Ridgewood, New Jersey
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While reading some complaints about the wellness plans, I have decided that people are not being educated, and that is why there are SO MANY people pissed off. As a Banfield client AND employee (YES i pay full price), let me help break it down (and give you a few tips and tricks :) ).

1. No, the WELLNESS plans are not insurance. The purpose of these plans is to significantly reduce the risk of catching illnesses. You will incur costs for medications and other testing that is necessary to return your pet to Optimum Health.

2. Yes, they are for a year MINIMUM. As with every health plan, there is usually a fee for cancellation. However, in this case (though you may not believe it) Banfield employees are mandated to charge you the minimum cost necessary to cancel. You either have to pay for the services rendered and discounts (best option for pets passed away early, or early cancellations), or the months remaining on your wellness plan (better for mid-year cancellations).

3. Transferring your wellness plan is a pain for everyone, not just the client. This is mainly because Banfield had a plan (that seemingly was abandoned) to make your wellness plan good for all locations. Yes, the wellness plan needs to be transferred to a new location for a new year. Your records do not transfer automatically, though a receptionist has to fax whatever necessary records to the new location.

KEY TIPS: You need to follow up and make sure your OLD WP has been properly cancelled. Sometimes the employee with proper authorization to do so will not be there, and therefore not get the message. This would result in double withdrawal from your account, or collections calls in worse case scenario.

4. About renewal, you have the right to renew your wellness plan a month earlier than the anniversary date. The only reason I mention this is because sometimes your life is really hectic. Say you miss an appointment and need to pay for a booster vaccine, if it is passed a certain date from the initial immunization (3 weeks for initial, 1 year and 6 months after series was finished), Banfield's protocol is to restart the set. Eventually, you will have to pay out of pocket, and though it is discounted, of course you dont want to pay for it! I wouldn't! (Unless it's distemper, thats VERY important!)

Here's what you do:Wait until about a month before your WP ends, get an appointment, listen to the ramble about how your WP will only cover one, smile and nod. Get the vaccine at no cost. Make a two to three week appointment. Ask the receptionist or Office manager to upgrade your wellness plan early.

When it comes time for the set to be re-administered (a year after), wait until the wellness plan is up for renewal again, because it will be within the alloted 6 month time before you need to restart the series!

What you just did:1. Got your initial vaccine for free2. Made sure the booster is from the new plan, got that for free too.3. Started the WP items anew, promising some key tests and vaccines you may need a little earlier!

5. Regarding membership fees, they are first time only EXCEPT for one instance: you do not renew within three months.However, you can have this fee waived if you were sent to collections (no need to tack insult to injury).Also, sometimes the doctor or receptionist will waive this fee depending on the situation. Personnally, I find that out location is VERY forgiving regarding this matter. A CARING receptionist will always help you out. Being nice is always a good way to get discounts and free stuff!(EVEN IF YOU DONT MEAN IT, smile and scream obscenities in your head)

6. Use ALL of the services off of your plan, if you can. Yes, sometimes your pet's health will prevent you from using some services (dental prophy being the most commonly discarded, a 350$ procedure!), but you can ask to use everything. This not only makes sure you got everything you paid for, but also nothing was overlooked that could be a key factor in your pets health.

7: Sign up on the PRIMARY plan first! There is no need to pay for services you aren't going to use, until you actually use them! If you need a dental, but can't get an appointment for two months, at the Basic Plus rate of 30.95 versus the Primary of 19.95 for two months, you just paid 22 dollars you could have used for something else! This goes for puppy plans to. They dont need bloodwork until they get neutered, which is four to five months away, dont pay for a plan you wont use yet. Upgrade the day of your procedure, get all the services you need taken off and the rest discounted at a heavier rate.

THE ONLY CATCH: once you upgrade, you cannot downgrade until the wellness plan is up for renewal. Upgrade any time, can't downgrade until year is over.Also, you need to carefully watch the date of the neuter/spay versus the age of your puppy. If your puppy gets to be EXACTLY 6 months before you upgrade, then you will miss out on the puppy plan.Make sure you either call up to confirm the age once in a while, or schedule a few days before 6 months.

8. Yes, the staff at Banfield is VERY pushy about the wellness plans. I cannot speak for other Banfield hospitals, but there are a few reasons why we suggest them constantly.

From our standpoint: 1. It is easier to explain an invoice for 150, including bloodwork, vaccines, intestinal parasite exams, deworming, office visit, versus an invoice for 400+ for the same thing. You really do save money on PREVENTATIVE CARE.2. Even if you only need one thing off the plan, (like a dental cleaning) it would be cheaper to sign up on the WP, use what you need and cancel, than to use a neighboring veterinarian where they may not consider that item necessary and charge you astronomical prices.

From your standpoint:1. You have a regular veterinarian, who promises you free office visits, discounted items, and flexible hours. This eliminates the need to search for a vet, price search and possibly be dissapointed.

Now, I will HONESTLY answer a few concerns stated on this webpage, you can take or leave the answers below, and with all information, do your own research as well.

