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Thread: Dispute over a hunting trip in Scotland

  1. #1

    Question Dispute over a hunting trip in Scotland

    Dear All,

    I would be grateful to you if you could help me by providing advices. Indeed, Belgian citizen living in Belgium, I am not aware of the UK procedures that would suite the problem I am currently facing.

    At the beginning of 2011, I signed a contract with M. Michael ROBERTS (Countrysports), the agent representing AUCH ESTATE (close to Tyndrum – Scotland). According to this contract, some of my friends and I were entitled to spend one week, at the beginning of October, at AUCH ESTATE for red stag stalking – for 10 stags.

    In agreement with this contract, at the end of our stay, the head guide and I have completed and countersigned the “hunting protocol”. It has been indicated that 7 stags have been killed, one has been missed. It means 8 stags have to be accounted, instead of the 10 stags that were indicated in the contract. Meanwhile, in agreement with the contract, we were supposed to obtain refund for stags not shot (i.e. £378/stag). Therefore, I have immediately requested from Michael ROBERTS and the Estate the refund for 2 stags not shot. After a long delay, I have been told by Michael ROBERTS that not all the clients were fit for the hill. Based upon such argument, the Estate has then refused to refund me for the 2 stags not shot.

    The agent, Michael ROBERTS, said he was “very annoyed” by this situation; therefore, he decided to refund me for one stag out of his own pocket.
    Since there has been no legal, contractual or whatsoever evidence / argument supporting the “not fit for the hill” argument (e.g. no mention in the “hunting protocol”), I decided to keep claiming the refund. I then wrote to the Estate’s owner to provide a detailed view of my arguments supporting such claim. One month later, I have had no answer from the Estate.

    I can provide the contractual documents (contract, hunting protocol) and the letter I sent to the Estate’s owner to evidence the arguments supporting my claim.

    It is worth noting that between the contract signature and my visit at AUCH ESTATE, the previous owner died and his wife became the new Estate’s owners. I understand she is not interested by red stag stalking, and she probably believes that my current claim (2 x £378 at the most) is low compared to justice costs, what might prevent me from going to Court. Nevertheless, whatever the amount of money, I feel that a contract has to be fully executed and I feel it is rather a matter of honesty. I have enjoyed being and stalking in Scotland. I would rather keep this positive image. I would like to forget this problem and the bad image it gives about hunting in Scotland.

    I will really appreciate the help you might provide to solve this problem. In the meantime, I wish you a happy new year.

    Yours sincerely,

    Luc Baufay

  2. #2
    Difficult one Luc, red stalking can be physically challenging without a doubt, the truth is that without a good level of fitness it may be impossible for even the best guides to get the client a stag. I know that this was exactly the case with a good friend of mine on the red stags this year, despite him being told beforehand that he would have to improve his fitness which in fairness he did work on, but his base fitness was too low to start with and he never got an animal.
    Whether that is truly the situation in your case or an excuse I don’t know, did you or any of your party have extreme difficulty keeping up with the guide? I don’t mean a bit of trouble because that would apply to most clients, I mean simply not being able to get to the animals even when you know they are there, most people can pull something out the bag to reach an animal if they know a shot is on.

    If you can honestly say, that the above is not the case then the estate may be making excuses.

    If the agent has offered to refund one stag then you are arguing over 10% of the bill, if your concerns are of a fiscal nature then IMO it is not worth pursuing, you would only be able to claim minimum expenses and no legal costs in the small claim court, it will no doubt cost you more in time, expenses and legal costs if you use a solicitor than the disputed money.

    If you are looking at it as a matter of principle then fine, go to court, although it could be a difficult one to win IMO to be honest. Others might think differently though perhaps it is best to get a number of opinions.

    ATB

    Tahr

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bof View Post
    Dear All,

    I would be grateful to you if you could help me by providing advices. Indeed, Belgian citizen living in Belgium, I am not aware of the UK procedures that would suite the problem I am currently facing.

    At the beginning of 2011, I signed a contract with M. Michael ROBERTS (Countrysports), the agent representing AUCH ESTATE (close to Tyndrum – Scotland). According to this contract, some of my friends and I were entitled to spend one week, at the beginning of October, at AUCH ESTATE for red stag stalking – for 10 stags.

    In agreement with this contract, at the end of our stay, the head guide and I have completed and countersigned the “hunting protocol”. It has been indicated that 7 stags have been killed, one has been missed. It means 8 stags have to be accounted, instead of the 10 stags that were indicated in the contract. Meanwhile, in agreement with the contract, we were supposed to obtain refund for stags not shot (i.e. £378/stag). Therefore, I have immediately requested from Michael ROBERTS and the Estate the refund for 2 stags not shot. After a long delay, I have been told by Michael ROBERTS that not all the clients were fit for the hill. Based upon such argument, the Estate has then refused to refund me for the 2 stags not shot.

    The agent, Michael ROBERTS, said he was “very annoyed” by this situation; therefore, he decided to refund me for one stag out of his own pocket.
    Since there has been no legal, contractual or whatsoever evidence / argument supporting the “not fit for the hill” argument (e.g. no mention in the “hunting protocol”), I decided to keep claiming the refund. I then wrote to the Estate’s owner to provide a detailed view of my arguments supporting such claim. One month later, I have had no answer from the Estate.

    I can provide the contractual documents (contract, hunting protocol) and the letter I sent to the Estate’s owner to evidence the arguments supporting my claim.

