BBB alerts consumers to online puppy scams

puppy BBB alerts consumers to online puppy scamsPet lovers will often pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase the pure-bred puppy of their choice. These canines often grow to become members of the families that adopt them for their lifetimes, often a decade or more.

Beyond the cost of purchasing the puppy, additional costs often include veterinary bills, certificates of health, crates, shipping and pedigree costs.

Scammers are also aware of these costs and use them take advantage of consumers and run high-dollar scams.

Better Business Bureau is cautioning consumers to watch out for classified ads offering purebred puppies for free or at prices that seem too good to be true.

Residents are also warned to beware of internet sellers asking for full payment before they provide documentation, other than a photograph, that the puppy is healthy and, in some cases, real.

Puppy scams, which often originate from Africa or Europe, often hook people with offers of pure-bred puppies through internet sites such as

They collect money for the cost of the pet plus bogus fees, such as shipping or ‘ownership transfer,’ and then never deliver the advertised puppies or dogs.

One consumer recently called BBB after being hooked by this scam.

The scammers charged her for the puppy, then a crate and other fees after she ordered the puppy off the internet.

They then tried to tell her the puppy was at a local airport but she had to pay to have the canine released by the airline.

She realized she was scammed after she called the airline, only to find there was no dog waiting for her at the airport, and reported the incident to BBB of Acadiana.

BBB offers the following tips to avoid scams when you’re looking to buy a pet:

  • Beware of ads with multiple misspellings and grammatical errors; many pet scams come from overseas and scammers often do not have a firm grasp on the English language.
  • Do not send or wire money to people you do not know.
  •  If purchasing a pedigreed pet, be sure the breeder provides documentation of the parents’ registration with the appropriate kennel club. This ensures that the pet is in fact a legitimate pure-bred animal. It is then your responsibility to register your pet with the appropriate kennel club.
  • Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before doing business.

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About Sharane Gott

Sharane A. Gott is the President/CEO of the BBB of Acadiana in Lafayette, LA. She is a certified mediator and has served on the Council of the CBBB Board of Directors, Bureau Operation Committee, as well as many other national committees over her 27 years with the BBB.