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23rd July 2008

Buyer beware – a new breed of gazumper hits the market

The word 'gazumping' puts fear into the heart of anyone who has ever bought or attempted to buy a house – but now there is a new breed of ‘gazumper’ on the loose – the ‘Puppy Gazumper’.

Just as the unscrupulous behaviour of sellers continues in the property market, a relatively buoyant pedigree pet market has reported incidents of would-be owners who have been gazumped on their perfect puppy, according to Petplan, the UK’s leading pet insurance provider.

When the right dog is considered the ‘must have’ accessory in certain circles, it is not surprising that potential puppy owners are chasing the same "it" pooch litter. They’re the ones with parents from the right bloodlines. The puppy gazumpers want a dog with a good pedigree and they're willing to pay more to get one.

According to the Petplan Pet Census, almost a third of puppies have been homed before they are even born and would be dog owners are spending hundreds, if not thousands of pounds and sometimes travelling the length of the country for the perfect puppy; no wonder there’s some stiff competition. Diana Foultier from Oxfordshire knew buying her first dog would be memorable, but she could not have forseen that it would be memorable for the wrong reasons.

"I’d always wanted my own Jack Russell so when changes in my lifestyle finally made this a possibility, I spent plenty of time searching for my perfect puppy. Numerous miles and phone calls later, and on my birthday, I finally found a litter and was given my pick. I spotted Chess and was smitten. I paid a £50 deposit and patiently waited until I could fetch her. Two days before, I received a call from the breeder to say that Chess was no longer available but that I could choose another from the litter. Apparently somebody else had simply offered more than the original price I had agreed with the breeder. I couldn’t believe I’d been puppy gazumped!"

There was a happy ending to Diana’s story, after a further three months of searching, her husband found Chess (Mark II).

Head of Marketing for Petplan, Simon Wheeler, thought he had seen it all until he heard about puppy gazumping.

"Buying a new puppy is a major undertaking both financially and emotionally. For many, a new pet is a new member of the family so when the right one is found, an emotional bond is usually formed straight away. Most breeders understand this bond and wouldn’t dream of disappointing a customer , however to help we have provided advice to help avoid gazumping taking place at all."

Petplan has prepared some tips to help those buying a new puppy avoid becoming puppy gazumping victims and more information about puppy insurance which are available at www.petplan.co.uk

Notes to editors

Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits.

Established more than 30 years ago, it is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.

For more information about Petplan cat insurance, please visit:

For more information about Petplan dog insurance, please visit: