Sadly, several scams have involved dog treadmills, also known as slat mills, over the past few years. We were able to stop a few cases of such cybercrime after we conducted our own investigation and reported them to the appropriate authorities.
This is why we thought it would be good to give you some useful tips on buying legitimate dog treadmills. These suggestions might help you avoid being the victim of such scams during this period of time.
1. Suspiciously low price. Who is the seller?
Good slat mills are usually manufactured by hand. Using high-quality materials is also key. Furthermore, good-quality dog treadmills production involves highly skilled mechanics and engineers. So, a price below 1,200 euros for slat mills is suspicious. Even if the country of manufacturing has cheaper manual labour. This is particularly the case when it comes to a steel-frame hybrid device with aluminium-cast guiding wheels.
It’s best to deal with an established business rather than a sole trader when placing an order. Why? When buying from an established company, you are able to receive a formal purchase document or invoice. This means if there are any issues, you can file a claim for compensation.
In addition, it’s a good idea to go for a well-established company with a solid track record of satisfied customers. Look for real customer reviews and recommendations.
2. Alternative payment methods
In most cases, fraudsters use Western Union and Moneygram as payment methods. Those are really difficult to trace. It is also not recommended to send money to personal accounts. We do not advise using other alternative payment methods, especially ones that you have not used before. One major point to keep in mind is to never provide your own bank card information!
Reliable dog treadmill manufacturers and legitimate companies can offer different payment methods on their websites. Those can be direct bank transfers, and card payments through a virtual POS terminal or PayPal, all including buyer protection.
3. Online presence
Reliable companies are present online, using a bunch of different channels and platforms. As an example, you can clearly check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and more. Legitimate businesses have their own website with working links to various social networks where their presence is real. They also have working phone numbers and contact information for you to review. It is important to pay attention to whether the emails use the domain of the brand and not mass email platforms. There are also clearly stated terms and conditions as well as delivery and return policies that a buyer can look into. Presence on platforms like Etsy is also impossible for fraudsters.
A typical practice for fraudsters is to concentrate their efforts on one or two social networks. Most often, those are Facebook or Instagram pages that individual profiles are promoting in certain specialized Facebook groups.
One tip from us is to Google the photos you may receive from individual sellers. This way, you will be able to see if they haven’t been stolen from another retailer or manufacturer. Fraudsters usually use other people’s photos.
The brands that underlie the development of the entire segment have patents on certain designs or inventions related to the trails. Firepaw holds the largest number of such patents. Each patent has a unique number that can be easily verified. The business you are buying from should be internationally registered and patented. Every legitimate dog treadmill business must have a copy of their registration in the commercial register in their respective country. They should also have an economic community as well as a legitimate VAT number.
5. Recognizability and a good network.
A good indicator of reliability is whether third parties recommend or contact the brand. An example of this can be the reviews of real customers. The best maxima here is “the more, the better”. Customer social media tags can be a good indicator of brand trust and credibility. Associations with official dog events as well as non-governmental and governmental ones are great for the brand. Being used in dog gyms and by popular dog trainers is also a great credibility indicator. Last but not least, slatmills dealers and ambassadors in different countries and continents often promote reliable brands. Keep an eye out for those.
6. The method and price of transport.
In most cases, fraudsters claim to use DHL as a delivery courier. This, however, is not a company with a profile to send shipments of this volume. FedEx on the other hand, is one such example. Do not be tempted by low shipping prices. The realistic cost for intercontinental transport of heavier products, like dog treadmills, is between 500 and 750 euros. This is dependent on the size of the slat mill. It is advisable that the delivery is at your door and that the transport company take care of the customs formalities.
Our advice is to make contact with the transport company if you have a hunch about something suspicious.
The Firepaw team will be happy to consult anyone who has any doubts about a slat mill seller.