying a deposit bear in mind that it is usually not refunded unless the sale does not complete due to the seller so make sure you are certain before leaving one. You can leave a deposit with conditions such as subject to passing 5 stage vetting, professional check, etc... . Having left a deposit get a receipt, collect as promptly as possible as a seller will not hold it forever even with a deposit. Never send a deposit without viewing.

Keep seller informed. Keep communicating with the seller, let them know if you are running late, need to apply for finance, need to book transport, etc... Keep their mind at rest that you are a genuine buyer and are proceeding with the purchase.

Don't buy without a passport / V5. Make sure that you see and check any legal documents that are required to buy: passport, freeze mark cert, microchip registration, V5, Ifor Williams and datatag, KC papers, etc... When collecting your purchase do not leave without it plus a receipt and change of ownership papers if applicable. Beware replacement V5s as there may be a logbook loan on the vehicle.

Keep record of advert and seller details. Ideally print a copy of the advert for future reference ( see print advert button on advert ) before the advert is marked sold. Once an advert is marked sold the sellers details will be removed and we cannot legally give them to you and it can be hard to find the advert that you are referring to. Get a full postal address.

Traders v Private. A 'T' next to an advertisers name denotes that they have declared them to be a trader. Do not confuse a trader with a dealer, traders are often dealers but can also be breeders, someone who has bought to improve and sell on, etc... Buying from a trader gives the buyer more rights in the law and if there is a post purchase problem you can seek help from Trading Standards. A trader must be honest in their dealings with you. If you buy from a private seller it is caveate emptor ( buyer beware ) and you have very little protection. Some advertisers do not declare themselves trade which is a legal requirement, often this is because they do not realise that they should and sometimes because they are concealing their status. If you believe that a seller should have declared themselves to be a trader contact Trading Standards in the sellers area.

Additional Resources

Petplan - Buying a horse - How to protect yourself

BHS - Buying A Horse| Information & Advice

RAC - Buying a used car - the ultimate checklist

Citizens Advice - How to spot a scam