(WXYZ) — A metro Detroit couple is sharing their experience after being swindled for more than a thousand dollars after they tried to purchase two Maine Coon kittens. They say they thought it was a legitimate site but turned out to be a fraud.
This was supposed to be a nice Christmas gift for the couple whose two cats died just a few months ago. Instead, this scam pulled at their heartstrings even more.
“We had an emotional attachment with this cat and we wanted to make our family whole again,” said Richard Cockrum.
He says he just wanted to do something nice for his girlfriend Nancy after the couple's two Maine Coon cats died two months ago.
“I wanted to search for a Christmas present for my girlfriend and we started looking online for Maine Coon kittens,” Cockrum said.
He says this year hasn’t been easy. He contracted COVID-19, spent several days in the hospital, and his company put him on furlough. With all that now in the past, Cockrum wanted to end the year on a positive note. He found the website RyanFoleyMainecoonkittens.com.
“It had a lot of pictures of kittens," Cockrum said. "We fell in love with two of them. Their names were Buddy and Lexa."
After Cockrum picked the two kittens he sent $1,200 through Zelle. Then he says communication went cold.
“After I sent him a few messages I was getting no responses for hours," Cockrum said. "It seemed odd and I said to my girlfriend, there’s a lot of dead air in this texting."
We tried calling the number on the Better Business Bureau website, but there was no answer. Cockrum said he left a message anyway.
According to the BBB, this company is rated F. The BBB says if you’re purchasing something from a website, there are a few things to watch out for. One thing right off the bat is misspelled words, like Maine Coon, which is incorrectly spelled as one word on the website.
“With animals make sure that you are buying from a reputable seller. So you should always look at customer reviews, check out BBB.org, see if there are any complaints about the business,” said Laura Blankenship, director of marketing with the BBB.
Cockrum says this whole experience has been hard on him and his family and says he won’t fall for this kind of scam again.
“It’s a punch in the gut, it’s an emotional thing for my family," he said. "Knowing that it was expensive and it’s been a hard year for probably everybody, $1,200 is a lot of money but we were hoping that we could make ourselves whole again."
Cockrum says he and his girlfriend Nancy will wait and save up to purchase kittens again. This time it will be in-person from local shelters or through adoption.