When you buy a dog from a breeder, it’s not uncommon for them to require a deposit, especially if the puppies aren’t born yet.
Laura Guerra says she paid $275 up front, but never got the dog she was promised or her money back so she contacted News 5 Investigates for help.
Guerra says over the summer, she began looking for an English Golden Retriever and came across a Facebook page called “Forever Labradors”.
The Facebook page advertises Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies in Fountain.
“I asked if my family could come meet her and see the dogs and she said her mom was really sick and came up with all these different excuses,” Guerra said.
At the time, Guerra didn’t think anything of it.
After paying a deposit, the breeder sent Guerra an email on Oct. 24 saying she didn’t foresee there being more than a couple puppies in her upcoming litter and stated that she may not have a puppy available.
On Oct. 31, the breeder sent Guerra another message claiming the puppies were stillborn.
Guerra says she was upset about the situation. The breeder initially agreed to transfer the deposit to another litter or give a refund. After Guerra’s parents purchased another puppy for her, Guerra requested a refund.
“I should get my money back,” Guerra said.
News 5 Investigates obtained a copy of the breeders terms and conditions which state the deposit is non-refundable, unless the puppy is sick or dies.
When we asked the breeder about a refund, she said via email that Guerra was not entitled to one.
“I am contacted and threatened with the potential of a news story and other various things if I don’t send a refund or send my response to an allegation within a specified time-frame,” the breeder said in an email to Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross. “Many would consider this a form of extortion.”
In the end, the breeder did issue Guerra a refund, but reiterates that by issuing a refund, she is not admitting any wrongdoing. The breeder also says she has hundreds of satisfied customers.
Tips when purchasing a dog from a breeder:
1) Make sure the breeder is local. You should always use caution when a breeder says they live out of state or out of the country.
2) Remember–a breeder asking for a deposit is not uncommon. However, you should ask whether the deposit is refundable and both you and the breeder should have a signed agreement or contract prior to paying any money up front.
3) Ask to meet with the breeder in-person and beware of breeders who refuse to meet in a public setting or talk on the phone.
4) Check references! Most breeders have been in the business for a while, so it’s important to talk with some of their customers.
If you have a problem or issue you’d like News 5 Investigates to look into, send an email to News5Investigates@KOAA.com or eross@KOAA.com.