On July 16, 2014, the Cantonal Court of Limburg ruled on an interesting case concerning a consumer sale. In this case a professional rider sued a trading barn because they supposedly sold and delivered a horse that showed defects. In addition, the rider stated that he bought the horse as a consumer and therefore could invoke consumer protection. The consumer protection includes, that if a defect is detected within six months after delivery, the law presumes that the defect has already been there, and it is to the seller to show the contrary.
The trading barn was represented by Mr. L. M. Schelstraete and Mr. V. Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner). They claimed that insofar a purchase agreement had been established between the trading stable and the rider, the rider purchased the horse for professional purposes and therefore it could not be a consumer sale.
That the rider purchased the horse for professional purposes was fully clear according to Mr. Schelstraete and Mr. Zitman. They came to this conclusion because of the following facts: The rider frequently participates in international competitions, and he also works for a company which is actively engaged in the equestrian sport and runs an equestrian center, and which company also sponsors the horse.
The Court followed the arguments of Mrs. Schelstraete and Zitman and ruled that the purchase agreement cannot be regarded as a consumer sale. This decision is especially interesting because professional riders have been regarded consumers by Courts so far. Due to the fact that this was not a consumer sale, it is not only that the rider cannot invoke consumer protection, but also that the Cantonal Court is not competent to judge upon the case.The Cantonal Courts has therefore declined jurisdiction and referred the case to another Court, where litigation will continue.