I was looking to adopt a puppy for a while and I came across an ad I saw on the internet for a golden doodle puppy. This is the direct link for it:
I contacted the owner via the email button on the ad and I received an immediate response. The person supposedly goes by the name of Gabrella and I'm sure he or she is in on it too! All of our conversation was only communicated via email.
Gabrella was happy for me to adopt this puppy and told me that because the puppy is in NSW, Australia and that I'm from Melbourne, Australia that he/she is happy to sell me the puppy for $225 plus $60 shipping fee. I was O.K with that. This person told me to pay via the Western Union to guy all the way in Cameroon! I was hesitant as this made no sense to me. Why am I paying to a person all the way in Africa, if the dog's owner is in Australia. I emailed Gabrella to ensure that this payment was made to the correct person. And of course he/she said yes. Gabrella's email became more frustrated because I did not respond immediately via email and that I had to pay and pass back the MTCN number to clear the transaction. As soon as I payed via the Western Union and provided the MTCN number to Gabrella. The money was collected in Africa within an hour.
Shortly after, I received an email from USHIP requesting that I pay for pet insurance of $1130 plus $70 transfer fee to the same guy in Cameroon and that I must pay within one hour of this email! Nothing was mention to me about paying a total of $1485 or pet insurance in the first place. The email went on to say if I don't pay within the hour, I would get fined $50 000 for pet abuse and brought to court as the puppy will stay at the shipping company for up to 6 months!
And of course, I didn't want that happening at all. I emailed Gabrella and forwarded this email from USHIP, he/she replied that they also received the same email and that I should also provide the full payment with the MTCN number. I trusted this person, so I went ahead and tried to transfer this amount via the Western Union. Luckily enough, it didn't allow me to process this transaction. I then started receiving numerous emails (about 10 in 15 mins) from Gabrella trying to get me to process this payment. The emails became more frustrated and impatient. Then Gabrella said to transfer the money via a money gram store at 7/11. By this time it was 8p.m. However money gram will only take cash. I couldn't believe it. I told Gabrella that I do not have $1200 cash and the best I could do is go to an ATM and withdraw $500. So Gabrella told me that was fine. Just forward the payment to Cameroon to proceed with the puppy's shipment on time. I was running around for one and a half hours, going to the bank, going to a 7/11 to transfer the money. But again, luckily enough the system was down. I found this behaviour very suspicious. I then emailed Gabrella to give me his/her contact number as I found emailing very difficult. He/she gave me a fake number! I tried calling it several times and it didn't work.
Not long after, I received a phone call all the way from Cameroon. A man with an accent claiming that he is the manager of USHIP demanded that I pay, so that the puppy can be shipped on time. He was unprofessional, rude and was insistent that I must pay. He called me about 5 times to make my payment. I got very angry as I am running around at 10pm to try to make the payment and explained that I cannot make the payment at the money gram store due to a system failure. He refused to believe that this wasn't working and that I must go back to the store and make the payments.
I went home and started doing some research on USHIP and found many other complaints similar to mine.
If only I had done my research to begin with, I wouldn't have put myself in this situation. Yesterday I received many missed calls from Cameroon and an email from Gabrella which reads the following:
I just want to inform you that the delivery service will hand the
puppy and the documents of the puppy over to the PETS AUTHORITIES
today by 3:00pm for pet abuse and abandoning because their manager
keep calling you but you don't want to pick their call.
Their tactics are devious and they are all frauds.
Make sure you do your thorough research before committing a purchase.
Monetary Loss: $320.