The West Australian government has launched a campaign to educate pet owners about their consumer rights when purchasing a pet.

The campaign comes after Consumer Protection received 186 complaints about issues with pets in the past three years, including issues about significant health problems, pedigree, and other factors not matching their description.

Sue Ellery, WA Commerce Minister, said it is important for Western Australians to know that they have rights when they buy a new pet, like they would with any other purchase.

“To make sure your new pet comes with consumer guarantees, be sure to purchase from reputable local breeders or pet stores, as consumer guarantees do not apply to ad-hoc, one-off purchases from a private seller.

“When shopping around for a new pet, see if you can visit the pet in the place it was born and meet its parents. This is the best way to check that a pet has been well cared for and to get an idea of how big the pet will grow and what its temperament might be like.”

The aim of the campaign is to empower new pet buyers and increase awareness of how the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) protects new pet owners, providing the same consumer guarantees as any other product purchased.

“Don’t buy pets online without meeting them first, as you could be inadvertently supporting a puppy farm, poor breeding practices or fall victim to a scam.

“Of course, if buying a pet isn’t for you, I encourage you to consider adopting your new companion from an animal shelter or rescue,” said Ellery.

If a buyer has a genuine issue with their new pet, they may be entitled to a remedy. This will depend on whether the problem is major or minor and could range from a partial to full refund. Pet owners may be able to keep their beloved new pet while receiving monetary compensation or reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

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