    It is worth noting that between the contract signature and my visit at AUCH ESTATE, the previous owner died and his wife became the new Estate’s owners. I understand she is not interested by red stag stalking, and she probably believes that my current claim (2 x £378 at the most) is low compared to justice costs, what might prevent me from going to Court. Nevertheless, whatever the amount of money, I feel that a contract has to be fully executed and I feel it is rather a matter of honesty. I have enjoyed being and stalking in Scotland. I would rather keep this positive image. I would like to forget this problem and the bad image it gives about hunting in Scotland.

    I will really appreciate the help you might provide to solve this problem. In the meantime, I wish you a happy new year.

    Yours sincerely,

    Luc Baufay
    This would not be the first contractural issue to arise where Mr Roberts was involved. I sympathise with you, as I had very disappointing experiences with the man myself, further compounded by the way he treated friends of mine on a shooting trip a couple of years back. Fortunately for the shooting community, though unfortunately for him, Mr Roberts is apparently no longer in good enough health to remain in business. Sadly, this does not aid you in resolving your problem. However, I suggest you set about finding out if you may use the Scottish "small claims procedure" (a very low cost route to satisfaction, if it is available to you) in order to have the matter reviewed and resolved in one of our Sheriff courts.

    For guidance please see the following link:

    http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/sheriff...ance_notes.asp

    Yours sincerely, Tom

  4. #4
    I contracted services to Auch Estates for many years. Honesty was never a problem. All debts paid on time. It also let stalking for many years. It sounds more that rules laid down by the estate were lost between the agent and client. For those that do not know Auch it is at the south end of Glen Coe. When you go through Tyndrum past the Oban turn off you start to climb, When you go over the top the ground opens into very steep hills and valleys. Not for the faint hearted. Luc, the small claims court is not a solution. It would have to be through Oban Sherriff court. You or your agent would have to attend and having met all those expenses the estate can hand you a cheque on the way in the door and your principals have lost you a mint. What I expect would happen would be estate blame agent, Agent blame estate. Someone would claim you were told physical fitness was a requirement. At the end of the day remember the fun. It would take a year or more to get it near a court with no guarentee of success. The fact the owner has died adds further complications. Small claims on a contested invoice rarely gets expenses so you would be out of pocket anyway. Legal procedings above small claims loser pays and you could end up paying the estate and agent if you lose. Sorry but I know how you feel Jim

  5. #5
    I was quite prepared to go down the small claims court for the sum of £35 after I was ripped off by someone over a carcass....it becomes a matter of principle.
    Thats speaking as a UK citizen.
    Eventually the 'gentleman' paid up, perhaps because his name (and the name of his company) was being splashed all over the internet
    I think you may have already caused sufficient harm to their future business to warrant a smug mode moment and you never know seeing this may just see them send you a letter of apology for the misunderstanding along with an invite to go next year and shoot 11 stags for the same price as 10.


    in edit: Fitness not withstanding of course
    Below is a link to my website.
    Quad sticks

  6. #6
    Hi Luc, the situation is that a simple agreement was in place. 10 stags were to be shot and if less were shot than this a refund would be paid per stag. There are many things that can affect the quality of the stalking provided but it is the estates job to put the guests in front of the beast for the shot to be made.

    It is important to consider that the agent has paid half of what your are due and while this is not the full amount it is far better that nothing. The loss of £378 is unfortunate but it is an amount that is not worth the hassle of proceedings and the courts. If the stalking was good appart from this unfortunate disagreement then all in all is was still a good visit and I hope you have more that are better all round.

  7. #7
    Luc,

    Who is the contract with? Is it between you and the agent or you and the estate? If I read your first post correctly then your contract is between you and the agent, in which case the estate shouldn't come into it, surely?

    If I understand correcty you should persue the agent and the agent should persue the estate (assuming he has his own contract with the estate!).

    Alex
    Last edited by csl; 03-01-2012 at 23:18.

  8. #8
    I need to agree with csl you bought your stalking from an agent he is the one to look to for the cash or what might be better is a deal on a few more stags. I do hope this has not put you off Scotland we think it is the jewel in the crown

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by csl View Post
    Luc,

    Who is the contract with? Is it between you and the agent or you and the estate? If I read your first post correctly then your contract is between you and the agent, in which case the estate shouldn't come into it, surely?

    If I understand correcty you should persue the agent and the agent should persue the estate (assuming he has his own contract with the estate!).

    Alex
    Luc, CSL is correct, your dispute is with the agent not the estate.
    No diiferent to if you buy goods from a retailer, it would be the retailer if the goods were faulty, not the manufacturer.
    But as said before is it worth the hassle, life is too short.
    Cheers
    Richard

  10. #10
    Like everything it is down to the terms and conditions of the contract. Without knowing them it is hard to comment.

    For example the agent might have a contract where he is getting an introduction fee and then absolves himself from all responsibility if it all goes wrong. Such as client and artist in entertainment. It acts soles as an introduction. IE he sets the contract between you and the estate.

    Regarding fitness I would have thought there would need to be a clause to define fitness. I have never seen a stalking contract as the ones I see are more commercial.


    Whether it is worth taking to court is down to the contract and you. Perhaps next time look for some recommendations from here as to who to use.
    Sorry to hear it didn't work out for you.
    Last edited by The Singing Stalker; 03-01-2012 at 23:54.
    I can speak in-depth and with great knowledge about most subjects until some bugger who actually knows what he is speaking about opens his gob .

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