I'm looking for some input!! What is your normal procedure if someone is interested in buying cattle from you over the phone and you've never met them before? Do you have a written agreement? How much money do you require up front to hold an animal for a buyer from some distance away? Do you set a time limit on when the balance of the money is due and when they take posession? If they back out do they forfeit there up front money? When does the animal actually become their property--for example if the animal gets sick and dies before they travel out to pick it up--who's liable??
Any input and ideas would be helpful! In today's internet world, the geography our customer base covers has grown dramatically and these questions are probably one the minds of several others on "the Planet" as well!!
I rarely sell terminal cattle so my protocol may be just a little different than if I was selling a calf for short term. i require a non-refundable down payment - amount somewhat dependent on the sale price. If I sell a $10,000 fullblood cow, I'll need at least 20% to hold her. Like others responding, the deposit is usually not refundable. Otoh, I do try to be reasonable and respond to unusual, devestating circumstances that may not let the buyer complete the transaction. The animal doesn't leave my place until it's paid for and a buying contract clearly stating when the balalnce is due is part of the sale process. I cover all health/travel papers required and also will supply results of Johnes and BVD tests at buyer's request. All appropriate vaccinations, ear tattoos, and reg. certificates are also included. If it's a bull calf purchased for breeding duties, and he tests poorly in the Spring of his yearling year for fertility, I require the buyer to make a decision on his outcome. If they decide they don't want him, they have to take him to market, let me know what they get for him, and I refund the balalnce of what they got at market and what they paid for him. If, heaven forbid, the animal dies at my place (or is irreparably injured) before the buyer takes delivery, I refund the deposit. I also have found that today, with shipping so costly, sometime the animal is on my place for a much longer period of time than in the past as the buyer tries to find a suitable shipper. After a reasonable time (whatever that may be (lol)), I charge for maintenance. BTW, I also email lots and lots of pics from all angles at the first inquiry.