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Can I sue someone for fraud over the internet?

Addison, IL |

They were selling a Pure Breed Maltese puppy on the internet. We signed a contract and everything. On the contract, it stated that $375 would cover the puppy, shipping and accessories and I would get it all within 24 hours of payment. 2 Days later, I still had not recieved my puppy because "there were complications with the airline" and she asked for $240 more dollars to buy a new crate and insurance because the airline required it.

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Attorney answers 4


Fraud is fraud, but more work to show the proofs. See a litigation attorney and lay out the facts. It sounds like a con, with the added crate and all.

We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.


I agree with Barry Poulson below, except before hiring a lawyer I would contact the local Postal Inspectors. They are often involved with these types of cases and may be able to play this out for you.

PS. Never buy a puppy sight unseen. Even if it is legit, you don't know if the pup is a pure breed, if it has issues if it is friendly etc. Call a local reputable AKC breeder and get a dog who you can care for and that was breed to be a companion. Unless you are doing animal rescue, leave the puppy farms and the crooked people to those like the ASPCA. You get a pup that will give you pleasure and not Agita. (Italian for heartburn).

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Barry Franklin Poulson

Barry Franklin Poulson


Good suggestions.


I agree with my colleagues, but what does your contract say about this? While it strikes me as "possible" that this could be a scam, it could also simply be a failure on the part of the breeder to investigate the costs. In light of these new facts, she should happily return your money, and let both sides walk away from this transaction. I see this more along the lines of a breach of contract than fraud case. Breach of contract is a lot easier to prove, as well.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


There are several types of fraud under Illinois law.

One is consumer fraud, which is a statutory cause of action, brought under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act ( Among other things, the fraudulent transaction must have taken place within the state.

Another is common law fraud. To prevail on such a theory, a plaintiff must plead and prove each of the following elements: a false statement of material fact; the defendant's knowledge that the statement was false; the defendant's intent that the statement induce the plaintiff to act; and the plaintiff's reasonable reliance upon the truth of the statement, which reliance damages the plaintiff.

You may want to reach out to the Illinois Attorney General; click on the following link and review the information there:

Sounds like you may have a cause of action for breach of contract.

Hope this helps. Good luck.