20 JAN

The feeling of bringing home a new pet makes for an experience that is unlike any other, especially when it’s your first time to purchase a furry companion with your own money.

Picture this: Everything often goes great once you bring a new pet into your home—they sniff, walk, and rub themselves against your furniture out of curiosity, play around, and tucker out. As soon as you wake up the next day, however, you may likely see that your pet doesn’t feel too well, isn’t as hyperactive as it was yesterday, or worse, dead.

Understandably, you might panic at the hard-to-bear image of your newfound friend struggling with something it can’t control, which eventually leads you back to where you got it from. When you bring your new pet back to a private breeder, pet shop, r re-homing shelter to get the problem sorted out with a refund or effective treatment, more trouble ensues: the seller claims that they have no responsibility. You may be enraged, dismayed, or even outright disgusted at the seemingly heartless denial. All emotions lead you to ask yourself one question: “What are my consumer rights when I buy a pet?”

What you need to know when things go wrong

First things first: relax. Nothing good comes from doing anything out of rage or impulse, which means that it’s much better to compose yourself. Before all else, it is vital to go over several details first that are essential in determining just how strong your consumer rights are when you buy a pet, namely:

  1. Where you purchased your pet: Is it from a private breeder, business seller or re-homing shelter?
  2. How you paid for the pet: Did you pay for it in cash, with a cheque, through a bank transfer, from a distance on the net, during a call, or with a credit or debit card?
  3. The current information that you have about your pet: What did the seller tell you about your pet? Did they answer your questions properly and truthfully?
  4. Your pet’s written records: Did the seller provide you a digital or physical copy of the information about the pet they sold you? This can be in the form of a signed puppy contract or commercial document.


What the law says

In the eyes of British law, pets—regardless of whether they are a common pet, such as a dog, or an exotic pet, such as a spider—are considered “goods.” The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 stipulates that every good must satisfy the following conditions:

  • They must be of satisfactory quality
  • They must be fit for a particular purpose
  • They must be as described

Generally, the stipulations of the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 apply to purchases that are made from registered business sellers, such as pet shops. If you bought your pet from a business seller and have your consumer rights subsequently breached, then you are entitled to reject the goods and receive a refund or replacement.

What if you bought it from a private breeder?

As opposed to purchasing your pet from a business seller or pet shop, buying from a private breeder is often a grey area due to several factors that determine the extent of your consumer rights. Private breeders are recognized as either a business seller or private seller based on the premise of whether or not they are selling for profit. Regardless of whether or not a breeder is licensed, they are considered as a business seller if they intend to make money from breeding animals.

When it comes to dealing with private breeders that help produce animals for profit, the Consumer Rights Act applies in full force, requiring every condition to be satisfied. On the other hand, purchasing a pet from a private breeder that is classified as a private seller reduces the strength of your consumer rights. Buying pets from private seller breeder means that you only have the right for the goods to match the way the seller described them.

Final words

Buying a pet with the hopes of having a companion that you can enjoy life with but has certain problems that prevent you from doing so will always be a heartbreaking experience. Should the seller you bought your pet from refuse to make amends by refunding your purchase, covering treatment costs, or offering a replacement, keep your rights in check by referring to this guide.

If you’re looking to claim compensation on mis-sold goods or services in the UK, get in touch with Consumer Reclaim today! We’re happy to help.

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Consumer Reclaim is a trading style of Consumer Reclaim Limited. Registered office 207 Knutsford Road, Warrington, Cheshire WA4 2QL. Registered in England & Wales No. 0722307