BBB Investigates Online Puppy Sales Operation

  
     
June 13, 2017
DAYTON, OHIO, June 9, 2017– In March, Better Business Bureau received a Scam Tracker report and multiple inquiries about an entity called Loyal Bull Dog Pup. The company was offering English Bulldog puppies for sale through its Web site, loyalbulldogspup.com. The company was requesting payment via MoneyGram. However, consumers report they sent payment and never received the anticipated puppies.
 
BBB opened an investigation after receiving nearly 50 inquiries from consumers within 30 days. To date, BBB has more than 80 inquiries from customers checking out the business. BBB staff researched the Web site’s origin and learned it’s not actually located in the U.S., but in Panama. The company also used the BBB Accredited Business seal on its Web site, misleading consumers as it’s not a BBB Accredited Business. BBB also found Loyal Bull Dog Pup’s Web site had the same testimonials shared on two other Web sites. BBB discovered there’s no record of this company registered with the Ohio Secretary of State or the Texas Secretary of State. 
 
BBB sent a notification to the company about the BBB logo violation. A BBB staff member also posed as a customer wanting to purchase a puppy from the company. BBB got a response via e-mail stating the company had six puppies for sale at approximately $650 each. The e-mail was riddled with poor grammar and typos. The BBB employee inquired about purchasing two of the puppies and learned the company is allegedly located in Houston, TX. The BBB staff member was told to wire money to a Texas address through MoneyGram for a deposit and the rest would be due in cash upon receiving the puppies. Staff offered to fly to pick up puppies and the seller refused, insisting they would fly them to Dayton.
 
Loyal Bull Dog Pup has an F rating with your BBB. BBB rates companies from A+ to an F, similar to the education system. Factors that affected the companies rating include:
 
•Failure to respond to one complaint filed against the business.
•Unauthorized use of BBB name or trademarks.
•BBB concerns about the business’ practices.
 
These scams are common, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers to beware of online puppy scams last month. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received about 40 puppy scam complaints in 2017, with an average reported loss of about $600. 
 
BBB offers tips to help you avoid puppy scams:
  • Research breeders and sellers carefully. Check complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and BBB. Check references and be sure to call them. A reputable breeder will be happy to share those with you.
  • Be skeptical if you find no information about a breeder. Some scam artists change names regularly to avoid law enforcement. 
  • Work with a local, reputable breeder, if possible.
  • Never purchase a pet sight-unseen, especially from an individual who requests payment via money order, prepaid debit card or wire transfer. 
  • Beware of sellers requesting payment for extra costs, such as airline pet insurance,temperature-controlled crate, unexpected delivery problems requiring additional payment or threats you’ll be turned in for animal abuse or neglect if you don’t pay.
  • Look for duplicate Web sites. Many scammers will duplicate real Web sites and post them as their own. 
  • Be sure to conduct an online image search of the puppy’s photo to see where else the picture is posted online. If the picture shows up in multiple places, it most likely is a scam.
  • Visit the puppy in person. Ask lots of questions. 
  • Ensure the breeder has individual veterinary paperwork for the puppy on the letterhead of his or her veterinarian and consider calling the veterinarian to verify the relationship. 
  • Obtain proof of purchase with the breeder’s full contact information on it.
  • Avoid someone selling puppies at too-good-to-be-true prices, such as $200 for a puppy that normally would cost $800.
  • Consider adoption from a local animal shelter, where the entire family can meet and interact with an animal prior to adoption. 
  • Pay with check or credit card. If a breeder pressures you to pay by wire transfer or prepaid debit card, it is probably a scam.
  • If you suspect a scam, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or BBB by visiting www.bbb.org.
John North, president & CEO of BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley, says, “The thought of owning a new puppy is thrilling. Unfortunately, shady breeders dash potential pet owners’ dreams, leaving them without the pet they wanted and out their hard-earned cash. It’s important to do your homework researching breeders and your Better Business Bureau is on hand to help either online at bbb.org or by phone at (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.”
 
Remember, be sure to deal with reputable and trustworthy breeders. Scammers won’t send the puppy, because the dog doesn’t exist. 
 
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley is one of 109 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley serves seven and half Ohio counties, including Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby and northern Warren counties. Your Dayton-based BBB is unique in that it provides business solutions and consumer services in specialized areas to other BBBs, businesses and consumers. It remains focused on the Miami Valley, but through these key products and services, it is an international organization.
 
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