• Report: #155879

Complaint Review: Banfield Pet Hospital, In Petsmart

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  • Submitted: Sat, September 03, 2005
  • Updated: Wed, January 11, 2006

  • Reported By:alexandrie Virginia
Banfield Pet Hospital, In Petsmart
6100 Arlington Blvd Falls Church, Virginia U.S.A.

Banfield Pet Hospital, In Petsmart, charges exorbitant fees for medicine Ripoff Falls Church Virginia

*UPDATE Employee: banfield has competitive prices and they are always willing to price match.

*Consumer Comment: Not the Saks of vets

*Consumer Comment: I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

*Consumer Comment: I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

*Consumer Comment: I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

*Consumer Comment: I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

*Consumer Comment: Please actually read the whole complaint (Peter)

*Consumer Comment: something else to consider.

*Consumer Comment: The solution is simple !!

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I recently signed my animals up for a wellness plan at Petsmart. I have 4 pets, so as you can imagine the bills add up. Banfield's plan sounded like a dream come true. $15.00 a month (avg) would pay off all regularly scheduled appointments and tests. The plan also includes free office visits and 5% off of medications and grooming. I have Golden Retrievers and they tend to have little allergies and things that come up, a little rash I need to have checked out or hotspots that you want to get looked at. This plan seemed ideal.

My golden recently got an abscess in her mouth. I took her in, the vet, Dr. Withers was very nice to her and I liked him. He prescribed an antibiotic and sent me on my way. I got to the desk and was told I owed $95. Shocked, I paid the bill- certain I would find that they had accidentally charged me for the office visit and I could have the fee taken off and the bill would be acceptable. But no, the antibiotic cost $100 but they did take off my 5% (thank goodness for small favors). Either way I paid and left, what could I do? The dog is sick.

Out of curiosity I looked up the price of this antibiotic on Dr. fosters and Smith (an online pet catalog) I was completely stunned to see the price for the EXACT same medication to be $37.00.

I started by calling my old vet and asking what they would charge, "Around $40.00". Banfield called about that time to check on my pet (a nice service were I not paying through the nose for it). I told the tech what I had discovered, she said, "yes, I know it's high but Banfield Corp. sets the price and we have no choice". I also got to talk to the vet that owns the franchise(not Withers), he said, "I know my charges and bills, other vets cannot charge that little, this is an expensive medication but it is very good. Also, we cannot compete with online companies- they have a much larger audience" (aren't you a franchise? Don't you have huge buying power?).

I then called corporate to complain. The guy stated, "well, the vet doesn't have a choice, you can ask for your money back, but he probably won't give it to you since that is what he has to charge. I can forward this on to our pricing department and let them know". I said that was fine, he could do that, when would I hear back from them? He said, "Oh, they don't follow up calls so you won't". Basically, what I'm hearing is that I have absolutely no power here. Banfield corporate won't help, Banfield Franchise won't help.

I thought about what the owner said and started calling to local vets who work on their own without benefit of a franchise and corporate headquarters to back them up. While I did find varying prices for the drug, the highest price I found was about $67.00, no one vet was charging the $100.00 that Banfield charges.

In defense of the Banfield, they did say that they would call in the prescription and I could return the remainder for a refund. (I ordered the prescription, had it overnighted for $21.00 and I am still saving about $40.00). This is semi-acceptable. The problem remains though that I am now locked into a wellness plan with a vet I cannot trust to charge me appropriately. Abby should have her abscess looked at again but I fear they will request x-rays and make other ridiculous charges that other vets would charge 1/2 the price. I cannot get out of the plan unless I pay a large fee per dog. So I am stuck for at least a year.

I have found Banfield to be a company that lures you in with a great plan but then slams you with huge fees for medications. The plan might work great if your dog never gets sick. It's great for paying off those wellness visits monthly because that can be a big charge. But the price of medications has made this plan a big ripoff. I am so dissappointed and feel very taken advantage of. I would really appreciate my $150.00 enrollment fee back ($75 for each dog) and to be let out of the plan immediately with no extra fees. This is my request of Banfield.

I will happily pay the vet visit charge at a regular vet to know that I'm not being cheated. The vet just 2 blocks away would charge $47 for the medicine and about $40 for the office visit. I would still be saving money and wouldn't feel so stupid for being taken.

Mindi
alexandria, Virginia
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/03/2005 07:25 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Banfield-Pet-Hospital-In-Petsmart/Falls-Church-Virginia-22044/Banfield-Pet-Hospital-In-Petsmart-charges-exorbitant-fees-for-medicine-Ripoff-Falls-Chur-155879. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 9Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

banfield has competitive prices and they are always willing to price match.

