Gumtree has controversially slapped animal sellers with a listing fee in a bit of stop unscrupulous breeders from selling pets bred in poor conditions.
In July 2020, the popular platform revised its animal listings policy, which saw a 22.8 per cent decrease in the number of reported ads but also challenged their “free marketplace” model.
This fee ranges from $0.84 for a fish to $4.99 for dogs and puppies and was implemented by Gumtree in a bid to discourage casual animal advertisements and irresponsible trading.
There has since been a mixed response as to whether these measures have addressed the problems or simply created an additional barrier for sellers.
RSPCA Australia Senior Scientific Officer Dr Sarah Zito acknowledged that while the internet can be a great way to research and look for your new pet, you should avoid buying a pet online sight unseen.
“This can mean that poor practices can flourish undetected and these can place animals at serious risk, and can also mean consumers risk being deceived and disappointed,” she said.
Gumtree spokeswoman Amanda Behre said despite the uncertainty of demand for pets during the COVID-19 pandemic, the reduction demonstrated a positive effect on the quality of pet adverts being listed on Gumtree’s online marketplace.
“In addition, we have seen an increase in the number of registered animal welfare shelters using our platform (188 per cent) since the insertion fee was implemented for breeders and wider Gumtree users,” Ms Behre said.
The insertion fee does not apply to registered animal welfare shelters, enabling them to continue using the platform to help place animals in their forever home.
Best Friends Felines (BFF) is one of the many registered centres to have experienced “pandemic adoption madness” with over 728 cats and kittens rehomed last year, compared to an average of 350 in previous years.
After the loss of her beloved pet three years ago, Madolline Gourley turned to BFF, when a primary school friend mentioned an ad she had seen on the site.
“My cat wasn’t on their website but she had an ad on Gumtree so I then reached out to the rescue online,” Ms Gourley.
After a thorough research process and quality checks to ensure Madolline was the right fit for Gracie, the adoption was finalised and three years later the pair are inseparable.
If you decide to use the internet to start your search for a new pet, the RSPCA has a number of tips to avoid unscrupulous breeders and scammers.
Gumtree has worked with the RSPCA, among other animal welfare groups, to develop it’s Pets Code of Practice,but they also encourage users to consult with the groups directly if they have any queries or concerns.
Originally published as Gumtree pet listing fee hits dodgy sellers where it hurts