As one of the UK’s largest classifieds websites, we can help our members find some amazing bargains, from sofas to garden sheds! And in the current Cost Of Living crisis it’s great to know that our members can make some extra cash by selling unwanted items on here too! But it’s not just classifieds items that find new homes here on Preloved. We have everything from dogs to donkeys looking for their furever homes – and we take the responsibility of allowing pets on Preloved very seriously!
This year, we’ve been as busy as ever making changes for the better. We’ve updated our animal listing guidelines, produced even more safety notifications, and created a whole range of educational content to help pet owners and buyers alike. We’ve even worked with several of the UK’s major welfare organisations to make sure our policies are the most rigorous in the online rehoming industry.
Why Are Pets So Important On Preloved?
Preloved is probably best known by it’s members as a pet rehoming website. Our members know we prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the animals being listed which is probably why the majority of the activity on Preloved is generated by animal adverts.
- Of the 500,000 adverts created by our members this year, 56% of new adverts were in animal categories
- 82% of all visitors to Preloved in 2023 were looking at animal adverts
- A whopping 91% of all member-to-member messages this year were about animals
We understand that the rehoming of a sentient animal is NOT the same as finding a new owner for your wardrobe. We know that looking for a new furever friend for your family is NOT the same as buying a new bike for the kids. It requires a lot of research, a lot of trust, and typically involves a lot of hard earned money!
That’s why we do everything we can to make sure Preloved is the safest platform for our members – and for the animals advertised on it!
Pets On Preloved – Behind The Scenes
There are quite a few misconceptions about selling sites. A lot goes on behind the scenes to make sure that adverts contain the right information, that sellers are who they claim to be, and that would-be-buyers know everything they should before embarking on a new life with a furever friend.
There are some sites out there who don’t implement any safeguarding measures. We’d always suggest buyers always use a website that’s engaged with PAAG (Pet Advertising Advisory Group). They ask that sites working with them meet certain welfare standards.
We know that our members’ number one worry is being duped by unscrupulous sellers and potential puppy farmers (68.4% of 2,638 respondents; ‘Preloved Pet Owners Census 2023). That’s why we offer the best ID Verification options available in our industry.
- Postal; Alongside the usual email verifications for accounts, new members advertising pets also need to prove their registered address via a PIN that we actually send to them in the post. This is one policy that our members aren’t too keen on. It’s time consuming, and it probably seems very old fashioned. However, this proof of access to an address can be used as evidence for the authorities and has helped secure convictions against puppy farmers!
- Photo ID; We also offer members the chance to have their ID Verified by bank-grade software, free of charge. By using scanned passports or driving licenses, alongside live video motion detection, we know these members are exactly who they saw they are. Make sure to always prioritise the Preloved sellers with the blue tick!
- Account Links: Our state of the art technology can also detect links between accounts, so we’ll know if members are trying to set up new accounts, or if they’re connected to other banned members.
- Legal Requirement; It’s now a legal requirement for anyone selling 3 litters in a 12 month period to have a Breeders License issued by their Local Authority. Preloved introduced the 3 Litter policy several years before the change to legislation so our systems were already equipped to deal with the change.
- Auto-Detection; Our system is able to detect how many litters a member has sold, and their account is frozen until the license is received. All licenses are seen and verified by our Welfare and Safety moderators, and account status’ are changed manually to allow them to list pet adverts. We also monitor expiry dates and automatically remove Breeder status until up-to-date documents are received.
- Adverts On Preloved; All adverts on Preloved by a licensed breeder will include their license number alongside the local authority.
Article 10 Certification
- Exotic Species; When it comes to rehoming some exotic species, such as Parrots and Tortoises, we take extra steps to ensure all legal requirements are met. Animals listed within Annex A of the CITES endangered species list must be sold with a valid Article 10 certificate. Any members who don’t provide this information wont have their adverts published.
- Adverts On Preloved; Adverts that have passed our listing criteria will be shown with the certificate numbers published within the advert.
Welfare & Safety Moderators
If an animal advert does manage to get through our listing requirements (microchip numbers, breeder license number and local authority, banned words or phrases, photos on all ads, age restrictions for animals, CITES certifications… the list is quite long!), our welfare and safety moderators then review all adverts for the finer details.
Any concerns raised by our moderators are dealt with swiftly and, where necessary, adverts are removed and members banned.
- Do all adverts for young pets include a photo of them with mum?
- Do the animals look healthy, happy, and safe?
- Are the animals in suitable housing?
- Verified Members; We only allow members to rehome animals as a ‘Charity’ member if it is a registered charity and we have actually spoken with their Trustee to verify the account holder has their permission to rehome in the charities name.
- Adverts On Preloved; Members selling on behalf of charities will have their Registered Charity number shown on their member profile.
- Misleading Adoptions: Beware of some sellers on other websites that are listing animals available for ‘Adoption’. This can be a misleading term that suggests they are a registered welfare organisation when, in fact, they’re just a private seller trying to catch the attention of buyers wanting to Adopt, Not Shop.
Safety & Educational Notices
We make a point of adding as many safety messages to our site as we possibly can.
- You can access our Pet Care Advice on the navigation bar, which is available on every page of the Preloved site. This includes the Pet Buying Checklist (now read by nearly 300,000 people!), access to rehoming centres across the UK, recommendations for safer ways to pay, scams to be aware of, and how to report any adverts you’re concerned about.
- We’ve also built more Preloved Safety Advice into the adverts themselves. Beneath the Description on any Pet advert, you’ll see more information on safer buying journeys.
- We’ve added even MORE safety advice, this time built into the My Messages system for all accounts. You might have spotted the change when you’ve been reading or sending messages to other members.
- We’ve written dozens of articles this year for the Preloved Blog, with advice on everything from money saving tips for pet owners, to health-care advice for different species.
2023’s Preloved Pets Policy Changes
- Earlier this year, we joined Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund’s Pet Selling Amnesty, which meant rabbits could not be listed on Preloved in the run up to Easter.
- We met with Cats Protection to learn about Extreme Confirmation breeds, such as Munchkins and Scottish Folds. We listened to their concerns, and we took action! Both of these breeds were banned to safeguard feline health in October.
- The most recent change to Preloved Animal Listing Guidelines came with a heavy heart. This month we’re taking steps to remove XL Bully adverts following the change to legislation.
- We were really pleased to hear about the change to the Cat Microchipping laws coming into play later next year. We don’t need to make any changes to Preloved for that one though – we made microchips mandatory for all Cat adverts back in 2020! But it is nice to see legislation catching up.
Organisations We’ve Worked With In 2023
We lean heavily on the welfare experts to make sure that our policies support animals being rehomed on Preloved. Hearing first-hand from the industry leaders exactly what they think Preloved could be doing more of means we can take action for the better.
From regular meetings, to industry round-tables, and more, here are just some of the organisations we’ve met with this year.
- Pet Advertising Advisory Group
- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Central Government)
- Animal Welfare and Licensing Officers (various Local Authorities)
- Dogs Trust
- Cats Protection
- Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund
- World Horse Welfare
- Justice For Reggie
- Hope Rescue
Our Welfare & Safety team have been incredibly busy behind the scenes this year, and next year’s set to be even busier. We’ve got a lot of exciting updates for pets on Preloved coming soon, so stay tuned, stay safe, and have a great Christmas and New Year!