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.