Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm running a scam! Deposits and selling animals

We've got a litter of Airedale puppies that we're selling right now, and Andrea is handling that quite well.  One of the people interested in a puppy came by, looked at all of the puppies, and ended up picking one. 

We asked for, and she paid a $100 deposit on the puppy, and we assumed that we'd see her in a couple of weeks when they were weaned. 

The deposit is a point at which we consider the puppy to be sold; we tell other people interested in purchasing it that it's not available for sale, and we hold the pup until the sale can be concluded by paying the balance due -- in this case, an additional $350. 

10 days later the customer called and told Andrea a sad tale.  Her car was broken, or had been wrecked,  or her husband  was in the navy, or... well, I'm not sure what the excuse was.  Here's the email:

I really hate to have to do this, but we will not be able to take that puppy. We are having trouble with the car leaking oil and our warranty is not going to cover it so we can't afford to repair the car and buy a dog :( is it possible to get the deposit back we put on the little boy? It would be greatly appreciated so we can get this at fixed. We are still very interested in getting a dog though, if you guys have more puppies later on maybe we can get one when our car isn't breaking :P very sorry about this 

Andrea, because she's generally more than fair, agreed to return the deposit, and asked when the woman would be able to come get it.  The woman said initially Friday, but emailed and said Saturday.  And then blew off Saturday, but emailed and said that she'd be there FOR SURE on Sunday!    So after the third time that this woman agreed to a day to come get her deposit and then blew it off, Andrea was pretty frustrated. 

I looked at the email, and considered the fact that this woman had first reneged on her purchase of the dog, and then stood Andrea up three times, and told her that I'd consider it fair of her to just keep the deposit.  Andrea thought about it, and agreed, so I sent this email to the woman: 

Dear Ashley

I have reviewed all the email between Andrea and you related to the deposit.

Thank you for your interest in our Airedales - when we take a deposit on a pup we tell other people that pup is sold and potentially loose sales because of that.

I'm sorry that your personal situation does not let you complete the purchase . If you are still interested In a puppy we will credit your deposit toward the purchase price. We will not be refunding the deposit. If you have any questions you can call me at 206 940 4980

And got this in reply: 

I'll be letting everyone know you're running a scam. Hopefully nobody takes your advertisement seriously. Don't need the rest of the public to lose their money to people who never made it clear the deposit was non refundable and who care not about the hardships people are in.

We take deposits on all of the animals we sell.  It's become a standard part of our business, both to make sure that the sale is firm, and the buyer committed, and to allow us a small amount of insurance if the purchase does not go through.  In the case of piglets and puppies, they sell best when very young. 

So here's my question to you, dear reader: 

Do you think that we have treated this woman fairly?


Gilby said...

Deposits are usually non-refundable, and it was generous for Andrea to offer to refund it. But your time is valuable, too, and your offer for the deposit to be credited towards another puppy at a later date is more than fair.

Snowi-Ella said...

You treated her MORE than fairly. Of course, I'm very tempted to leave a string of expletives at how angry people like that make me... I'll restrain myself though.

She had ample chance to make her merry way to you to get the deposit back. It was 100% her fault she wasted time and stood up Andrea. If she really needed that money, she should have gotten her ass over there and reclaimed it.

As to her "nonrefundable deposit" crap, that's totally ridiculous. She had more than one date set to get her money back. No one told her no until now, when she's dicked around too long and wasted everyone's time.

The profanity really doesn't want to hold back, so I'll say this... What a BITCH!

Scrapple said...

I'm with Gilby. I feel for the woman, but wasting another person's time (three days in a row nonetheless) on TOP of not actually purchasing the puppy deserves some form of punishment. Crediting it toward a future purchase was very generous, but given her history I'm pretty sure that's money in the bank!

sheila said...

Bruce you were more than fair. It is understood that a deposit is nonrefundable. That is the norm in any business transaction. If Ashley had honored her part of the bargain at any point in this deal she wouldn't be complaining now. After she had stood me up for 3 days there is no way in hell I would have even been as generous as to offer to let her put the money toward a later litter. Also, if Ashley goes around falsely bad mouthing you then it's slander. Ashley could end up in court and this could potentially cost her even more money. Ashley is a nut case.

