Commissioner's Blog: Don’t fret over a new pet – know your rights

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Buying a pet is a decision many people make with their hearts as well as their heads, meaning it can be a particularly devastating experience when things go wrong with a new companion.

The issues we hear about can vary – from new pets with significant health issues or not matching their description (such as size or pedigree), to breeders taking upfront deposits for litters that are never born.

That’s why we have launched a new campaign to help empower new pet owners to understand how the Australian Consumer Law protects them in the same way as it does for other purchases.

Buying from a shop or breeder (that is a business) entitles you to receive an animal that matches its description, be of acceptable quality, free from significant health issues and have a healthy lifespan relative to the breed or species. Any additional promises made about the pedigree, condition, performance or other characteristics must also be upheld by the trader.

This means if you encounter a genuine pet purchase issue, you may be entitled to receive a remedy (such as financial compensation or reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses) while still being able to keep the animal.  

These protections are unlikely to apply to private sales when someone sells a pet on a one-off or ad hoc basis, so extra caution is advised if buying this way.

Ask if you can visit where the pet was born and meet its parents to check it has been well cared for, see how big it is likely to grow and what its temperament may be like.

Avoid pet scams – or inadvertently supporting a puppy farm or poor breeding practices – by not buying online if you can’t meet the animal first.

If buying a pet isn’t for you, consider adopting a new companion from an animal shelter or rescue.

For more information about your pet-buying consumer rights, visit the Consumer Protection website at If you have a genuine issue with a new pet and have been unable to negotiate a remedy, contact us on 1300 30 40 54 or email

Trish Blake Commissioner 2023
Trish Blake Commissioner 2023, by CP Media

Trish Blake

Commissioner for Consumer Protection


Consumer Protection
Media release
02 Mar 2023

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