Consumers have rights and, if you are sold goods that are not up to scratch, you are at the very least entitled to your money back. A judge made that point in an unusual case concerning the sale of a puppy that had a latent hip condition.
A woman paid a dog breeder £1,000 for the puppy, which she bought as a pet. It later developed a disabling and painful condition called hip dysplasia which required substantial corrective surgery. After she launched proceedings against the breeder, a judge upheld her claim and awarded her £4,006 in damages.
Ruling on the breeder’s appeal against that outcome, a more senior judge rejected a claim that she had misrepresented the condition of the puppy prior to the sale. He found, however, that the animal was not of satisfactory quality, within the meaning of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The woman’s breach of contract claim had thus rightly been upheld.
Due to the latent condition, the puppy was effectively worthless when she bought it and the woman was therefore entitled to have the purchase price reimbursed to her in full. However, the judge found that the sensible course would have been for her to reject the animal and return it to the breeder. She was therefore entitled to recover only a small proportion of the veterinary costs incurred in treating the puppy’s condition. On that basis, her award was reduced to £1,083.