Enjay said...

I also think that you were more than fair, although if she's having car troubles I can understand that she may have had a difficult time making the appointments and I might have offered to drop the deposit (minus postage and the cost of conformation) in the mail, but the onus is upon her to get herself there or make alternate arrangements.
When my mom was breeding Great Danes the best way she found to weed out the flakes was to insist on a large deposit up front with a nominal amount due at pick up. Something to consider.

Denise said...

I, too, believe you have acted fairly and your prospective customer had unreasonable expectations. Even though most people would assume a deposit such as you collected is nonrefundable, you've no doubt come to the conclusion by now that it would save you grief in the long run if you made that policy explicit, in writing, on the deposit receipt. ;)

Anonymous said...

If deposits are refundable, then what's the point of a deposit?

Anonymous said...

As interesting as this is to talk about, your use of e-mails exchanged between the presumed buyer and you are to remain private until both parties agree to make them public. Posting e-mails without the permission of both parties is against the law, especially mentioning names unless otherwise mentioned that the names have been altered for security reasons. If intact this ladies husband is in the armed service she is covered by federal law for cyber crimes. Which could be a nice fine for you if she decides to take it to NCIS or the FBI. Not defending either party but Posting e-mails and boasting about keeping someones money seems immature to me. In all honesty though, I would remove all e-mails between you and this woman for your sake.

Bruce King said...

You raise an interesting point, and I'm curious about whether it's got any merit.

So what federal statutes are you referring to? And why do you think that correspondence between parties is protected? In the event of a lawsuit the first thing filed into evidence would be the emails- and become public records by doing so.

I think you're talking through your hat sir or madame, but I'm open to you providing some backup to what you've stated here.

Anonymous said...

I believe the only correspondence that's legally confidential and enforceable by law is Medical, or Legal advice/counsel. I don't think you were supplying her with either ;-) although it sounds like she might need both.

Anonymous said...

uhm HELLO?!?! if she is having car problems how do you expect her to come get the deposit?


sheila said...

Hey anonymous AKA JACKASS,

Why would the buyer make an arrangement to come and pick up the deposit if she knew she had no transportation? She made that appointment on 3 occasions to pick up the deposit and blew it off. One would assume the buyer had some form of transportation or why the hell would she make the offer to come pick up the deposit?

Anonymous people throwing out stupid statements are ridiculous.

sheila said...

Another thought...
I'm so glad the pup didn't end up with this woman. If she can't afford both car repairs and a puppy then how would she be able to buy dog food and pay the vet bills? I've had vet bill that rival car repairs and have willingly paid them without complaint. Don't get a dog if you can't afford one.

BigGAdawg said...

You could avoid such future whining from people like Ashley by having them sign a one page acknowledgement that their deposit is an earnest money deposit and under no circumstances refundable in whole or in part. And should they fail to complete the transaction with "X" days from notification that the puppy has been weaned and is ready to pickup, their deposit is forfeit and the puppy will be resold to another party. Throw in a blanket hold harmless clause, etc.

It would be a little more trouble for you to do this but it gives you one less source of whining and bitching in your life. Something we could all use.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, what a pain, I think it's generally understood that deposits are non-refundable, but maybe it's worth considering (reflecting for myself as well, since I take deposits on animals too) putting it in writing and getting a signature, so that the buyer can't claim later that they didn't understand this part.

I'm with Sheila- I always try to counsel people that if you are at all having trouble affording the purchase price of a dog, you probably can't afford owning a dog. The purchase price is usually equivalent to the cost of owning the dog in the first year, so if it's a strain, that means paying for dog food and vet care is also going to be a strain... So maybe best that fate intervened in this case.

Urbancowgrrl said...

I think you were not only fair but Andrea went above and beyond in order to help this person and it is an insult to her generosity that this woman was so rude to you guys.

