Pet gets ill or dies after buying
If your pet gets ill or dies soon after you buy it, you might be able to get a refund or replacement from the trader you bought it from.
If you bought your pet from a shop
When you buy a pet, your consumer rights are the same as when you buy any item or product. This means you might be able to get a refund or a replacement pet from the shop if your pet gets ill or dies soon after you bought it.
If you have to spend money taking your pet to the vet soon after you bought it, you should ask the trader you bought it from to cover the cost of the vet’s fees.
Check if the shop has a licence to sell pets from their local council - it should be displayed in their shop or on their website. If they don’t have a licence check how to report the shop to Trading Standards.
Sarah bought a hamster from PetsUniversal. Five days later the hamster got very ill and Sarah had to take it to the vet. Unfortunately, the vet said the hamster had to be put down which would cost £50. Sarah had to pay £50 to the vet to put the hamster to sleep. Sarah can go back to PetsUniversal with a receipt from the vet and ask for her money back, plus either a refund for the cost of the hamster or a new hamster.
If you bought the pet from a private seller
If you bought the pet from a private seller, you have less consumer rights than if you bought it from a shop or organisation. You can only get a refund for the cost of the pet if it didn’t match the description the seller gave you. So if the seller described the pet as healthy, you might have a right to a refund.
If you didn’t ask about the pet’s health and the seller didn’t tell you how healthy it was, there is nothing you can do.
Get a contract when you buy a puppy
Over the past few years there's been a big increase in puppies getting ill or dying soon after being bought from private sellers. Often these puppies have come from 'puppy farms', where they haven't been bred or looked after properly.
If you're planning to buy a puppy, you can ask a private seller to sign a 'puppy contract'. The seller must give a detailed description of the health and history of the puppy in the contract, so you can feel confident that your puppy is fit and well.
The contract is legally binding, so it gives you better protection as a consumer - you'll have a detailed description of the puppy in writing so you can ask for a refund if the puppy doesn't meet that description. Download a free puppy contract from the Puppy Contract website.
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Page last reviewed on 24 September 2019