BBB warns of risks when buying pets online

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LOS ANGELES, CA (CBS Newspath) – The Better Business Bureau says online pet scams continue to be a problem during the pandemic.

Two years after Ashley Brown’s dog Maddox passed away, she decided it was time to buy another Doberman Pinscher. “My family, they always send me links to different breeders,” she says.

Brown fell in love with a puppy she saw on a website called James Doberman. She contacted the site’s contact page and then exchanged several text messages. Brown said she ultimately paid almost $ 3,000 to have the puppy shipped, but the dog never arrived. “We showed up at the airport, and he wasn’t there,” Brown said. “We went out and bought new bedding, new crates, all kinds of new toys. “

Brown showed CBS News screenshots of four different payments she said she made with credit cards and a dog and shipping payment app. CBS News contacted the James Doberman website and was told in a series of emails that “She has never sent such sums of money …” and that “James Doberman is not a scam “.

“I followed up with them once a week for probably three or four weeks to request my refund again, but obviously didn’t get it,” Brown said.

Pet scams have exploded during the pandemic. Reports filed with the Better Business Bureau show that the amount of money lost by Americans has tripled in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Steve Baker of the BBB says “there are no obvious red flags in these”. But he says there are ways to make sure the puppy is real. “Have the salesperson do some sort of video conference, Zoom or something, holding the puppy,” Baker says.

You can also take a look at PetScams.com, which has a list of potentially bogus sites, and search for images of the promised animal. CBS News found the same photo of the puppy Brown wanted on another breeder’s Facebook page posted a year and a half ago.

“I don’t think I would buy one online, I think I would always go there in person,” Brown says. She plans to continue her research, hoping to have another dog like Maddox.

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