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Banfield Pet Hospital / outrageous charges

1 United States Review updated:

I was just searching Banfield online when I came across these complaints. Suddenly, I feel very validated in what I had already been thinking about the company, and now am wondering how I can cancel my existing plan.

I am young, a first time pet owner, and don't have many friends who are pet owners. I have a lab/boxer mix named Mac and love her to pieces. Since Mac is my first pet, when I first got her I really didn't know how to find a good vet so I did what I thought was smart and went to the Petsmart down the road and asked if they could recommend a few vets in the area. At that point I thought Banfield was for emergencies. They recommended Banfield and their Wellness plan seemed ideal since I am on a fixed income. At first everything with them was fine, I appreciated their guidance as everything was new to me. However, soon they started making me feel like I wasn't a good pet owner. Mac is just a year old and is a large dog with lots of energy. They aren't very good at handling her, yet always seem to make it my fault. They charge exuberant fees for handling her every time I go in. I asked if I could just help because I use a technique to make her stand that I learned through obedience class they refused and often sedate her, also another charge. They made it seem that edation is rather normal with larger dogs. It seemed weird to me that a "vet" couldn't handle dog - isn't that their job?

I have also ran into problems with trying to schedule her regular check ups . Once I was told that if I didn't have any concerns we could just skip it. I was taken aback by this and said that since everything seemed normal I guess that would be okay. But after I got off the phone I thought it was very strange and all of their paperwork that I was given stresses the importance of these check ups for prevention. So I called back and insisted that since I was paying every month for it anyway I would like to schedule the appointment and the same nurse sighed and explained they were very busy, I insisted anyway and took Mac in.

I guess all of this should have been enough for me to know they do not provide quality care but I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Just last month Mac became very ill. She refused to bend forward, lay down, play, eat or drink. I waited a day to see if she would improve and when she didn't I became very concerned. I was out of town so I cut my trip short to take Mac to Banfield. Mac and I waited for quite awhile to see a nurse and I explained what was going on. It was obvious that Mac was under duress as she was falling asleep sitting up but refused to lay down and shedding profusely. I had spent most of the night up with her and was stressed out myself. It was the end of the month and I knew my money was tight. I had let them know this up front, too. After the doctor saw Mac he suggested xrays and said he would have the nurse come in with an estimate for me as I was worried about the money. The nurse came back with an estimate close to $700. I nearly died, I immediately began crying because I love Mac and she was so miserable but I didn't have anything close to $700. There were several charges on the estimate that seemed ridiculous - like a handling fee for every xray of like $30. I asked if they knew what was wrong with her - they had no clue. I asked if they had any kind of payment plan - absolutely not. I said I didn't understand that since they have been deducting money from my account every month for over a year. But I was informed they do not work that way. They made me feel bad that I was even thinking about not having the xrays done - but what they didn't seem to grasp was that I didn't have the money. I asked if they knew of somewhere else I could take Mac that would work with me. They didn't think it was likely. I left there feeling horrible and like the worst person. I looked online and found the VCA. I called them and they were willing to work with me aso I took Mac there. They were wonderful with her. They let me help and calmed me down. I left there with having everything done that was on Banfield estimate but having only paid $200. Mac was back to normal within a week. I don't understand how there can be that much of a difference in price.

I wish I would have found this site before signing up for Banfield.

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Comments

  • Tr
      27th of Feb, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree and am sorry you had to pay their exhorbitant fees. They charge me a $60 consultation fee every time my dog goes in for anything - if she hasn't been seen in the last 6 mohths. So, I took my dogs in for teeth cleaning - they added $60 consultation fee and I did not even get a consultation! I said, who is the vet consulting with? Their answer: The Dog.

    I would not recommend Banfield to ANYBODY!!! Ask for referrals from a local breeder or a friend with an animal before you go get suckered into this place.

  • Ir
      19th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    My regular vet was out of Frontline, for flea control. I was forced to look elsewhere and I'm really annoyed with myself for not shopping around. Their charge for this product is tantamount to highway robbery. I was very surprised by how much they were charging, commented on it a couple of times and said I thought this was a cheaper product. The counter staff assured me this was one of the most expensive flea control serums. As I was sort of over a barrel, I took what they had. I've since checked prices online and with my regular vet, again, to make sure I'm not insane. Turns out I'm not insane.

  • De
      9th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    You can get a refund on wellness plan. Did it yesterday. Had confuntation with vet and said hes through couldn't please me so I canceled my plan no problem. Also my sister canceled hers to and took a while to get refund but got one. Just be presistent.

  • Uf
      16th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    A.) WELLNESS PLAN (not insurance)- read the contract, it is for WELL pets. It is a way to not go in for preventive care and spend 300 dollars all at once. Also, it gives you the nice bonuses of a free office visit any time and a percentage discount depending on your level. If you are getting your preventive care and going in for visits, it has already paid for itself. You should read the contracts that you sign
    B.) Just because someone is a vet or a technician does not mean that they are able to control big strong dogs that fight back. I weigh 100 pounds soaking wet, it is not easy. At all. Owners do not make it any easier by not training their pets. If you are the only one that can restrain her, she is not trained. Further, it is not safe for the staff or the pet if the pet is thrashing around like crazy. If they are recomending sedation then it is for your protection as well. What happens when your pet bites and injures someone or in going crazy hits its head on a counter and needs emergency care? Its not the vet's fault but you will sure as hell try to make them treat for free.
    C.) As a corporation, Banfield is very vulnerable. Even if you say that you don't have a lot of money to spend, what does that mean? To some people that means they have twenty bucks in their pocket for the next week, to others it means anything over a thousand and I'm out (you think I'm exaggerating, but I once gave a client who was "tight" on money an 800 estimate and they said Oh is that all? I though it would be at least 1500). So, to protect themselves and to give your pet the best possible care, they give you a treatment plan for what their number one option would be. All you have to do is say no or pare it down from there. The whole point is that they don't want you coming back later and saying "Well, if you had told me I should do that then I would have" and now they have a lawsuit on their hands. Trust me. It is for these reasons that I left Banfield. As much as I loved it, it was clients like this that made me miserable. We as veterinarians spend so much time researching and continuing our educations just for someone to freak out about a 35 dollar office visit.

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