Online pet marketplace, Pets4Homes, has launched a new deposit scheme service that is set to offer “peace of mind to all parties involved” in the rehoming process of animals.
It is reportedly the first platform of its kind to launch a deposit scheme, which ensures that a deposit, placed by a buyer in advance of first viewing of a potential pet, is not transferred to the seller until a viewing has taken place.
The opt-in function allows sellers to set the required deposit amount, which buyers can then pay into a third party escrow account.
Funds are only released once both parties confirm through their Pets4Homes accounts, and are both satisfied that the deposit can be released.
Pets4Homes said that one example of how the service might be used involves a would-be owner placing a deposit for a puppy or kitten.
A physical or video viewing of their future pet would then be arranged in accordance with Pets4Homes guidelines, in advance of the animal reaching eight weeks.
Following a “satisfactory” viewing, the deposit is then released to the seller, with the buyer returning to make collection and final payment once their new pet is eight weeks of age.
The deposit service is designed to “take the financial risk out of the rehoming experience”.
It has also been implemented to “give breeders peace of mind”. According to Pets4Homes, the high demand of pets has made it “increasingly common” for potential owners to arrange viewings with multiple breeders to ensure that they do not miss out on rehoming a pet.
Late cancellations close to collection can be “devastating” for breeders, and to minimise this risk the Pets4Homes Deposit Service only allows one active deposit to be placed at any given time.
It comes as more than 150,000 animals were rehomed through Pets4Homes during June and July 2020.
Sellers can opt-in to the Pets4Homes Deposit Service, and set the required deposit amount at 15%, 20% or 25% of the total purchase price. Buyers can then pay the deposit through Pets4Homes, where it is then held in an escrow account until both parties have confirmed that they are happy for the deposit to be transferred.
The service will be free-of-charge for sellers, whilst buyers are charged a 9% service fee (or a minimum charge of £8) for each completed deposit. If a buyer cancels a deposit, the deposit will be refunded to the buyer’s bank account.
Axel Lagercrantz, CEO of Pets4Homes, said: “Any marketplace inherently suffers from a small minority attempting to exploit the goodwill of new owners.
“Since inception more than 15 years ago, Pets4Homes have therefore always advised against sending deposits to strangers. With the increased demand for pets however, we realized that deposits had become a rule rather than an exception.”
He added: “This is why we are proud to be able to introduce the first safe deposit service of its kind in the UK, specifically implemented for animal lovers and responsible breeders, as well as charities and shelters needing help to rehome a pet.”