Warning: When buying a $4,000 mini pig, do not use your debit card

Mini pig

When Meghan Robinson bought a mini pig named Peaches, she was devastated when the piglet was deemed unhealthy, and the sale fell through. But now she’s not only missing Peaches, but the breeder is refusing to refund the $4,000 Robinson paid for her.

Robinson wanted to know if we can help.

Her case is an unfortunate example of how a consumer can be negatively impacted by the lack of chargeback possibilities when making debit card purchases.

“Peaches” the mini pig

“I purchased Peaches from Mini Pig World,” Robinson’s remembers. “Specifically, I chose Peaches because she reminded me of my childhood stuffed animal. I have wanted a piglet my entire life, but when I saw her, I felt like I needed to have this specific one.”

(I know what you’re thinking. Yes, there is a Mini Pig World. I looked it up.)

So what happened next was terribly troubling to Robinson. Her childhood stuffed animal come-to-life was not meant to be.

A sickly mini pig

Just days before Peaches was to be delivered to her — and after she made the full purchase payment of $4,000 — she received a somber phone call from Mini Pig World. The owner explained that Peaches was not well and he could not sell her.

The owner offered Robinson several alternative minipigs to choose from to replace Peaches.

Robinson did not feel a connection with any of these piglets. And she had now done some research on the price of comparable minipigs. She believed the cost of Peaches to be quite high.

So, in her disappointment, she just wanted a refund.

Even though Mini Pig World was unable to sell Peaches to Robinson, the owner refused her request for a refund.

This refusal didn’t seem right to Robinson. She purchased a specific pig, and Mini Pig World was unable to fulfill the contract. A logical conclusion would seem to be a refund.

What does the Mini Pig World sale’s agreement say?

The Mini Pig World Sale’s Agreement that Robinson sent to us repeatedly mentions that she is purchasing this pig — not just any pig.

And the last part of the contract from Mini Pig World reads:

If the transaction is voided or if through some tragic accident the piggy were to die or to otherwise be seriously injured before it goes to its new home then, of course, the deposit will be returned to the buyer; unless the Buyer wishes to apply the deposit to another Piggy, if one is available, or to a puppy from the next available litter.

One would assume that this also applies to a “piggy” that is too sick to be sold. So why was Mini Pig World digging in its heels and refusing a refund?

I went over the paper trail. When Robinson requested the refund, she had also gone to her bank and asked it to investigate her situation. She wanted her $4,000 back.  This action seems to have caused the end of the pleasantries between Robinson and the owner of Mini Pig World.

The owner responded with accusations that Robinson was “extremely rude” and “trying to run all over our business.”

Hardly a legally valid reason to deny a refund for a pig he could not deliver.

Fair Credit Billing Act

If we can just pause this piglet fiasco for a moment, it is important to point out that because Robinson used her debit card for this purchase, it was virtually the same as if she had paid cash for her new pet.

When a consumer uses their credit card to make a purchase, that purchase is protected by laws that govern credit card purchases.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, a credit card issuer must investigate any “billing errors.” These billing errors include, among other things, “charges for goods and services that you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed.”

Like a mini pig called Peaches.

And during the credit card company’s investigation, the amount in question is reversed. Not so for debit card purchases.

The Fair Credit Billing Act protects consumers who use credit cards, but those protections do not apply to those who use debit cards (or cash) instead.

Mini Pig World’s response

Robinson’s bank did try to make some attempt to mediate this problem and sent a letter of inquiry to Mini Pig World.

In its response to the bank’s inquiry, Mini Pig World produced an entirely new sales contract, which Robinson had never seen before. This one specifically mentions that they do not offer refunds and an alternative pig is the only recourse in this situation.

Even though Robinson provided her sales agreement, her bank was not in a position to debate the merits of her complaint about the two contracts, nor was it required to do so. And it was unable to reverse the payment to Mini Pig World from her bank account. Ultimately, her bank recommended that she seek legal advice.

The bad news

She first turned to our advocacy team and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

I contacted Mini Pig World on two occasions and asked for an explanation as to why Robinson was not entitled to a refund since Peaches was not fit for sale.

The owner ignored all my attempts at mediation and remains in possession of Robinson’s $4,000. Robinson remains pigless. The Better Business Bureau’s inquiry also continues to be unanswered.

Robinson has consulted with a lawyer and intends to retrieve her money through the court system. Given her use of a debit card for this piggy purchase and the owner’s refusal to participate in mediation, legal action, regrettably, appears to be the only path to a positive resolution.

Update

I first reported this story back in July. I checked back with Robinson this week to see if there might be a happy update. Unfortunately, Mini Pig World has continued to ignore all attempts to return Robinson’s $4,000 and she remains pigless. She is preparing for a court battle.

Should Mini Pig World refund Robinson's money? No, she should pick an alternative pig. Yes, "this pig" in the contract specifically refers to Peaches.

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.