The Better Business Bureau is warning about a recent spike in online pet scams and is urging people to not buy pet products online from unknown retailers.
Since the beginning of March through the end of June, Super Paws, an online retailer claiming to “specialize in high-quality, affordable pet products,” has received over 3,300 inquiries on BBB.org.
Additionally, over 120 BBB Scam Tracker reports and complaints have been filed by consumers in British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario as well as in 29 US states.
Many people have raised concerns about delivery.
According to BBB records, consumers claim that after placing an order through the company’s website, products are not shipped and orders are never received, despite some customers being told that their products are in the mail.
Other consumers have reported poor customer service experiences, as the company does not provide a phone number where they can be reached for more information.
Though the company’s website currently refers to “Los Angeles, California, USA” in its terms and conditions, BBB is unable to determine where the business is physically located.
“Overall, BBB has received almost 1,000 pet-related scam reports between March 1 to July 15,” says Karla Laird, Manager for Community and Public Relations at BBB.
“The same level of diligence required when shopping for pets online is also required when pet owners are purchasing products online for their new companions. This includes exercising caution when you cannot find and verify the physical location for a company online.”
BBB advises consumers to take the following steps to shop safely online:
Buy from reputed online retailers: Check out the company’s Business Profile at BBB.org and try to determine the age of the website’s domain. Many fraudulent retail websites have been created since the start of the pandemic to trick consumers who prefer to shop online during this time. Watch for poor grammar, lack of information, capital letters in the middle of sentences, overly discounted deals and misuse of trust marks like the BBB and SPCA logos.
Verify contact information: Inspect the company’s website for a physical address and phone number. Ensure the location exists, is not a residential address, or is connected to another business and that the phone number is legitimate and responsive. Check for an “About Us” page and whether listed information contains generic details or a full brand history.
Purchase with a credit card: In case of fraud, a credit card provides additional protections that make it easier to dispute a charge. If the product arrives defective or does not arrive at all, you can dispute the charge and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them.
Keep documentation: Be sure to know and understand the website’s return and refund policy. Save a copy of the order confirmation page or confirmation email until the item is received.
If you have spotted a scam, even if you have not lost any money, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker.