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I'm already in an agreement with a dog walker/dog boarding service that takes care of walking my dogs and board them when I'm away and can't take them with me.

Recently I've been notified that the agreement we had originally signed had changed . The change is as follows:

Original text

The service provider can accept no liability for loss or injury to any pet whilst in the Service Provider's care nor for any death of a pet unless it was deemed that the service provider has been negligent in care

The changed text:

The service provider can accept no liability for loss or injury to any pet whilst in the Service Provider's care nor for any death of a pet.

I am not a lawyer but this strikes me as strange. My question is mainly, what would happen under the new agreement (assuming I sign it) in the cases the Service Provider is negligent in care and my dog gets injured or killed?

For example if while boarding my dog the service provider does not properly secure the kennel or area the dog is in and the dog gets out and gets hit by a car, does this mean the Service provider no longer accepts responsibility for that? Is there any general fallback outside the legal agreement that would help protect me from such an event?

If this helps or is relevant, the agreement is within the United Kingdom.

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The provider is not allowed to unilaterally alter the terms of the contract. For the alteration to be binding, both (or all) parties have to agree on the new conditions (I am assuming that your contract does not contain language enabling the provider to make that kind of changes unilaterally).

That being said, beware that the parties' conduct might legitimize the new conditions, thereby voiding the initial contract. You might still prevail because you have an express contract. But to preempt the hassle and expenses of unnecessary litigation, it is in your best interest to (1) notify the provider that his alterations are not binding, and (2) remind him that he is still subject to the clauses of the contract you two signed.

The provider's disavowal of any liabilities stemming from his negligence would certainly constitute breach of contract unless you consent to the altered clause.

  • Sorry if this wasn't clear, this question was more regarding what actually would change regarding liability but if I am reading this correctly you're saying if I agree then the service provider is basically not liable for anything that happens when my dog is in their care. – apokryfos Sep 24 '18 at 16:28
  • @apokryfos Yes, under the altered clause, any liabilities ensuing from provider's negligence would be transferred to you insofar as you are the owner of the dog. Likewise, if the provider suddenly leaves your dog because he wants to get in the candy shop and someone kills your dog, then the altered clause releases him from any obligation towards you. In an extreme scenario, he could be convicted and imprisoned for severe and/or fatal animal cruelty against your dog "whilst in the Service Provider's care" and yet be immune from having to compensate you if you consent to the new clause. – Iñaki Viggers Sep 24 '18 at 17:14

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