Most internet transactions are perfectly legitimate yet there are occasional reports of fraud or scams. Read the information below to help ensure do not become a victim of fraud.
We’ve listed some tips on how to buy safely with a step-by-step guide to follow along the way. Please note that these signs are not the only definitive indicator of a fraudulent seller. They are factors to help you identify high-risk transactions. Likewise, there is no guarantee that if a seller does not meet any of these criteria, it’s a legitimate seller. If you are suspicious, it’s a good idea to do some research. It is very important to remember that if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
Step 1: Educate yourself
1000’s of quality breeders use the internet. There are at times a few bad apples that can be easily pointed out by checking the internet for reviews. Sites such as RipoffReport often post about scammers. For an example check Richardson’s Family Puppies Report.
Step 2: Protect yourself when buying online
The common internet scams and warning signs is a great resource for educating yourself on typical internet scams. The scams are used on internet sites across the world and are easily identified if you educate yourself.
Request Personalized Photos: Require the seller to send additional pictures of the dog you are interested in. Require a specific item to be in the photo. Make sure this item is something you request (not the seller suggest) such as your name on a piece of paper, or anything creative you can think of to ensure the puppy exists. If the seller refuses to send additional pictures or state their camera is broken, or they do not have a digital camera, or are unable to for some reason to send the photos, then discontinue communication.
Do NOT trust a seller whom:
- Uses any techniques as noted in the Common Internet Scams and Warning Signs link below.
- States they are from Africa, Lagos, Nigeria, Cameroon or London.
- Insists you use Western Union or other money transfer services. This type of payment offers ZERO protection.
- Speaks of missionary work or AIDS relief work to build trust.
- Cannot provide additional ‘personalized’ photos.
Step 3: Initiate communication with the seller
Contact the seller via email or phone. Only use email as the initial form of contact. Do NOT use email as the only means of communication. Speak to the seller on the phone more than once. All good reputable breeders will want to talk to you over the phone numerous times. Contact us if the seller refuses to give you a phone number or states the phone number is out of service or requests to only use email.
Step 4: Interview the seller
The seller should interview you as outlined in step 1 above (over the phone). You should interview the seller with questions regarding their breeding practices as outlined in step 1 above (over the phone).
- Request copies of any included documents such as registration paperwork to be faxed or mailed to you prior to purchasing the dog. Request to send these documents COD to bear no additional cost to the seller.
- Make sure all items that will be included in the sale be listed within the contract. The contract should state the breed of dog you are purchasing, the birth date, an addendum with a photo of the dog, registration paperwork if available, written health guarantee, return/reimbursement agreement, shipping or pick-up information, any essential dog supplies, etc. You may request to have the contract notarized. All reputable breeders will make you sign within the contract stating you will return the dog to the breeder should you be unable to keep the dog at any point in the dog’s life. Additionally, reputable breeders will require you to sign within the contract stating you will spay or neuter the dog unless you will be actively involved in showing him or her (which applies to show-quality dogs only).
Request all promises or arrangements to be in writing, signed and dated. A clearly defined, well-written, signed contract will protect both the buyer and the seller.
Step 5: Purchase safely
Never send Western Union or Money Gram when buying online as there is no way to protect your money if a problem should arise.