Following the recent news that a conman stole a horse from its owner by posing as a potential buyer, we asked Lottie Goldstone, equine law specialist at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, for her top tips to ensure vendors are protected during the sales process.
Top tips to ensure you don’t get conned
♦ Ask potential buyers for their full name, address, job, where the horse will live and what they intend to do with it
♦ Meet the buyer and create conversation to find mutual contacts
♦ Cross-reference their name and image with social media and online searches to verify their identity. If you have concerns, ask for formal ID
♦ Never let the horse leave your yard without cleared funds — which can be confirmed 6 full working days after the money is deposited. Cheques and online payments can be reversed
♦ Check the buyer’s financial background on the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines (£4), www.trustonline.org.uk
♦ Search against people currently bankrupt, disqualified directors and people in an individual voluntary arrangement using www.bis.gov.uk (this is free) or in the London Gazette, which records insolvency data, www.london-gazette.co.uk
♦ Be wary of any “arms-length” transaction when the buyer wants to buy unseen
There are also a number of common scams that target people selling items, including horses, via classified websites and magazine such as H&H. Find out what to look out for and how you can protect yourself with our online guide to scams.