SUBMIT A COMPLAINT

Banfield The Pet Hospital / wellness plans cannot be canceled

Countryside, IL, United States Review updated:

I have taken our two dogs to Banfield in Countryside, IL since we got them (13 years and 8 years ago). We got wellness plans on both. The service at the pet hospital was initially very good but has become just average, with increased wait times in particular. We never questioned the quality of the veterinary care our dogs received, including when one dog had skin cancer. Today we had to have our older dog euthanized ($117 including cremation) after a brief and somewhat puzzling decline that seemed to be a urinary infection (and was treated as such for three weeks, at a cost to us of over $500) but led to a rapid decline over the past two days. Today he was unable to control his bodily functions, unable to walk, unable to drink any water or eat any food, and did not seem to recognize us. He was also in pain and trembling. We knew it was time to euthanize him, in spite of the vet's offer of more tests (an ultrasound). So we lost a companion today.

My main issue is with the Optimum Wellness Plan. I had hoped that the store staff members (who were the ones, after all, who signed us up all those years ago) could cancel it for us. Instead, they gave me an 888 number to call. When I finally got a rep (after 20 minutes), he informed me that the OWP cannot be canceled. The reason he gave was that I supposedly “owed money to the store” from services provided under the plan. He said it’s not insurance and is instead an installment plan. His explanation was not at all satisfying, although I’m sure the fine print that we received somewhere along the line in all those years of automatic renewals and price increases must have said somewhere that we would not be given any credit for a dead dog. However, the store staff who sold us the plan clearly indicated that it was a discount plan for veterinary services, particularly preventive services; and each bill we got said “your wellness plan saved you $1, 000 today” or whatever unbelievable figure it happened to be. Well, how can the plan “Save” us that money if we can be dunned for that amount (that is, the difference between the out of pocket costs we already paid and the unbelievably inflated prices that we would supposedly have paid without the plan) after our pet dies? Anyway, the upshot is that we have to pay for our poor dog’s “wellness” until August, even though he is dead. The last three months can be “waived” which also does not gibe with the rationale I was given, which is that we really incurred the total amount in November and the monthly payment was just a way to finance it.

Obviously, the company has me over a barrel legally and there’s nothing I can do. They have my bank account information. But in the aftermath of losing a pet, it leaves a very bad feeling. I asked the rep not to renew our other dog's plan in November (which is the soonest I can get out of HIS plan) and we will take him to our old veterinarian in town whose fees are at least transparent and reasonable. And we can get the same vet each time instead of getting the luck of the draw at Banfield.

Sort by: UpDate | Rating

Comments

  • Ne
      May 31, 2011

    I'm sorry about the loss of your dog.

    Banfield will cancel plans on their side, without notice. They are the worst of the worst vets.

    Read my post. Report them everywhere you can and, if I were you, I'd take your other dog to another vet regardless. This business is running totally illegally. You have a better chance of getting a refund than you will of protecting your other dog, if you continue to take him/her there.

    Whatever you decide, NEVER let go of your dog's leash if you go to Banfield. If they take it off and put on one of their own they are intending to take your dog in the back area and create diversions so you won't notice or protest. A good vet lets you stay with your dog through the entire visit, including for tests. The only time you can't is if your dog needs critical care, which Banfield is incompetent at providing. ---- My dog was thrilled when she didn't have to go back there. I know they mistreated her by the way she looked and reacted when they brought her back out. With Banfield you have to know your rights as a pet parent while a good vet tells you before touching your pet and everytime.

    Think of it this way-if a physician separated a child from a parent to give a vaccine or run any non-surgical procedure, it's malpractise.
    It is no different when you go to a vet that has individual offices for office visits. These vets who don't get it, don't deserve yours or anyone else's business. It's your right to stay with your pet and watch and approve/disapprove of any and everything they do at any point during a visit. You can't do that if they think your dog becomes theirs to do whatever they please to. Don't let their sign in form intimate you if you stay with them - it's not a legal document because they are a clinic. (see 1st post over yours - they don't legally have the same rights as an ER Pet Hospital) --- You can also change your bank account or charge card # and notify your bank of the reason for your request so you don't get billed. Trust the # of complaints - Banfield has more to lose by going after you than you do. There's 10's of 1000's of people who would back you up in a class action lawsuit.