1. Yes, Banfield employees get a certain bonus from the number of wellness plans they sell. However, everyone gets a bonus from everything we provide, WP or not. Honestly, the bonus is nothing remarkable. For a whole year, and I sign about 6-7 wp's a day, I may have recieved 200 dollars all in all. That's not even enough to fill my vehicle with gas, lol.

2. Due to the sheer volume of clients per day vs the vets on staff, truthfully, people do not actually get their appointments on time unless it is a new hospital with a small client base. There is only one solution with this: hire more vets and expand the hospital. Personnally, I am very upset that I get paid chicken's feed to constantly hear client's concerns regarding their wait, and the other staff ignore them and me.

3. Frequently, mistakes are made in the computer. In defense to my fellow employees (who many of them have been in the field for YEARS), we have severely outdated program called PetWare. It is the bane of Banfield pet Hospitals everywhere. It cannot handle the number of clients, it is very restrictive in some parts, and very free in parts where it shouldn't be. It crashes frequently, and Windows doesn't even manufacture the program used to make PetWare (FOXPRO) since estimated 1995.

4. Once again, I cannot speak on the behalf of other vets (I believe the horror stories, trust me). The owner of my hospital also is the Head Vet. She is one of the sweetest people i have ever met, a little too sweet sometimes. One of the main reasons people put up with the corporate ***, long waiting times and small location, is because she may be one of the best vets in our area. She is very understanding, not pushy, and pets get better after she treats them.However, she is only human. Alone she may see 35-40 patients a day (Banfield minimum per doctor). Of course at the end of the day she is frazzled and irritated, she may be a little less understanding. I believe before you judge the vet, take note of how many people they see a day. Are they the only Vet? How long and often do they work? Do they have their license posted in plain sight?

Personnally, I would have a COMPLETE over-hall on the entire banfield system (except for diagnostic protocols because I am not a DVM, and cannot discredit). I mean, how hard is it to link all the locations? Upgrade system, including hardware, reassess the standpoint of the customer, maybe have a plan that includes a set price in medications?Maybe half price the vaccines if a set is overdue? Actually compete with prescription medication, instead of making set prices? Offer more frequent vaccine clinical hours for those non OWP customers, at a further discounted price?

All in all, the only thing that keeps me working is the pets. I love to see healthy pets and happy owners. I love to see invoices for 0.00 ( it's easier for all of us! ).

I appreciate an constructive criticism, good or bad.

Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Vaccination.

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Anonymous
#1211586

They continue to charge for the plan even after your pet dies.

Anonymous
#1163369

Sure, there are small benefits. But in all, the wellness plan is double jeopardy - you are actually paying the vet to come in there and have them charge you more for unnecessary medicine and procedures.

I've had that happen in three states. I'm amazed it took me so long to realize how unethically multiple locations were acting. It was only after I found a local, unincorporated vet that I started questioning all the checks, treatments and services I was being charged for.

The typical pet owner takes the vet for their word - and no doubt corporate pushes unneeded extras to gain revenue. Unethical as it can be..

Anonymous
#1128324

After reading all those horror stories I am very concerned now for my toy poodle whom I take to Banfield in Ft Lauderdale.

It is not noted which Banfield these stories apply to. For my Cocoa to be safe I am going to stop using Banfield.

Anonymous
#1009702

I got wellness plans for both my puppies for their first year, then cancelled. For the first year, it's great.

When you count all the vaccines, the neutering, and the fact that office visits were free for the 4-5 times we had accidents (laceration from running into play stuff outside, suture reaction and 2 follow up visits, and something else I can't remember), that was well worth the cost.

After the first year, the fact that the cost stays the same but my boys only need one round of vaccinations and no neutering is involved, it just doesn't really work for me. I brush my dogs teeth myself and don't need to take them in for dental visits.

I've always had pleasant experiences except for one vet who blamed our dogs suture reaction after his neuter/pexy on us letting him lick the sutures. We were with him 24/7 for 1 week after, he work a c collar if we even stepped outside, and he slept right between us.

The vet made us feel like horrible pet owners and I almost left in tears. When I made a complaint about it on the ban field site a vet called about it and was very understanding in listening to me vent about it.

He promised he would talk to the vet and I was even given a $100 credit on our account. I then received a follow up call from the lead vet at the hospital who promised to talk to the vet in question and said she would have her call me to apologize, which was completely not needed, but the fact they were so prompt with follow up was fantastic.

Anonymous
#931870

You people know nothing. Sales is a force in everything- the person you buy your car from gets a kick back, the person you buy your cable/dish from gets kickbacks, even your dentists, jewelers, some doctors, pharmacies, they all get paid for recommending certain products.

I used to work in sales, and I had no idea how bad it was until then. Now I see sales for what it is, a game.

You can be pissed off if you want to but ultimately you allowed yourself to be swindled because you heard what you wanted to hear, you didn't ask questions and you didn't read the fine print.

And there is ALWAYS fine print.

And stop acting shocked that people make an incentive for getting you to sign up for the plan. That's their job.

Anonymous
#753386

I know exactly what your going through infact they swindled me into a contract as well! I called their corporate office a hundred times until I was able to get through to someone do try calling this number (503) 922-5000 ask for Dr Zebell or keep calling like I did!!

