Safe Pet Ownership Part 2
How to Avoid a Puppy Scam Part 2
With every precaution taken before buying a puppy, you’re one step closer to bringing that sweet and lovable fluff into your home. As we discussed in How to Avoid a Puppy Scam Part 1 , pet adoption scams are a common tactic employed by con artists out to make a quick buck at your expense. As long as you follow the tips mentioned in these two guides, you should have enough background information to make an informed decision — or raise enough red flags to wisely back out of the deal.
Ask for Pictures and Videos
Assuming the puppy breeder actually has puppies or parent dogs, they shouldn’t have any trouble doing a video call on request. This will not only show you that they’re comfortable with what they’re doing, but it will also give you the chance to take a video tour of the puppy breeder’s home and see the parent dogs or puppies in their natural environment.
If for any reason a video call is not possible (if the seller declines, ask them why), you can also ask to see pictures of the dogs next to specific items on request. Ask to see pictures of the dog with a specific but random item next to them, such as a common household item or a unique phrase or words written on a piece of paper. This way you’ll know that the puppies or parent dogs are actually real and you can move on to the next step in your background check.
However, a video call should be an important step in your background check. If the puppy breeder can’t do a video call at the moment, ask them when it’s a good time and if you can reschedule. If there’s never a good time to do a video call, it’s probably for all the wrong reasons — and you should just move on.
Read Reviews About The Puppy Breeder’s Business and Website
One of the quickest and most insightful checks you can run on any business is reading reviews on sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, BBB (Better Business Bureau), Yellow Pages and Manta. If the puppy breeder is an established business like they claim, then you should be able to find reviews about their services and website on at least some of the sites listed above.
If you can’t find any reviews on the breeder, it’s probably a red flag. Considering that they are trying to do business with you online, they should have reviews of their services online. It’s not very reassuring when the same medium you’re using to communicate and do business (online) is coming up empty-handed about the business itself. Which leads us to…
Run a Background Check on the Website
Most responsible Goldendoodle puppy breeders will have a website, so make sure to run a background check on the site to see if it’s an established platform with a good history. You can find out exactly when a website went live by visiting ICANN Lookup at https://lookup.icann.org/, which provides domain registration data such as when the website was established and if it has any complaints made against it.
Do Some Research on Puppy Pricing
This step comes naturally to those looking for the best deal on a puppy with research on competitive local and non-local pricing. Generally, puppy breeders create a price that matches their investment of time and resources into breeding and caring for healthy and happy puppies. Among the majority of any specific puppy breed, you should be able to recognize a fair price that may vary slightly in either direction but not be too high or too low in comparison to other breeders. Watch out for breeders whose pricing is much lower than other breeders — if not too good to be true. Highly-discounted puppy prices are a red flag that may signify what’s called a Puppy Mill, or a dog-breeding operation that produces high volumes of puppies in awful conditions. And that’s only if it’s not a scam altogether.
Remember, Responsible Puppy Breeders Want to Know Who You Are!
Probably one of the most important things to remember when doing a puppy breeder background check is that any responsible puppy breeder cares about their pups and has excellent standards when it comes to choosing their customers.
If the puppy breeder in question isn’t very interested to know who you are and where their puppy is going, it’s not a good sign. In fact, a responsible puppy breeder will actually do a background check ON YOU — and will want to learn what type of environment the puppy will live in, if you’ve had pets before or if you have other pets now, and will ask you to sign a contract that may require you to spay or neuter the puppy.
Responsible puppy breeders care for their pups so much that they often stay in contact with their customers long after puppy adoption. And satisfied customers are often equally-willing to stay in touch — and happily share updates and stories about their puppies and their adventures together. Because the customers are so happy with their dogs, they might even be willing to receive a call, show you pictures of their dogs or otherwise provide information that will reassure you that you’re dealing with a real and responsible puppy breeder.
Never Pay Cash When Making a Puppy Deposit
Puppy breeders that only take cash should be avoided altogether. There’s no reason they should require cash only unless they’re trying to keep the transaction off-record and under the table. As a legitimate business, responsible puppy breeders should be more than happy to accept a credit card or digital payment system such as PayPal.
Digital transactions and credit cards offer buyer protection in the case of fraud, which is an absolute necessity when making a deposit. If the breeder insists on receiving cash, a money order or wired money through Western Union or some other cash transfer system, just say no thanks.
Puppy Scam Red Flags:
- Puppy seller wants you to send money to a location other than where they are — or even to another country (yes, it happens!)
- They are not even located in the United States (a big DON’T)
- Seller wants money for pet insurance before shipping the puppy (that’s NOT how it works)
- They want you to wire money or pay cash only
- They want you to pay for vet visits before you even own the dog
- Seller is pushy and trying to rush the sale (and has plenty of excuses why it can’t wait)
- They won’t talk on the phone
- They won’t do a video call
- Seller won’t tell you where they live
- Has very bad grammar and writes in poor English when communicating through text or email (this may signify an international scammer, of which there are TONS)
- Gives you surprise expenses after you’ve made the deposit (any travel fees for delivery should be transparent and provided in detail before any payments are made along with the requirements for puppy transfer, i.e., pickup, flying, etc.)
- You are not allowed to pick up the puppy yourself.
- The person wants to give away the puppy, but you have to pay for shipping (if the person is offering a puppy for adoption, they should be more than willing to pay for shipping and be reimbursed when you have received the puppy. If they are unwilling to trust you, then how can they expect you to trust them?)
- The puppy is priced extremely low compared to a number of other breeders
Buying a Puppy through Facebook or Craigslist
A general rule of thumb is you should never try to buy a puppy online through social media sites such as Facebook or classifieds sites such as Craigslist unless you know the seller personally or they are highly recommended to you by a close friend or family member.
Responsible breed owners typically have a waiting list for puppies and actually have more people asking to buy puppies than they have puppies for sale. You should never try to buy a puppy from a total stranger particularly through social media or classifieds, which are practically hunting grounds for cybercrime — with puppy scams at an all-time high.
We hope this guide has been helpful in explaining how puppy scams work and all the precautions you can take to avoid them. Please feel free to Get In Touch with us to get all of these reassurances and more and learn what makes ABCs Puppy Zs such a great choice for Goldendoodle puppy adoption!