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Gumtree Scammers

Should you buy a Puppy off Gumtree?

A dog is a wonderful companion; can provide comfort when needed and bring joy and laughter with their antics.

These days, more people are looking to buy Havanese puppies for sale on Gumtree, often because they don’t know where else to find a puppy.

In some cases, this works out great.

You hit the jackpot and your new furry companion is everything you hoped for.

Unfortunately, there’s a sizable risk that scammers will take your hard-earned money without delivering the pup; or send you a frail dog that ends up costing you thousands of dollars in vet bills.

There’s actually been a massive spike of swindlers ripping off people looking for a purebred puppy during lockdown.

In 2020, scammers used online ads to rob Aussies of nearly $300,000 (according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission).

It’s easy to be duped when making an emotional decision while looking at a photo of the puppy you’ve been promised. Who can say no to those big eyes and floppy ears? But if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

As a registered breeder of Havanese dogs, let me tell you what red flags to look out for, so you can avoid the heartache of getting deceived. I’ll also explain how a reputable seller should behave on Gumtree and elsewhere.

Warning signs that a Gumtree seller may be lying about Havanese puppies:

The pet is sold for free, but you must pay costly interstate travel fees to get the dog delivered.
It’s common for pet scammers to post a picture of the dog and pretend they can no longer look after it, so they’re giving it away for free. However, their location is “interstate” so you’re not able to meet the pup and must pay expensive delivery fees (which people are usually happy to do because they think they’re getting a bargain).

Sometimes the seller is genuine and everything goes according to plan. However in cases that go wrong, the buyer can’t get their money back. People usually rush into this decision without doing much research, because they don’t want to miss a good deal.

The seller will only accept bank transfers, not PayPal, RightPaw or cash.
If a seller refuses to allow you to pay with PayPal or RightPaw, it could be because they want to make it hard for you to lodge a payment dispute (in the event you never receive the dog or your expectations aren’t met). Check the location of their bank account and be wary if it’s not based in Australia – run the other way.

Scammers often steal photos of purebred, healthy dogs from legitimate websites. Be suspicious of any seller who can’t discuss the environment in which the puppy is raised, the parents and the pedigree.

It’s a good idea to communicate with the seller over the phone as well, not just with text and emails. Some Breeders insist on a personal phone call before committing a puppy to the Buyer and many will discuss a puppy only if an Application Form is completed.

The seller isn’t able to provide health records with the puppy:
When purchasing a Havanese dog online, it’s reasonable to expect that it’s already been vaccinated, microchipped, wormed and desexed /or come with a desexing Contract.
Ask for the Veterinary phone number so you can be assured the puppy has been seen by the Vet for vaccinations and microchipping.

Even if not a scam, be cautious about backyard dog breeders:

Many backyard breeders aren’t devoted to making sure their Havanese pups are as healthy as possible, if they’re even purebred in the first place (often questionable). The pup may cost less upfront, but you end up paying a lot more for vet costs, if there are health problems later on.

The importance of choosing a registered Havanese breeder on Gumtree:

Welcoming a dog into your family is a life-long commitment, so you want to get off to the best start.

Registered breeders have years of experience breeding healthy, purebred Havanese pups that live to a ripe old age. These breeders follow the highest standards and go above and beyond to care for their dogs.

They should be registered with either MDBA (Master Dog Breeders & Associates) or ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) and you should contact whichever group the Breeder is registered with to confirm.
Any reputable breeder worth their salt will ask questions to make sure you’re a good fit for the puppy (this is how you know they really care about their dogs’ welfare).
Most will have an updated website, maybe a Facebook page and a Blog – Kerris Havanese have all, as communication, commitment and breeder support are important when purchasing a puppy.

About Kerris Havanese (registered Havanese breeder in NSW):

Everything we do is about the welfare, happiness and health of dogs. Our pedigree Havanese are raised in an environment that’s filled with love; so we do everything we can to make sure that each pup is matched to a nurturing home. This is crucial to us.


Registered breeder with Master Dog Breeders and Associates
Certified Raw Dog Food Nutrition Specialist
Over 45 years as an Obedience Instructor and Breeder
Former State Co-Ordinator of the PAL Superdog Team
Australian Bush Flower Essences Practitioner and Author
Holds various Australian Business qualifications