CONSUMER ALERT — Better Business Bureau advises pet-lovers to avoid letting their emotions lead the way when looking for a puppy online.
They said one popular ruse used by schemers is to use slick phony websites that offer purebred puppies for sale at cut-rate prices. A scenario currently active across the country uses online classified ads to offer free purebred puppies with shipping to be paid by the new owner.
One Colorado victim said she recently responded to an online ad for a beagle puppy and was asked to wire $400 to a shipping company for transport. After the money arrived, she was instructed to send additional money to cover the cost of a "special" crate. She was told the second payment would be refunded upon arrival of her puppy.
She never got the puppy and she never got her money back.
BBB offers these tips when looking online for a puppy:
- Check with bbb.org the American Kennel Club (akc.com) to see if there are any complaints about the breeder. Request references and speak to other people who have purchased dogs from this breeder - especially if the breeder does not live near you.
- Beware of breeders who insist that you wire money or call to ask for more money to cover last-minute shipping fees.
- If at all possible, visit the breeder at their home to see the entire litter and the care and conditions given to the puppies prior to purchasing.
Anyone who experiences a dog-related scam should report it to local authorities as well as their local BBB.