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Kitten scam

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Jenny.Miller123, Jul 29, 2019.


  1. Jenny.Miller123

    Jenny.Miller123 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all

    I’m new to this site and wanted to get a bit of advice from a situation I’m currently in.

    2 weeks ago I viewed the most beautiful kitten in London (3 hour drive from me), the private seller was lovely and answered all the relevant questions. She had the Mum and Dad of the litter who I could see and showed me her previous litters from when she bred the cats before. I had done my research and everything seemed legitimate so I had no problems reserving the kitten and putting down a deposit of £150 after I had visited the kittens at her home. The only mistake was not getting a receipt in writing for the deposit however she did confirm that I had paid the deposit via email.

    Since the day of the visit and paying the deposit, the seller has completely ignored me for two weeks and has then gone ahead and reposted an advert saying that all kittens are still available. A friend rang the advert to ask if the kitten was still available and she confirmed that yes it is and they we’re able to view. I’m devastated. I wonder how many more people she is doing this to?

    I’m more angry about the fact that I’ve bonded with the kitten and I’m certain I won’t be getting the kitten or my deposit.

    Has anyone ever been through the small claims court for this before? I’m willing to take it as far as it needs to go and I realise I will be paying a lot of money to progress this but as far as I’m concerned she needs to learn a lesson!
     
  2. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Sadly these scams happen all too often. It's important to see a breeder's cattery registration and make a note of their cattery name just in case.

    I'm sorry this has happened to you, perhaps contact Trading Standards
     
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  3. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    Unfortunately even with the best of research people can be caught out by scammers. If she was a private seller then the chances are they are unlikely to be registered but it's certainly worth investigation. Scammers always appear genuine, that's how they manage to fool people.

    Get someone different to call about the kittens and pretend to live just a few miles away. I suspect you might find that all the kittens are 'sold' if the potential purchaser is local and it's a scam. If you have enough friends, get anotherfriend to call later in the day but this time pretend to live hours away. I suspect the kittens will suddenly be available again.

    It sounds like the scam is the actual distance that a prospective kitten owner travels. If they travel several hours to see the kittens then the scammers will work on the assumption that they won't travel that distance to recover their deposit or at least most won't so they could net quite a healthy profit but it's unlikely that they would try that with people who live locally as their scheme wouldn't work.

    They will most likely have blocked your email by now or be using a different one to continue their scam so, find a contact email address or telephone number for them and then get a friend to email them from their email address, stating (pretending to be you) that you and a friend who is a policeman/woman will be coming down to collect your deposit but your visit will be unannounced!
    That should spook them enough to at least get them to offer you your money back if they haven't already moved addresses.

    With scammers, they base their scams on the premise that people will give up and not bother chasing up the money as in this case so the best way is to effectively scam them by pretending that you will be around at some point with a police friend to either collect the kitten or your money.

    Try it...you've nothing to lose and I'd certainly collate all the evidence and report the matter to the police even if they do nothing about it.
     
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  4. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Registered breeders are private sellers
     
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  5. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    True, but many private sellers are not registered breeders.
     
  6. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    If it is a scam, and I don't doubt your feeling that it is, it's an unusual one. You have her home address, contact details, you actually saw the kittens (and presumably the parents) and you have an email receipt for the deposit.

    Scams aren't usually carried out in that way. It's very odd.
     
  7. Jenny.Miller123

    Jenny.Miller123 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks all for your responses! I was wondering whether she was going to wait until very last minute then tell me that the kittens I have reserved have died. Do sellers need to provide evidence from the vets to prove that the kittens have died? If she thinks I’m not going to take this further, she is very wrong.
     
  8. Shrike

    Shrike Brooke's faithful manservant

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    Surely even if the kittens died, she'd have to refund the deposit?
     
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  9. Jenny.Miller123

    Jenny.Miller123 PetForums Newbie

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    Exactly! I have read up on some scams where people say this and say the deposit is none refundable if they die. Which is ridiculous
     
  10. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

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    So what is the opposite of a private seller when it comes to breeding cats and dogs?
     
