Youngstown, Ohio
1.4K views
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7 comments

The Banfield employee who signed us up for the Wellness Plan never explained to me that I'd be expected to continue paying on a plan if something happened to my cat. A couple of years ago we adopted an elderly cat (very sweet guy, no regrets - adopt older pets!) and when he passed away in December, the vet tech said that we "might" have to continue paying for his plan, as it's a yearly contract. Well, she was right, they are forcing us to make those monthly payments! While they did at least do us the favor of reducing the fee (the cat was on the high-end plan), it's obvious that Banfield is in it to make money hand over fist.

Yes, we should have scrutinized the fine print, but Banfield is obligated to make basic terms of their agreement clear. While it's fine for companies to make a profit, I think continuing to expect payment on a pet that isn't alive is beyond greedy.

The vets at this particular Banfield give excellent care - but the Wellness Plan should be avoided.

Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Medical Service.

Monetary Loss: $420.

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Anonymous
#802097

This is the first properly articulated comment I have read, which is saying something since I have read about 100 of them. I started checking on the Banfield Vet Services this afternoon, wanting to get my small dog's nails clipped.

They are long due to not being able to walk her in cold, snowy weather (I'm in Minnesota), and my inattentiveness the past week. The PetSmart with the Banfield Clinic is closer than the vet I have brought her to for care and nail trims since she was 7 weeks old when I adopted her (rescue pet), and I was in a time crunch.

Despite it costing more than a groomer would charge, my long-term vet group is so good I'll continue to bring her there. The respect they show for my pup and not just myself gains MY respect for them and I trust them completely.

After reading nothing but "horror stories" and complaints, I changed my mind about even trying Banfield. While it is true that many of the complaints are about clinics overseas, and are so poorly written - there is a spell-check feature at the top of the comment box, if nothing else - that I began feeling skeptical about many of the complaints.

However, as I progressed through the complaints, several themes emerged: 1) The staff was dismissive of the pain and underlying grief of the owners; 2) a stone-cold lack of responsiveness and respect for the owners, forgetting that just because this is the 50th "cat with kidney failure" in your career, it is the FIRST "this is my beloved cat that is dying" for the owner; 3) staff shows a level of complacency that borders on incompetence; 4) bedside manner isn't a joke, and the apparent "Dr. House" attitude of "I'm such a genius I don't have to be nice or take the time to explain" is inappropriate and cruel - makes for good TV, but not real life.

There are more, but I need to stop. The staff who engages in the unacceptable behavior (you know who you are) needs to know this: As a Nurse Educator I have done studies, surveys, and research on what it is that patients REALLY want when they visit a clinic. Here it is, this comment was recorded during a taped small-group interview: "I DON'T MIND IF MY DOCTOR IS A LITTLE BIT INCOMPETENT AS LONG AS HE'S NICE TO ME".

There you have it - and it has been proven that the doctors who have made a mistake and she/he sincerely apologizes, they are far less likely to get sued - even if the outcome is death...

FYI, yes, if there is a contract for care for your pet, and the pet dies, finishing paying out the contract is a lousy policy. BUT, paying for services rendered and the pet dies is a reality - same as if a loved one is ambulanced to the ER and dies, you are liable for the ambulance costs and ER charges regardless.

Anonymous
#796201

KarenKL,

First I would like to say sorry for your loss. I wish Banfield would make more of an effort to explain the plan to people.

Just to clarify - when they make you pay after a pet dies, they only make you pay for services you have ALREADY used, not for unused services. It's not like a gym membership where you pay $30/month for the SAME services. What the plan does is split the cost of care over 12 months, but you may use the most expensive services like blood work and vaccines during the first few months. It's like if you bought a car, then crashed it, then said "I'm not going to make payments any more." You still owe them for the cost of the services you used.

For example, people could use all the expensive services totaling $200 in the first month, then cancel after the first payment so they only pay $30. Those things still need to be paid for. It wouldn't be fair for the vets not to be able to feed their families, pay their staff, or pay the operational costs of running a hospital. When your pet dies, banfield only makes you pay for services already used, so they aren't charging you for unused services after the death of a pet.

I hope this clarifies things. And no, I don't work for them.

Anonymous
#795448

um you signed it without reading the fine print? i'm sorry for your pet loss I know if any of my dogs passed i'd be heartbroken but if I had them on a plan like this i'd have read the fine print all the same.

no matter the contract ALWAYS read the fine print and NEVER sign till you're sure you understand it.

that being said you admit they are trying to work with you by lowering the fee, you then go on to say they're in it to make money hand over fist? um sorry but in this case that's not the case.

they clearly are trying to work with you to get the payments that you AGREED to by signing the contract by lowering the fee. they did not have to they did so to try and work with you to help ensure you finish paying your contractual obligations.

Anonymous
#795450
@notgivingit

Thanks for taking the time to *** on my review, much appreciated. Must be nice up there on your high horse.

I'm mainly interested in getting the word out so people know this is how Banfield operates. And yes - expecting payment for a contract on a DEAD PET is greedy.

Anonymous
#795779
@KarenKL

I see so many people moaning about this. You guys need to better understand what a wellness plan is, seriously.

Aside from the blatently obvious 'read what you sign' logic there is also that fact that a wellness plan is not insurance. It is a preventative care plan that spreads the cost of all the office visits/vaccines/bloodwork/dental cleaning over a 12 month period. If you call to cancel your plan for any reason (i.e death of pet, pet given away or lost, moving to an area where there isn't a Banfield you can get to etc etc) they you are always given the option to pay either the remaining months of coverage left OR the cost of ther services such as vaccines/surgery that you already used - whichever is cheaper - so if for whatever reason you didn't get offered that option then call them & ask for it. If they didnt do this then people would just sign up on a plan, use all the expensive services such as surgery/bloodwork , then cance their plan & have only paid 1-2 months of payments whichwouldn't pay for the costs of ther services they already used.

See how that just wouldn't work. This is not greed, this is a business, that has to make money to be able to sty open - as all Vet's are. They have to pay for the saleries of their Dr's, vet techs, receptionists. They have to pay for the rent & utilities of their building and expensive lab equiptment.

They have to pay for the drugs they stock & use. Maybe now you understand better?

Anonymous
#795782
@basic

Yes, I understand that you are probably employed by Banfield.

How is a pet dying taking advantage of the plan?

I'm not cancelling it because I got what I needed and am trying to game the system, MY CAT IS DEAD SO I CAN'T USE THE PLAN.

Maybe you aren't aware that there are at least two class-action lawsuits alleging that Banfield does NOT give the promised discounts to people who buy the high-end plan? Banfield isn't all sunshine and puppy love.

Anonymous
#806908
@basic

KarenKL - you say that "I'm not cancelling it because I got what I needed and am trying to game the system, MY CAT IS DEAD SO I CAN'T USE THE PLAN." I don't think you get what we are trying to say. You say your cat is dead so you can't use the plan, but you still need to pay for the services that your cat used BEFORE it died.

You DID use the plan and the services that you ALREADY USED need to be paid for. Since the plan is split into monthly payments, you may have used more services than what you paid for.

They aren't trying to take advantage of you financially, only be reimbursed for the services that WERE used. They do NOT charge you for unused services on your plan.