26 September 2023

New pet buying campaign to promote awareness

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The Consumer Protection Agency has launched a new pet buying awareness campaign, promoting the public’s rights when purchasing a pet.

In a statement, the Agency said it had received 186 complaints in the past three years about new pets having significant health issues or their pedigree or other factors not matching their description.

“There have also been complaints about breeders taking deposits for prospective litters and then not returning the deposit under certain circumstances,” the Agency said.

“This spike in complaints has led to the public naming of one breeder in Western Australia, ongoing investigations into several other breeders and pet shops and the successful outcome of $27,300 refunded to 31 complainants from 2020 to 2022, through Consumer Protection’s intervention.”

It said the new campaign was aimed at empowering new pet buyers and increasing awareness about how the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) protected them, providing the same consumer guarantees as any other product purchased.

“Under the ACL, pets sold by breeders and pet shops are required to match the description as advertised, be of acceptable quality, be free of significant health issues and live a healthy lifespan that is expected of the breed,” the Agency said.

“Traders must also meet additional promises to purchasers based on animal pedigree, condition, performance or characteristics.”

It said the ACL applied to all pet shops, breeders and private sellers operating in trade or commerce, but did not apply to someone selling a pet privately on a one-off or ad hoc basis.

“If a buyer has a genuine issue with their new pet, they may be entitled to a remedy,” it said.

“This will depend on whether the problem is major or minor and could range from a partial to full refund.”

“Pet owners may be able to keep their beloved new pet while receiving monetary compensation or reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses,” the Consumer Protection Agency said.

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