  11. Ottery

    Ottery Cat Lady

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    I agree it sounds an odd scam for the reasons @gskinner123 says. I'm not sure why they would rely on someone not turning up again just because they live 3 hours away. I've always lived 2+ hours from breeders and it wouldn't put me off going there again - I'd have to go back to collect the kitten so clearly I'm prepared to do the journey again. So if the place you went was genuinely her house, she could easily be confronted by angry prospective buyers. I booked a kitten last year who died, and the breeder immediately offered my deposit back so 'death' would certainly not be a reason for keeping your deposit (although obviously scammers don't care about legitimate reasons).

    You say the seller has ignored you - do you mean by email/messaging? Have you tried calling her? I often call the breeder after a couple of weeks to check how the kitten is getting on. Worth trying, to see what response you get.
     
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  12. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    A good question.

    Let's say I decided to sell Jasper or Ollie because they couldn't get on together then I would be quite rightly classed as a private seller as it was a one-off sale but, if someone has a cattery or business premises specifically set up from which they sell kittens or puppies on a repeat basis then they are clearly not private sellers irrespective of what they may claim.

    However, even if they have no premises but provide evidence to potential customers that they have bred previous litters and sold to the public, unless a litter was a one off case/accident then I'm quite sure that the Inland Revenue might be able to determine whether or not they are private sellers or actually a business seller albeit part or full time in which case, irrespective of whether or not a registered breeder. If they are selling kittens/puppies for remuneration on a repeat basis then they should be registered with the IR for tax purposes and provide appropriate accounts even if they have made a financial loss in that or previous years and therefore not liable for tax.
    That also begs the question are the premises that these so called private sellers sell from, registered for business use even if it is a private dwelling? Do they carry public liability insurance? If they have potential customers coming to their home or premises on a repeat basis then they should have public liability insurance because if not it would leave them open to legal claims if they injured themselves whilst viewing a kitten or puppy if it could be proven that the seller had been negligent in some way and given the way people are these days, I wouldn't risk it.

    I used to work from home and although I never had large numbers of clients actually in my home, I did have some and took steps to insure against the possibility of them injuring themselves no matter how remote the risk was.
     
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  13. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

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    Thank you, that makes sense.
     
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  14. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Except 99% of registered cat breeders investigated by HMRC have been found to be making a loss on kitten sales and are not required to be registered. Ergo, private seller.
     
  15. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    I'm sure the HMRC didn't conduct a survey of every cat breeder in the UK. As with other trades and businesses, they would simply pick out random breeders to investigate with the conclusion in the case of those breeders that those they investigated probably weren't profiting from their breeding endeavours. The HMRC does this all the time with various trades and businesses. The randomly select a group be it plumbers, electricians, window cleaners, driving instructors etc etc and look for any anomalies though it doesn't mean that someone was initially chosen because they thought they were cheating the system. It's just a random choice which may or may not expose something untoward.

    They would certainly not require any business to register for VAT unless their income exceeded £85,000 but anyone running a business be it part time or whatever is required in law to inform the IR. The self assessment forms, unless they have changed since I had to retire due to ill health four years ago, required me to disclose any other source of income including interest from an undisclosed source.

    I'm not saying that most breeders make any money from breeding, far from it. I know this only too well from my daughter as I'd be extremely surprised if she broke anywhere near even let alone she profited from it given all the outlay she makes but there are large operation breeders who do make money and if someone isn't ethical in their breeding regime and see breeding kittens only as a way of adding to their bank balance then they too will profit.
     
  16. Psygon

    Psygon Yoshi Tonks! :-)

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    Not strictly true if the income you make in a year is under £1000, and will always be under £1000.

    You'd probably still need to keep records. But you don't have to declare it.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tax-free-allowances-on-property-and-trading-income
     
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  17. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    In the last 2 years, thousands of breeders have been investigated by HMRC, and they've been found via records from PetPlan and Agria. The investigations have been so large in number that both PetPlan and Agria were advised to warn breeders, the GCCF advised similarly.

    HMRC have, as far as I understand, pulled back on their investigations now as they didn't really get anywhere. But their aggression was such that they were knocking on breeders' doors and demanded entry and records there and then.

    So please be under no illusion. Most registered breeders are private sellers through HMRC's own findings
     
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  18. Jenny.Miller123

    Jenny.Miller123 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all - just an update, everything worked out fine and I collected the kits on Monday thanks for all the advice
     
  19. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

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    That's good, hope kitty is fine. Would love to see a photo! :)
     
  20. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    Lovely update :Cat I'm glad to hear it turned out okay in the end. Now we require photographic evidence :Cat:Cat
     
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