The Animal Medical Center / Elmer & Mamdouha Bobst Hospital — Harassment, rip-off and fraudulent practices!
Hi. Below is a copy of note i had sent to bbb-about the harassment i am now receiving from the above institution in which i am suffering from what from my experience has been what i believe is their fraudulent practices:
Back about april of last year 2006. I was advised by my vet to take my sick cat - Tomcat to the animal medical center in nyc. When i brought him there he saw a vet and they advised me that he looks sick and they would need to keep him overnight and then run tests such as a sonogram. They gave me an estimated price of about 2000 which would include everything we talked about and potential care. They made it certain to me that any additional charges that could occur would have to be advised to me and approved by me. So i would make decisions on what they intend to do and take into account the charges. I consented and let them put the initial charge on my credit card.
They found something on the sonogram and couldn't be sure what it was unless they did exploratory surgery. I asked them if it was fatal. They did say he was sick but while they could not guarantee that it was curable they also let me believe that there was hope and the surgery would enable to find out. I asked them how much this would cost. They advised me that it would bring the initial cost from the 2000 (it was a little more on my credit card) to 5000. The 5000 included the part i already paid. And i made sure to confirm this. We are talking about a lot of money. I couldn't do any higher. I made sure to ask if this cost of 5000 included all the post operative care. I was told - Yes. The only extra charges would be if he needed chemo which i would have to consent to or if he went on respirator, which I would be advised as they went along and would be told how much the cost and make a decision at the time. I also asked how long they expected the post operative stay in the hospital. They said about a week. And i again confirmed that this was all included in the 5000. Unfortunately that is a large amount of money. And my mother told me she would give me towards it. They never once refused to do the surgery. They said there was hope and i would not put him to sleep since they didnt give me a death sentence - so to speak. But i was aware that he was sick. I was also aware that i would have to make decisions along the way. They would consult me as it went along and anything that would cost above the 5000. I would be advised and decide what to do at the time. Unfortunately. From the start. The money would play a factor in how and if i could save him.
It turned out that they found cancer. He was alright after the surgery but did not survive more than a little above a day after the surgery. They offered the artificial respiration but the cost would be too much so i had to let him go. The vets during the ordeal were in constant contact with both me and my mother and were very nice. The only additional money that came into question was for the artificial respirator and i turned it down. He did not survive long enough to use the whole 5000 quoted so i assumed i would get a less expensive bill. The bill came and not only did they charge me the whole 5000 but they added another 2152 to my shock. I immediately paid the balance of the 5000 in full upon the bill and sent a letter explaining that i did not owe any more. They charged my credit card for the balance of 3563 which i ok, (even though i thought that was still unfair under the circumstances that they didnt use the week's hospital stay i was to pay for since he did not survive that long after the surgery. A week to recoup after surgery and hosp stay and care).
I continued to get bills requesting more money even though i made numerous calls to dispute. I never got a response. Months later they sent me a response and threatened bill collectors. Which they have now sicced on me. I feel they are either trying to take advantage and rip me off or if these are their normal charges then they severely "low-balled" me in order to get me to do the surgery". I never could have ok'd this amount. Even the 5000 was too much but my mother offered. Any more than that. I could not have done it. And now they want me. The cat did not even survive and i still paid the amount agreed upon without even using the services agreed upon. I will not be ripped off like this. I guess they feel like bill collectors will scare me because they are threatening my credit rating which is excellent. I pay my bills. So i have no intention of letting this go and paying this bully. I overpaid them already. I paid what i had agreed to and never was advised about the other charges nor ok'd them. They were in constant contact with both me and my mother. Which was very nice but the only additional charges and decision came for the respirator. Which i turned down for both financial reasons and humane reasons as explained by their vets. They won't leave me alone already. In the future because of their shady deceitful practices i dont know if i would be ok to give proper care to save another pet in the future. What would they have charged me without advising me till the bill came if he had lived into the next day or week. 20,000 or so?. I wouldn't know what to do. I only approved what they were doing based on the money and charges they told me were to be incurred. And they did follow thru on that by advising me as they went along. That is until the bill came.