We OWN Shadow!
This is a terrible thing to admit, but we JUST GOT OWNERSHIP PAPERS on Shadow this past Monday. That was May 23rd. We brought Shadow and Rio home April 7th. It has been an incredible ordeal - for part of which we are to blame, but gosh - I never dreamed it could get to be this much of a hassle.
We have several other friends out looking to purchase horses currently, and we've gotten a number of horror stories from them too. One went so far as to put a deposit on a horse and was working to schedule a vet check, when she learned that another mutual aquaintance also had found a great horse that she had put a deposit down on. They got to talking - and discovered that they both had put a deposit on the same horse! Not only that, but the horse ended up being sold to yet another party! It is stories like these that make me determined not to pay any money until the papers have been transferred and vet check complete. But it is so HARD to stick to your guns sometimes. (unfortunately we heard these stories after having brought Shadow and Rio home, so we were stuck for the long haul.)
It all started when Dave and I went down to pick them up. The seller said she'd have the brand papers all ready for us. Well, we got bogged down over the fact that I had written up a bill of sale - since we'd given her a check several days prior to that and if I hadn't asked for some sort of receipt she wouldn't have even given us that. But her receipt wasn't adequate as far as I was concerned, so I wrote up a bill of sale describing the horses and 2 sentences about her "Return Policy". Well - that was an issue. She insisted on completely rewriting the return policy statement, with a page and a half of text, and proceeded to take nearly 30 minutes to do so. Furthermore, what she put in writing was NOT what she said verbally - and after we'd both signed it she said - oh, and I'll do better than what I wrote down, it's just for legal purposes I can't promise too much.
Unfortunately it was at THIS point that I asked for the brand papers and she told me she didn't have them! (Brand papers are essentially your Title for a horse - without them you don't own it.) She said the inspector had been out the day before but didn't have time to give her the papers, that he would just mail them to me directly. This ended up being a complete lie. It takes 5 minutes to write up the papers - if all were in order there was no reason to put it off. Things were clearly not in order - and as a matter of fact she did not have papers on the horses herself. I know, I know - we really should have just left the horses there - except that we'd already given her the check and I know darn well we wouldn't get any money out of her at that time.
Well, it's been a huge deal, 6 and a half weeks, 30-40 calls on my part to the seller and her brand inspector (A) (because neither one of them EVER initiated a call with me), a visit from our local brand inspector (B) to see the horses, inspector A then had to track down inspector C where the seller got the horses from. Then inspector A wanted the seller to set up an appointment for him to give the papers to her so she could sign them and mail to us. He claimed he could not give them to us directly. But seller was unwilling to take the time to schedule an appointment - claiming that she'd given the inspector an agent authorization and thus he didn't need her signature. I don't know what came of it all, but in the end I got all three of us on a conference call, she agreed to send another agent authorization to the inspector and then he could give Shadow's paper directly to me. Oh, and somewhere in there she also decided to let me know that "usually we have adopters pay for the inspections, so you can pay the inspector to get the paper." Un huh - bite my tongue time. So last night on the way home from work I met up with him and got the paper for Shadow. The seller has the one for Rio. Has had it since April 19th. All she has to do is put it in the mail. And amazingly she still maintains that none of this hassle has anything to do with her - that this is normal in horse transactions, and she is getting a little tired of "bending over backwards" to be accommodating for me. Course, in the mean time she has moved, changed phone numbers, and is due to go into the hospital tomorrow to have a baby. Somehow, if she hasn't mailed it yet, I'm thinking it may not happen. At least I've found out that I can get an official copy from the office - just have to pay for it. But all told, might be antother cheap $20 to be done with it.