I'm glad the woman did not buy the puppy because it sounds like she couldn't afford the proper care and is not responsible enough to own a dog. I feel for her that her life is chaotic and difficult, but I don't agree with bringing dependent beings (pets or children) into a life that is that chaotic. It worked out for the best for the puppy but sadly it sounds like this woman didn't learn anything about being responsible from it.

Urbancowgrrl said...

I think this woman made an anonymous post on your blog up there a few comments up. Gee ... if I were in her situation I would take the bus, ask a friend or say "I don't have transportation right now, what can we work out that won't put you out?" You know ... seeing as I'm adult and all and don't run around acting like a victim. Was this person a child? If so, I can understand her behavior - otherwise she needs to grow up.

I see other blogs where emails are posted from other people. I'm not sure if it's legal or not but it is common practice. That is why I try not to let fly any of my dysfunctions in email so that I don't have to worry about them going public. I try to keep all my messed up issues contained to verbal interaction :)

Portland Charcuterie Project said...

you were more than fair.

personally, I would have just mailed it to her, as I don't like wasting my time waiting around for someone.

PS.. I wish you lived closer to Portland.. I'd love to be buying my meat from you and participating in the butchering.


Hamons said...

Isn't it interesting the blog posts that receive so many comments :)

In my landscaping business I have found that there are some customers that just cannot be made happy and for some reason will continually fill their lives with this type of stress. Although I tend to want to help them out, I have found you cannot be helpful enough to them and it is best to move on.

Although, I will agree with some of the above, that simple written contract would have made everything mute point. However, I probably would not have gone to that level of formality with a dog sale either.

Jeff Hamons
Synergistic Acres - Kansas City Natural Farm

Anonymous said...

There are people that try to strong arm you into doing what is in their best intrest.. but she commited to the Pup and therefore.. I believe you and Andrea were more than fair. You did not have to give her credit toward a new pup later on.. I honestly do not think I would want someone to own a pup, that doesn't follow through. After all they deserve the best homes possible. What happens if she gets a pup and the car breaks down? Does the pup have to go without food or care until she can fix her car? Just a thought.. My animals come before my husband..LOL

Suburbanhomesteader said...

When I sell animals (puppies, goats, sheep, pigs, etc.), unless the animal is VERY easy to sell, I usually get the entire purchase price up front, refundable if the animal has issues between the time the deal is made and the time the animal is ready to leave my place. Even with easy-to-sell animals, I take a deposit of 50% of the purchase price. This serves a number of purposes - it weeds out the flakes, it ensures that the person does not continue to shop around, and it ensures that I do not lose sales because I thought all the animals were spoken for when I still have some available. It also helps ensure that the animals go to their new homes on time, which helps with the logistics at my place.

Suburbanhomesteader said...

When I sell animals (puppies, goats, sheep, pigs, etc.), unless the animal is VERY easy to sell, I usually get the entire purchase price up front, refundable if the animal has issues between the time the deal is made and the time the animal is ready to leave my place. Even with easy-to-sell animals, I take a deposit of 50% of the purchase price. This serves a number of purposes - it weeds out the flakes, it ensures that the person does not continue to shop around, and it ensures that I do not lose sales because I thought all the animals were spoken for when I still have some available. It also helps ensure that the animals go to their new homes on time, which helps with the logistics at my place.

Unknown said...

My son paid $600.00 deposit for a doberman pup, the day before he was to pick up the pup the breeder suddenly said that they were going to keep it for themselves. $2000.00 was spent fixing up the backyard also. Her excuse was that my son was one of the last to ask about a male pup and that she doesn't get anything out of it and she wants one. Each pup cost $1600.00 - doesn't get anything out of it yeah right. My son was not the last to ask for a male pup either. I'm sorry that you were mucked around but not all breeders are above board and they do run scams. My son took leave so he could be with it and I took a month off. Not to mention of having to drive 2 hours to see the pups and provide the deposit. She has treated my son with contempt, wasted his and mine time, cost us an additional $2000 and you cry about that you name will be hurt hahaha