I have had experiences with Banfield on both the client level and the employee level. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion I think it is absolutely wrong that because someone either did not listen, did not educate themselves, or did not read their contract properly, is no excuse to then decide that the Banfield company is the devil and proclaim it as loud as they can on the rooftops. I was turned on to the wellness plan by my fiance who had several previous pets on the plan in the past. In one case he had a pet who did pass away, and although had to pay the remainder of the plan, STILL saved money on what the cumulative procedures would have cost him out of pocket had he not signed his pet up for one. We then signed our two dogs up for plans and LOVED them and the money we saved, however we LISTENED to what we were getting ourselves into and knew from the gate that we were not able to transfer plans to new owners or new pets and that we were making a year commitment to the plan. However in my opinion, of you are not making a 10-15 year commitment when you decide to acquire a pet, then you should not be getting a pet in the first place. An animal is not a fashion statement or commodity like a handbag or pair of shoes, it is supposed to be a loved member of your family and should be researched, obtained and treated as such.
I also have a background and education in animal sciences and so due to my experience with them as a client decided to look into Banfield when I was searching for employment after relocating with my fiance AND my dogs and found a hospital to work at. Just like private practices you need to research the hospital and know what you are getting into. And while I have had some negative experiences with some Banfield hospitals I have also had some amazing ones and have had some horrible experiences with both private vet hospitals AND human doctors offices, which is why when looking for any kind of healthcare you need to do your research and decide which Dr is going to be best for you. In response to Robin who stated that she saw uneducated vet techs performing procedures on animals and therefore would not recommend Banfield to anyone. A veterinary technician does not have to be certified to be qualified. And although I did see in some cases where hospitals were allowing "new" technicians to perform procedures, in the hospitals I worked at it was rare. I am not a registered RVT but I do have a collage degree in animal sciences, and 10+ years experience working in the animal field. Not to mention, in school even for Veterinarians and RVT's they do not give you the hands on training that you learn in a hospital. they ONLY teach you diagnostic training and education. I have worked for vets who did not themselves even know how to draw blood because they always had their nurses do it for them, and in most cases the school you are attending to get certified requires a certain number of hours a week working in a hospital to get the hands on training that you will be performing on your job. Furthermore I have worked in PRIVATE hospitals where they would not let the technicians that were not registered do much of anything, but the BRAND NEW out of school RVT who has never even stepped foot in a real hospital is now being put in charge of shoving a catheter into your pets arm, or a trache tube down your pets throat, and being put in charge of monitoring your pet under an anesthesia machine that they have never even seen before let alone worked with. And it was THOSE RVT's that were killing owner's pets due to lack of experience or just because they were not paying attention to even taking the job they were doing seriously. Then it was up to the private practices' owner to explain to the client why the healthy pet they dropped off that morning was now dead. While at Banfield most of the in training technicians I worked with were spending most of their time running blood in the lab and holding pets for the more experienced nurses while they learned the proper procedures on how to do things. Furthermore a vaccine is given under the subcutaneous layer of the skin. A very simple and mostly painless injection if given correctly and with the right size needle, and Rabies is the ONLY vaccine required by law for the vet to give. In addition whether registered or not, a veterinarian HAS to be present and observing ANY procedure that a technician is doing whether it is removing a tick or doing a dental. In addition I have also been in human hospitals where the nurse treating me bruised the *** out of my arm or hand trying to draw blood or administer a shot or has had to poke me several times to even find a vein, so going to school does not necessarily mean that they are good at what they do.
As for the wellness plans, any competent Banfield employee will tell you over and over that it is NOT AN INSURANCE PLAN!!!! But clients will still call and make mention to the "insurance plan" they signed up for. Not only that but clients will also rush you through the process of explaining things to them and will almost NEVER read the contract that you actually give them to sign and that (as well as if you ask) will explain exactly what you are signing up for. The wellness plan is meant to save money for those clients who are getting their pets the routine diagnostic care every year and help them with the cost of any services outside the plan they may need. The system has now been updated so you are able to take your pet to any Banfield hospital you like and your plan and discount apply there as well. The ONLY thing that you need to do to transfer your plan to another hospital is to ask that hospital to switch their name to the home hospital. What that does is change your information in the system so that the hospital you have chosen to move to is now the one who will get all the notifications of services that you have coming up due in their system. And no, changing your hospital does not renew or "start over' your plan. Only upgrading your plan will start it over, and you do have the option to renew the plan up to a month early if that is what you choose to do. Also, if you have a good Dr they will treat your pet on an individual basis, and will not suggest signing up for a wellness plan if it is not something that will benefit your pet long term, however most of the clients on a daily basis I deal with really love the plan. I even had a client, while deciding if she wanted to re- sign her cat up for another plan ask me to print out her previous invoices of what she had actually come in to get over the past year to see if renewing was actually beneficial to her. Then walked around the lobby telling everybody she didn't even realize how much money she saved (it was almost $600) and she was definitely renewing. In comparison one of the private practices I worked at was charging their clients routinely $300-$400 a visit just to get vaccines and routine testing done. That in my opinion is the real rip off. The downside is losing your pet for whatever reason. You are not able to transfer the plan to another pet or another owner. I have however seen many people get away with this by coming in and saying that the pet is under such and such a name and they then use up the plan under the old client until it runs out and then sign it up under their name. I'm not saying that this is what they are supposed to do, I just see that this is pretty regularly done. As for your pet passing away, I know how clients feel. I recently lost a pet that was under a Banfield plan. It is a hard time and in my case the Dr and everyone were very sypathetic to my situation. However, because you are still responsible for the plan, clients have two options when this happens, they can either cancel the plan and pay the difference for the services they have had done thus far, or they can finish the plan out for the year. This is not meant to be insensitive, but chances are the service you have received for your pet while they were alive are much more expensive than the cost of your plan for the year. For my girl (she was 3 and under the plan for all 3 years), her services for the year that she died was close to $1000 and her plan only cost $300, so... you do the math.
This is just a perspective from someone who has been on both sides of the fence and can see the situation from both the clients and employee side, from the private and corporate side, and from the good and the bad side. Hopefully now some people can have enough REAL information to make the best decision for themselves. If Banfield in and of itself and the Wellness plans are for you, then great. If they are not, then that is great too. The objective is that your pet is a SERIOUS and well taken care of member of your family. However you choose to accomplish that.
Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Medical Service.