The Other Side of the Story-Customer Reviews
You have been working hard and saving your money to purchase the car of your dreams-it’s beautiful, unique, and you have already formed an emotional attachment to this object that you don’t even have in your possession. You understand that this purchase is B.I.G.! This car will not only cost a significant amount money, but it also will be in your garage for many years; it will be your responsibility to pay for repairs; and it will be relied on to get you safely to your destination. You do your research to choose the most trustworthy dealership to buy your car.
Trustpilot.com and the Better Business Bureau are your chosen sources to research and select a dealership from which to purchase your new car. You view both of these sources as legitimate consumer-review websites. When reading about one dealership, you see trends and multiple comments such as: “poor customer service after I purchased my car”; “I experienced frustrating delivery issues getting my car after it was ordered”; “my car was defective and the dealership wasn’t helpful in resolving the issues”; “when I had problems, I had to talk to a foreign call center”; and “when my car was proven to be a lemon, the dealership wouldn’t refund the money I had spent fixing the car.” Despite some good reviews, wouldn’t the negative reviews be considered red flags, by most consumers, to avoid this dealership? Why would you open yourself up to the frustration, stress, and financial risks ordering a car from a dealership with multiple bad reviews? Run!! Find a new dealership!!
The same theory holds true for customer reviews of online puppy sellers. Although Stop Online Puppy Mills believes in adoption and rescue, we understand many individuals seek to purchase a puppy from a breeder. And, in today’s society, purchasing a puppy from an online puppy seller, or broker, has gained popularity. Despite the presence of RESPONSIBLE breeders who would never ship a puppy or sell to someone sight unseen, today’s consumers seem to embrace purchasing a puppy online using the “click and ship method” that looks like this: look at multiple puppies’ pictures; select your puppy; talk to a complete stranger, or puppy salesperson on the phone; give them your credit card number to place your order; and wait for your puppy to arrive via airplane or ground transport. The consumers like how easy peasy this process is. Thousands and thousands and thousands of puppies are sold each year using a system that puts our trust in complete strangers that sit on the other end of the phone or breed in far-away kennels.
However, the online puppy-selling industry does have a dark side- a side of the story that online sites don’t talk about on their websites. Fortunately, the “other side” of the story is there for us to see-but just because we “look”, do we “see” the other side of the story? How many potential puppy-purchasing customers read reviews on the BBB or Trustpilot.com website before they purchase?
How many customers read troubling reviews of Puppy Spot or Lancaster Puppies, PuppyFind or Greenfield Puppies and chose to ignore them? They choose to “roll the dice” hoping to get a healthy puppy and hoping to avoid getting financially taken advantage of when promises and “health guarantees” don’t live up to the pre-purchase hype? After reviewing theTrustpilot.com and BBB reviews of a large, prominent online, puppy-selling website, it shows many consumers do just that-read the reviews, roll the dice, hope for the best OR don’t read the reviews until after they are dissatisfied with their new furry family member.
A prominent, online puppy-selling website has, as of July 7, 2021, an aggregate of 31% of their reviews falling into Average, Poor, or Bad ratings. It has been given a 3.9 out of 5-star overall review. Now, some will say “yes, that means 69% of their reviews combine for Excellent and Great reviews.” This is a valid statement but think about what is being reviewed-the purchase of a living, breathing, sentient being-a puppy. We are not looking at reviews for a toaster, a blouse, a smart phone, or a garden hose purchased online. These types of items most likely are considered “low impact” items on the quality of our life. But the purchase of a living, breathing, sentient puppy, that will be your emotional and financial responsibility for 10-15 years, should be looked at with higher scrutiny. When you consider the impact of an unsatisfactory experience when purchasing a puppy, 31% of customers leaving an Average, Poor, or Bad rating should raise cause for concern.
Trustpilot.com and BBB reviews from June 2021 through January 2020 of the prominent, online, puppy-selling website displayed many recurring trends such as:
- Puppies arriving sick at the purchasers’ homes with maladies such as ear infections; mites; parvo; hookworm; ringworm; kennel cough; fleas; giardia; and diarrhea despite a pre-shipping vet check;
- Poor customer service AFTER the puppy was ordered and money exchanged hands;
- Customers ordering a DNA test and finding the puppy was NOT the breed that was ordered;
- Transportation issues such as poor communication regarding the puppies’ arrival dates or times; frequent schedule changes; or denial to customers wishing to pick up puppies and requiring puppies to be shipped via airplane or ground transport;
- After purchase, customers having to communicate through a “call center” in the Philippines where agents where frequently not knowledgeable about the puppies’ logistics or intricacies;
- Puppies arriving and found to have genetic issues such as Portosystemic Shunts, heart murmurs, or Heterochromia in a Boston Terrier-these issues may have been noted in the breeding parents IF the breeder had done responsible genetic testing;
- Customers having difficulty obtaining or communicating with the puppies’ breeders thus making it challenging to ask questions and making it difficult to research the breeders BEFORE purchasing the puppy;
- Lack of pictures from the breeders to chronicle the puppy’s developmental journey;
- Puppies arriving dirty, soiled and traveling in their own urine and feces when being transported via air or ground transport; and
- Puppies arriving scared, poorly socialized, and traumatized.
If these were comparable reviews to poor service at a car dealership or a surgeon’s practice, would you proceed and give them your business and trust your well-being with their services? Why does the consumer ignore these trends in reviews when purchasing a puppy? The saying goes- “buyer beware.” Unfortunately, the breeding dogs, puppies and consumers suffer when these warning signs and reviews are ignored. Please do not buy puppies online! Please do your research-find a RESPONSIBLE breeder if you choose to purchase instead of adopting or rescuing your next dog-it will save your heart and wallet a lot of heartache.
Stop Online Puppy Mills