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UK’s first pet payment holding service launches

Pet Buying Protection (PBP) has launched an independent intermediary payment holding service that gives buyers the time and space to check the pet’s health and welfare before money is lost.

Roy Wilcox, director at PBP, said the service would help to “provide a barrier against scammers and unscrupulous breeders.”

PBP informs the seller that it will be holding onto the payment until the buyer has collected and checked the pet. The creators of the service believes criminals are more likely to pull out of the sale upon hearing this, saving the buyer from “financial loss and emotional trauma”. It is also expected that using PBP will prevent sellers from demanding upfront payments.

Payment is forwarded to PBP before the buyer collects the pet. After receipt of the animal, the buyer has up to seven days to check on the animal’s health and authenticity. If all is well, the holding service will then forward the payment to the seller.

Around 88% of puppies bred in the UK are born to unlicensed breeders and importers can make over £100,000 a year, attracting criminal gangs from Eastern Europe and Ireland. Scammers use fake websites, “heart pulling” social media posts and ads and often offer pets for ‘free’ and then demand upfront payment for bogus shipping and vet costs.

Defra estimates 40-80,000 puppies and kittens are sold via third parties per year.

Wilcox said: “Our service aims to reduce the risk of losing out financially and emotionally to unscrupulous sellers. The protection we offer will deter criminals and reward genuine sellers. Lucy’s Law is a start in the protection against puppy farmers, however it won’t protect other animals. The trade is so lucrative that unscrupulous sellers will and are using other clandestine methods.

“Genuine sellers have everything to gain from association with and through positive recommendation. Our clients are more likely to buy healthy and legal pets. We charge a small fee to act as an intermediary between the buyer and seller.”

He added: “PBP offer buyers greater control; increasing the probability of receiving a healthy and genuine pet that’s disease free and cared for. Good sellers needn’t worry, the unscrupulous however, are likely to pull out of the sale.”

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