Sarah Harper and Woo Lee said goodbye to their cat, Pete, in October.
Pete developed epilepsy last year and had to be euthanized. And now that he is gone, the couple is still required to pay for Pete’s wellness plan at Banfield, the Pet Hospital. (Sound familiar? We reported about this happening to another pet owner in July.)
When Harper and Lee took Pete into Banfield, hospital staff recommended that they sign up for an “optimum wellness plan.”
For Harper, it seemed reasonable to pay an enrollment fee of $69.95 and $16.95 in monthly payments for Pete to receive regular vaccinations and exams and discounts on medical service.
Harper thought the wellness plan was like insurance.
And now, since her cat is gone, Harper thought she could terminate Pete’s wellness plan. But, Banfield said she couldn’t because she had signed a one-year contract.
Harper stated, “Pete was our little guy. Charging for his healthcare after he’s dead? That’s just evil.”
But Banfield said this is all explained in the paperwork and contract that owners sign.
The company explains that their wellness plans are not insurance policies. Instead their plans are a way for pet owners to manage the fixed costs of routine checkups, and payments can be paid yearly, but most pet owners decide to make monthly payments to spread the cost.
In Banfield’s contract, it states “monthly payments could be required if the total amount of services rendered by Provider prior to cancellation (valued at Provider’s full retail prices) exceed the sum of monthly installments retained or recovered by Provider.”
On various websites, other pet owners who have signed up for Banfield’s wellness plan have complained about the same situation that Harper and Lee are going through, and how they are still paying their premiums even though their pets has passed away.
A Banfield spokeperson said, “It’s unfortunate that those are out there. We have 2 million pets on wellness plans. We take good care of them.”
Source: Chicago Tribune