    If you go that route, first get BOTH your dog's charts, then file complaints with the Veterinary Association and the BBB or they'll never give you your dogs' charts, which also belong to you. Their corporate offices are useless. Read the contract with a fine tooth comb - it's not a legally binding contract when it abuses your consumer rights, which it does. Just get all your dogs' info and if your other dog is taking medications, get refills so you aren't forced to start over under more duress than they already can cause - they do not like and react when you challenge a diagnosis or medication and will treat you and your dog like garbage if you need to so you want to get everything you need before making any formal complaints or changing your billing information.

    Anyone can buy into their "wellness" plan while their pet is not ill. Nowhere in the contract does it say it is a financing option but a discount program. Check the law in your State. As far as I know, the law says if you sign anything under false pretenses, then that contract becomes invalidated.

    Once you get the things your dog needs and the charts for both (I'd ask for and make sure you have everything to protect to other dog first because they are going to see through your asking for previous dog's chart - you can say you just thought about it and would like to have it but they will give you a hard time if they are like the staff and vet I had to deal with) post back. You can't do anything as long as you're tied to them and six months can wreak havoc on the health of your other dog. Go at your own pace with whatever you decide but, minimally learn what does and doesn't legally apply to your state.

    Again, I'm so sorry to know about your recent loss. (http://www.rainbowbridge.com)

    +1 Votes
  •   May 31, 2011

    Paul,
    From all of us at Banfield, we want to send our sympathies for the recent loss of your dog. As a practice of pet lovers, we certainly understand that losing a member of the family is extremely difficult.
    To acknowledge your comment here, we want to make sure you know that you are only responsible for paying for services that your dog already received, which are calculated based on full retail price, without the Wellness Plan discount. As you know, we do allow clients to simply pay the full Plan amount as a less expensive alternative to paying full price for services provided. It sounds like you've already discussed your situation with the Wellness Plan Relations Team at (888) 649-2716, but please also feel free to call the Client Advocate Team. The number there is (877) 500-2288. Thank you, Paul, and, again, we hope you are doing well following the loss of your dog.

    0 Votes
  • Ne
      Jun 01, 2011

    Paul,

    My sympathies to you.

    Change your bank information if they don't let you out of the plan for your other dog - read the contract with a fine tooth comb - it can purchased when a dog is well and is not a finance contract. You therefore have a legal cause of action to cancel.

    Don't fight with their insanity. Both of your dog's records belong to you. Get them and keep any and all medication bottles cause they change things in pet charts to cover their mistakes.

    Take your other dog to a qualified vet. Ask around. They have competition - otherwise, you are throwing out your money and putting your dog at risk.

    Read my post about their breach of contract. They still have failed to adequately respond and are running around these boards to backtrack on complaints. They won't give you what you have a legal right to.

    There's no excuse that they would not publicly negotiate on these boards where you have support. They may be exploiting you in your time of grief because your dog died in their care. They'll tell you it's age. Whatever, you have another dog to protect. Open your ears.

    I have never seen any one clinic have repeated and constant streams of complaints for years on end like Banfield. Meaning, they haven't changed anything in years. They should be willing to participate more openly as everyone here has had enough of trying to deal with them with all their secrecy. Your plan does not force you or bind you in any way at all to keep working with them or talk to anyone there when they've already violated your rights, from what your post claims.

    Think twice, people. This is an oozing wound to have happen indefinitely, in US society.

    0 Votes
  • Kh
      Jun 11, 2011

    http://www.vetabusenetwork.com/filecomplaint.htm
    http://www.isvma.org/isvma_library/faq.html#2 (hmmmmm...read #2 & #3 pertaining to records)
    http://www.aavsb.org/DLR/Details.aspx?id=24
    Also, file a complain on Angie's List if you are a member and of course your states Better Business Bureau.

    After reading their wellness plan info on their website, it is for a discounted rate of what they would charge someone that doesn't have the plan. For instance, someone that has the plan might pay $50 for something that someone that doesn't have the plan would pay $100. Their wellness plan is an annual contract. If you cancel prior to the end of that contract, they expect you to have to pay that additional $50 that was previously knocked off when you did have the plan. (Does that make sense?) So if you cancel and if them billing you back for the additional monies is more than what you paid for the plan, just let the plan run out...then write off Banfield FOREVER!! Go to a "real" vet...sorry to hear about the loss of your of dog.

    +1 Votes
  • Li
      Sep 15, 2017

    I have been waiting to be able to cancel my plan, I went online to do it today and guess what! They auto renewed it.

    0 Votes
  • Li
      Sep 15, 2017

    @Linda Jeanne Bichler It is me with an update. I emailed them to ask them to not auto-renew and to cancel. They emailed back the same day and said they have cancelled it. So, apparently they will cancel if you ask them nicely and you don't owe them money.

    0 Votes

Post your comment