The Better Business Bureau serving northern Colorado and Wyoming is warning customers about a business named ACE Kennels, which claims to breed pets from a Fort Collins address. The company received an F rating after it didn’t respond to three complaints.
Three other complaints were pending as of Tuesday morning.
The filed complaints allege that customers paid for a puppy from the business, believing shipping was included in the price, which was between $600 and $700. After paying that amount, the business contacted their customers and said that in order to receive the puppy, they had to pay additional fees — which ranged from $1,600 to $2,600 — for crate expenses. Customers said they were told the crate needed to be electric and air conditioned.
When BBB checked the address for the business, it was nonexistent. BBB sent them several emails asking for responses to the complaints, but had not received any as of Tuesday morning.
These sorts of online puppy scams are hardly new. The BBB released an in-depth study in 2017 called “Puppy Scams: How Fake Online Pet Sellers Steal from Unsuspecting Pet Buyers” that looked into this issue.
To avoid these scams, the BBB has offered these tips:
· Do your research and only purchase from a reputable dealer. Check BBB Business Profiles on www.bbb.org for complaints and customer reviews.
· If you find a pet online, make arrangements to meet with the prospective seller in person. Most legitimate breeders will welcome the visit.
· Never send cash via money order or Western Union to someone you have not met in person.
· Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute the charges.
· If you find a pet online but are not able to meet the breeder in person, conduct an internet search of the puppy’s photo. This can reveal whether or not the photos are exclusive to the site you are on, or if the same photo has been used on other websites.