After reviewing many reviews on this website, I'd like to take the time to honestly address some of the more common issues.
1. Banfield prescription prices
A lot of people complain that Banfield "rips off" the consumer in that they overcharge for prescriptions. The truth is, MOST of the medications are priced competitively when compared to other veterinary clinics. Having worked in numerous hospitals, I can only think of a few items Banfield carries that are priced more than competitors. Yes, the truth is you can get medications cheaper from 1-800-petmeds. This does NOT mean that Banfield is trying to rip you off. A large online pharmacy is simply able to keep a larger stock and prescribe a greater quantity of medications. They purchase in bulk (reducing their cost) and sell mass quantities every day. Therefore, they can offer them at a lower price. At any veterinary HOSPITAL, they only order what they can sell in a timely manner, so that medications do not expire and are wasted. In addition, they have limited space to store medications, they can't just stockpile them. For this reason, everything is shipped in small quantities. Shipping is expensive. Also, a veterinary assistant/technician will make up your meds, not some minimum wage warehouse worker. This also adds to inflated costs. Lastly, your meds are ready right away, so you also have the added benefit of convenience. Unfortunately, veterinary hospitals just cannot compete with the prices of online pharmacies due to all their added expenses (better paid workers, shipping costs, increasing purchasing costs). This is the reality of things. They don't jack up the prices just to rip off the consumer.
2. Banfield Wellness Plans
Banfield Wellness Plans are intended for PREVENTIVE care. They are NOT insurance. Are employees encouraged to sign up new clients? Of course. Does it turn a profit for the company. Yes. However, the plans are designed to keep your pets in good health and to detect problems early on with routine bloodwork, fecal testing, dental cleanings, etc. They weren't designed to scam the consumer. One thing I would like to make clear is that veterinary assistants do NOT get commission or bonuses for signing up pets.
Also, should you chose to cancel your plan or your pet passes away, you are only responsible for what services were completed on your pet. Since services are bundled and offered at a deep discount, you can't use up all the services then decide to cancel and not pay anymore. This is what happens if you need to cancel your plan: the retail amount of the services your pet used during the time on the plan will be calculated. This will be compared to what you already paid in monthly payments. You then either have the option of paying Banfield the balance of what you would have paid for the services had they been rendered at retail value OR just paying the remainder of the plan, WHICHEVER IS CHEAPER FOR YOU. I'd say that's a pretty nice policy - to make you pay the LESSER. I'll come up with an example to illustrate this point (this is very specific, but I've seen people try to pull this): Say you sign up on the Basic Plus plan (the one that includes a dental cleaning) and get a comprehensive exam done the first day and all of your pet's vaccines. Because your pet has really bad teeth, the doctor recommends you return in 1 week to have the dental cleaning performed. So you've only paid the sign-up fee (69.95) and first month's payment (39.95) for a total of $110. You then decide to cancel your plan immediately following the dental. So you've received a comprehensive exam and vaccines (let's say a $120 value) and a dental cleaning ($259 retail). So you've used about $380 in services, but have only paid $110 thus far. You then try to cancel your plan. Basically the plan splits the cost of these services over a 12 month period, so you can't just pay the first month then cancel. You would be responsible for paying what you would have if your pet was not on the plan ($380 minus what you paid for the first month) OR just paying the remainder of the plan off (39.95 x 11 months) OR just keeping your pet on the plan for the remainder of the contract (39.95 for 11 more months) - WHATEVER IS CHEAPER FOR YOU, THE CONSUMER.
3. Banfield is only interested in money, they don't care about your pets.
Bottom line: Banfield has 2 goals: to provide quality medical care and to make money. It's a business. We are not a not-for-profit company. That being said, we are not in the business of ripping people off. Do you think all of us look at you as walking dollar signs? The vets at Banfield are vets because they care about pets, not because they are trying to get rich. You can't get rich working at a Banfield. Truth. The vet techs aren't paid very much either. No, vet techs don't make commission. However, the vets are paid on "production" - meaning that their salary depends on how much they bring in. This is a fair practice, despite what a lot of people may think. Just think about it - if a vet owned his own practice, his income would depend on his "production" as well. The vets I work for are honest. Yes, they recommend pricey diagnostics, but it is in the best interest of your pet.
A lot of people blame the vets for being unethical for recommending expensive treatment. Sorry, but treatment is expensive. Medical equipment is very expensive, as is insurance and the money required to pay the rest of the staff. Most vets have hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt after vet school as well. You are paying for their expertise. They went to school for 4 years to acquire all the knowledge required to treat a pet.
Lastly, I've seen some people complain about Banfield not providing pro-bono care. Simply False. Banfield has a charitable trust that they use in situations in which a person cannot pay for services. This is not an unlimited fund, however. Sadly, the number of people who can't afford treatment far exceeds what Banfield is able to provide pro-bono.
Anyway. I hope that helps everyone. I'd like to end by saying that the techs and vets working within the hospitals truly do care. We are there to provide quality care for your pet. Yes, there is a corporation behind us interested in turning a profit, but that does not affect our dedication and love for animals. I understand that I cannot speak for everyone, and I'm sure there are hospitals which need improvement, but for the most part I believe Banfield hires quality staff to work in their hospitals.
Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Medical Service.