Thursday, February 18, 2021

You shouldn't buy a sentient being like a cat online sight unseen

There's quite a lot of talk about scammers selling cats and dogs online at the moment partly because the coronavirus pandemic has brought these abusive people out of the woodwork because they can see vulnerable victims to be preyed upon. These gullible victims are people who want to adopt a cat or dog, now without delay during the lockdowns. The scammers are like flies to the honeypot.

Avoid scammers selling pets online
Avoid scammers selling pets online. Image: PoC.


There is so much wrong with buying a cat online and I know it happens quite a lot, sometimes through Facebook which is against their policies. I know that breeders sell cats online and they are shipped sometimes hundreds of miles by airfreight to a purchaser who has never met the animal before. If you buy direct from a reputable breeder it is probably okay except I would never do it myself.

But a lot of people are buying online and the sellers could be scammers. They may present excuses as to why you can't see the cat. They may present a photograph to you in an email attachment of a cat but it might not be the cat that you were purchasing. They might want money upfront for various reasons such as a deposit or vaccination and that's the last you hear of them because they disappear as soon as they've got their greedy hands on it.

You might do a video call but a lot of fakery can take place during a video call. People can misrepresent the facts and totally concoct a fictional account on a video call.

Do people who are purchasing for the first time ever look for a contract and read the contract beforehand? Do they check that the cat is registered with a cat association if that animal is purebred?

If you do buy online then use a credit card because it may provide some protection. There are credit card laws in most Western countries which protect the purchaser. This is because credit cards are provided by banks and banks have the money to protect customers. 

It's a weighting of the transaction towards the purchaser who is more vulnerable particularly when purchasing online which is why you will find some intricate laws protecting customers using credit cards. Think about that and check beforehand.

Also check for a contract, which I've just mentioned. And if they make excuses when they sell an animal to you as to why you can't see the animal then hang up and stop talking to them. Stop emailing them. Don't trust them. And don't provide them with too many bank details on a pro forma form in case they end up raiding your bank account.

I know that I'm making a whole range of negative comments about online purchasing because sometimes it can be okay but it is too risky in my opinion. The biggest point though is that I don't think it is right to buy a sentient being like a domestic cat online sight unseen. The truly moral and decent way to do it and the most secure way to do it is to go to an animal rescue centre and adopt an unwanted cat. That makes sense. It requires a bit of discipline and a bit of introspection.

Think of the animals too. If a person is trying to scam people online he is not going to concerned about animal welfare is he? 

You need to ask yourself questions as to what you're doing. But if you buy a purebred cat online or dog because you fancy a beautiful creature and you can't wait to get your hands on then I think you need to look at yourself. I know I'm lecturing and perhaps that is a bad thing but there are better ways.

These are sentient beings. They have feelings and often their life is ahead of them. It's going to be 15 to 20 years at a normal maximum living with this animal. They will be a major companion to you. You don't go into that sort of arrangement without a lot of consideration and thought. And you don't started off by being scammed out of 750 American dollars because you sent it all up front and the guy disappeared.

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