Buying animals online
Pay attention to the identity of the seller!
When you as a private person purchase something online, it is important to know who the seller is. Lack of details, surprising extra fees or limited options of paying and delivery should make you suspicious.
On an Austrian website for classified ads, Mr. S. found an avertisment for little kittens. He wanted one of them and responded to the offer.
On the same day, he received a reply from a woman named "Mariana Jones" from London: Mr. S. should submit his data, the delivery of the kitten from England to Austria would cost 98 Euro. The transfer would be handled by an animal transportation agency. As this agency, situated in Cameroon, contacted Mr. S., he paid the bill in good faith.
Additional costs occur
After a little while, the agency contacted Mr. S. again and requested further 320 Euro due to problems at the airport. The requested amount would cover as liability for an insurance. As soon as the cat was delivered, the money would be returned. But Mr. S. got suspicious and he tried to get more information. As evidence, he got a flight ticket that obviously was fake.
Threat of court proceedings
When Mr. S. told the agency about the supposed fake, they threatened him with court if he wouldn't pay. Mr. S. then told them that he himself had contacted a lawyer. The agency sent him a copy of the passport of their director in order to gain his trust. They still requested him to pay. The seller "Mariana Jones" then agreed to pay 100 Euro of the initial request. Mr. S. finally yielded to the pressure and paid the remaining amount of 220 Euro.
On the promised day of delivery, another problem occured. According to the agency, the cat was at the airport in Paris. Another 55 Euro of feed costs was needed. The agency and the alleged seller urged Mr. S. to pay with the argument that otherwise the cat would suffer. When "Mariana Jones" promised to bear some of the costs, Mr. S. paid the remaining 20 Euro to the agency. He then got a confirmation call for the flight transfer to Vienna.
Soon after the call, Mr. S. got another mail from the agency. It said that they were still waiting for a payment of the seller "Mariana Jones" and that the cat therefore couldn't be delivered. After that, Mr. S. didn't get any further information from the agency. "Mariana Jones" merely wrote that a friend of hers was at the hospital. Mr. S. lost 338 Euro without return of any services.
Recognise alarm signals
We recommend to get all available information about a seller before ordering something online. Examples for alarm signals: the lack of a homepage or only incomplete data (no postal address, just a mobile phone number...).
If the seller refuses to send cash-on-delivery packages or won't let the buyer pick up the purchase on his own, it is advised to refrain from the purchase. Consumers should never pay in advance. If you pay with credit card, you can request a chargeback in case of fraud.