Here’s how to protect yourself from online pet supplies scammers who fail to deliver.
Online Pet Product Scams on the Rise Due to COVID-19
Did you know that pet-related scams now comprise around 25% of online scams reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker?
That’s according to a July warning from the BBB, which reported more than 3,300 inquiries and 119 complaints filed by consumers in 29 states for one online retailer alone that claims to “specialize in high-quality, affordable pet products.”
Customers alleged that they never received pet products ordered and paid for online. Now that Americans are spending more time at home due to stay-at-home mandates and overall pandemic precautions, more people turn to online retailers for delivery of pet food, supplies and other products.
Click or swipe for the BBB’s tips on how to avoid getting scammed by online retailers failing to deliver pet supplies.
1. Only buy from reputable online retailers
When ordering pet supplies online, search for and review the company’s business profile at BBB.org. Ordering from popular online retailer sites such as Chewy.com, 1-800-PET-MEDS is a safe bet, but don’t rule out smaller pet supply businesses struggling to survive during the pandemic. But check them out thoroughly at the BBB and read online reviews of the company first.
Find out: How to Save Money on Pets
2. Verify contact information
The BBB recommends checking the online retailers’ website for a physical address and phone number to contact with issues or questions. Make sure that location actually exists and call the number to check whether it’s responsive before ordering pet supplies online.
“Check for an “About Us” page and whether listed information contains generic details or a full brand history” advises the BBB.
Find out: 10 Easy Ways to Cut Pet Expenses in Half
3. Make sure the domain is secure
Look for a secure website domain, one that begins with “https:/” to ensure that hackers can’t steal your credit card number and other personal information offered when you order. A secure site will also include a “lock” icon on the purchase or shopping cart page, according to the BBB.
4. Use caution with email and social media ads
Be “especially cautious” when it comes to unsolicited emails and ads you see on social media sites, especially if the “great deal” is too good to be true, warns the BBB. There’s a good chance that $10 “luxury dog bed” for sale in the ad may not be what it seems.
Read the fine print before making any purchase to rule out hidden costs or unwittingly signing up for a recurring monthly charge.
5. Pay with a credit card
The BBB recommends making online purchases with your credit card, since the card offers additional protections in case you run into problems with your order. That way, if the products you receive are damaged – or you never receive the order at all – it’s easier to dispute the charge.
Gift cards, prepaid card and debit cards don’t generally offer the same protections on purchases that you receive when you use a credit card. View our list of best credit cards here »
6. Keep a record of the order
Make sure you thoroughly understand the company’s return and refund policy and keep a copy of the order confirmation or email until after your package arrives.
This article by Deb Hipp was originally published on Debt.com.
Published by Debt.com, LLC