BALLARAT couple Nick Young and Stef Wilson were looking forward to a very merry Christmas with their new puppy.
Instead, they have been left $200 out-of-pocket after a trip to South Australia last weekend failed to turn up the dog they bought over the internet.
In fact, no-one in the central Adelaide street given as the address had heard of the dog's owner or his purebred boxers.
Mr Young said they had put wanted ads for a boxer on several South Australian sites after purebred boxers in Victoria proved too expensive.
After being inundated by replies, Mr Young chose a $500 boxer from a reputable website.
The couple paid a $200 deposit last Friday, and arranged to drive to Adelaide and pick up the dog on Sunday.
However, the dog owner, a Mark Morgan, texted them Friday and asked if they could pick it up Saturday as he had to attend a work conference in Tasmania.
Mr Young, who plays for Lucas, had to play cricket so Ms Wilson and Mr Young's father Danny drove to Adelaide early Saturday morning.
"There was no-one home and the neighbours said they didn't know of anyone in the street with boxers and they didn't know a Mark Morgan," Mr Young said.
"So they just had to turn around and come home."
Mr Young emailed Mr Morgan and was told, if he deposited more money in his account, Mr Morgan would deliver the dog to Ballarat personally.
Instead, the couple went to Ballarat police who said there wasn't much they could do about internet fraud but it was highly unlikely he would get his money back.
"Stef's a bit upset. She's always had boxers"
He has also filed a fraud claim with his bank but the transaction has already been processed.
"I was a bit suss on the Saturday morning when I got a text message from an international number about the dog when the contact number I'd been given was always switched off.
"I just sent a text message asking him to answer his phone but he didn't."
The couple had already rejected one offer to buy two boxers from Darwin for no charge, only delivery, because they were concerned it was a scam but believed Mr Morgan's bank account was legitimate because it was held by a reputable bank.
"Stef's a bit upset. She's always had boxers."