I told him I would put their number on the internet!!! I'm not playing games

Anonymous
#706810

Update-employees no longer receive any type of bonuses or incentives for selling wellness plans or any type of procedure. Only the doctors do.

Anonymous
#640854

Yes you should be held to a contract you didn't understand...you should of asked and made sure you did understand the contract before signing. Anyways I love the people at the banfield I go to in Killeen Texas. All 3 of my dogs are on the plan.

Anonymous
#625749

I had this wellness plan for my dog and wanted it ended after a year. I told them this, yet they did not end my plan.

I had to then call my bank, tell them what was going on, get them to block Banfield from taking money from my account and then see what they could do about reimbursing the fees withdrawn. Now, I have a collection agency trying to get the money for a year's worth of a plan that I did not want in the first place, or it will be reported on my credit- first time I have EVER had anything sent to a collection agency and it would be the first time I have had a negative report too. So, I now have to pay for something that I didn't get service for, and did not want to continue after the first year, or my whole credit will be messed up. AWFUL COMPANY.

They are liars, do not do what they say, and just want your money! Save the trouble and worry and sign up for care credit with a vet office- make payments, no contracts, and MUCH better deal!

Anonymous
#690640
@SSC

I had the same experience here in California! DO NOT SIGN UP!! I am convinced if anyone has anything nice to say about this company they are being paid or work for them!

:(

Anonymous
#729687
@SSC

If you would simply read the contract you signed it clearly states that your contract is for 12 months and WILL RENEW unless YOU call the corporate office and end it your hospital staff HAS NO ABILITY TO DO SO! It is your contract not theirs and legally can do NOTHING!

And by the way... The hospitals get absolutely NONE of your monthly money the ONLY way they receive money is After services are rendered so be nice its not the hospitals fault they are just doing their jobs :p

Anonymous
#1084328
@works hard

Where does one read the contract? No hard copy.

They hurry you in and out of office. You only sign the key pad.

Anonymous
#1277450
@Anonymous

When you sign the pin pad on the first visit the printer automatically prints a hard copy for you. I got mine.

Anonymous
#590967

A commenter on this thread said: "No one should be held to a contract they simply did not understand. It was NOT made clear that the contract would run 12 months."

I just have to say, I'm considering different wellness plans and insurance for my pets and actually read everything online concerning the plans available for my cats.

This included the cost per month, what would be covered (some things are only done the first year you have the plan), and the fact that you are entering into a twelve-month contract when you purchase a new plan.

I honestly don't know how anyone who is an informed consumer could NOT understand the information provided on the website. It's there, if you take the time to read and peruse the different links discussing important facts about the plans.

Anonymous
#574677

Honestly this has been the worst experience I have ever had. AFTER waiting 45 minutes on hold and attempting to cancel my plan after I told them my dog had passed, he asked me if my phone was a good contact number?

WHAT? I DONT WANT YOU TO EVER CONTACT ME I WANT YOU TO VERIFY MY ACCOUNT AND CANCEL THE PLAN. I paid 35 a month for 2 years took my dog in once or twice and still had a left over balance.

RIDICULOUS. WILL NEVER DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE AGAIN.

Anonymous
#537467

I have a wellness plan, I had to euthananize my dog yesterday and called to cancel today and was informed that I need to pay the balance of the plan even thow my dog is dead. Thanks for being so caring.

Anonymous
#628253
@Ralph Hicks

Same thing for me. I had this plan for 12 + years paid every month.

Used their services paid every bill no questions asked. Had to have my dog put down.

When i tried to cancel the plan was told I owed so much money. After 12 years of monthly premiums and services on top of that its nothing but insensitivity and greed.

Anonymous
#628473
@Anonymous

You only owe them what you used in services for the year. So if you used a bunch of vaccines/bloodwork/dental cleaning, you have to EITHER pay retail value of the SERVICES YOU RECEIVED, or you have to pay the remainder of the plan for the year...whichever option is cheaper FOR YOU.

I don't see how that's unfair.

It's not like a gym membership where you get access to the same services every month - you split the cost of yearly health care into monthly payments. So you may use up a majority of the services during the first couple months of the plan, so you have to still pay for them even if something happens to the dog.

Anonymous
#1217093
@Anonymous

It's not just the remainder of the plan..if you use services during your "plan" months..you will incur further charges ...although at a discounted rate..I've been paying them 82 pm for 10m ...guess what..should be done in 2 more...nope...because my cats went in for their 6m checkup...5min ...bam.more charges added to my "covered plan..." I just called to confirm my account would not renew.. actually called to make sure last april...dude told me it was not set to NOT renew..

and that's when he informed me I still owed him 320 in addition to two more 82 pmts...they are a scam. And will be reported

Anonymous
#512052

The main thing... is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Customers can tell when they are getting ripped off. That is why they are here.

No matter how many time you point the finger back at the customer, post extensive excuses, or muddle the issues... they still will not return to your stores, they will still tell all of their friends about their horrible experiences there, they will still post those experiences here (for all to read) as a warning, and they will still HATE your company.