AUTHOR: A. - (U.S.A.)

I AGREE WITH PETER!!

peter...you are my new best friend.

banfield has competitive prices and they are always willing to price match. before you sign your name FOUR times on a 12-month commitment agreement, try reading it and asking questions. by human nature, people will that if you don't ask questions, you don't have questions. i could bet my shoe collection that you didn't take that agreement home with you and comb through it to make sure you didn't have any questions in the first 72 hours. you mentoned that

"The plan also includes free office visits and 5% off of medications and grooming."

hmmm. i'm thinking you didn't read it because Banfield has never offered discounts on grooming because grooming is part of PETSMART and they are two different corporations.

another thing, this comment terrifies me:

"Abby should have her abscess looked at again but I fear they will request x-rays and make other ridiculous charges that other vets would charge 1/2 the price."

i'm a bit afraid for the health of your dog so you can prove a point. if your plan is still active, then Abby can still get rechecked because an exam is ALWAYS free. but if you wait and your dog's oral cavity worsens and requires further attention, then i really would hate to see your next report stating that they "ripped you off" because your dog had to have oral surgery to stop the aggressive infection caused by lack of proper medical attention because her mom was trying to "stick it to Banfield."

please, for the health of your dog, swallow your pride and admit to yourself that you didn't read something that you should have and you committed yourself to 12 months of something that you didn't quite understand fully. HEY, I entered into an agreement with Cingular two years that i didn't understand because I didn't read my contract ..and i was MAD..at MYSELF. but I didn't lash out at them, I kicked myself and swore to READ EVERYTHING next time. Banfield's #1 interest is in pet health and family bonding. I am a VERY moral person and I would not be entering into my 4th year of employment with them if I didn't believe and uphold this evident TRUTH EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Next time I am wrapped in hug from a grateful client, have a client's tears on my scrubs, or am high-fiving my staff because we saved another life, I will think of you and how sad it is that you are missing out on a wonderful and caring group of doctors.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Not the Saks of vets

AUTHOR: Mindi - (U.S.A.)

Good point, unfortunately I did not walk into the "Saks" of vets (the "Saks" of vets is actually down the street from us, and oddly enough- CHEAPER), I walked into the Wal-mart of vets. Banfield makes a big show of how they have low overhead and therefore can save you money (much like Wal-mart- I'm not sure Saks has ever bragged about being the cheapest) Here are some quotes from their website...

"COST-EFFECTIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE"

"with more than 450 locations in the U.S., the U.K. and Mexico"

"substantial discounts on other veterinary services"

"schedule checkups and procedures at the appropriate timesall the while eliminating unnecessary veterinary expenses"

"help your Pet live 25% longer through affordable preventive care"

"A Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan is the most cost-effective way to give your dog the comprehensive veterinary care he deserves"

"making Pet health affordable"

"to provide Pet owners a complete range of high-quality veterinary care that is convenient and affordable."

I think there is this crazy thing called, oh what is it? Truth in advertising- companies are supposed to do it.

You are absolutely right, I should have assumed that all of the things the vet techs were telling me and all of the advertising on the website was a complete and total lie and began calling all vets around me. You sure got me there. Why would I expect a large reputable company with branches all over the United States to give me good prices?

I wish I had met you a few months ago- you have a lot of answers. HOWEVER, please try to understand that when an animal gets sick suddenly there isn't always time. WE got the problem under control and now I have realized my mistake. My goal here is to help others not make the same mistake trusting a large company when they are mostly interested in profits not affordable care as their website states. Do you break your leg, call every hospital in town and then decide which ER to go to?

Please, when people read this, if you have the same reaction as this angry man. The reason I am angry is because I signed my pets up for a plan with a huge company based on some simple concepts of business. When it is a small business, they have to work hard to keep prices low. They do not have buying power like large businesses do. This is why many small towns fight Wal-mart coming to town because it is sure to shut down many of the mom and pop small businesses. They simply cannot compete with someone with that much buying power. I thought Petsmart/Banfield was like this. Petsmart often puts small pet stores out of business because they have such huge buying power. This is what I thought would happen with a large business like Banfield. They have large buying power and seem to suggest by the quotes above that they will do their best to save us, the consumers money. Heck, this is what the vet even told me. Unfortunately this is not their goal. They strive to be the "Saks" of vets- despite their advertising.

Remember, if you have to ask how much- you probably can't afford it. (new quote for Banfields site:)
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#3 Consumer Comment

I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

AUTHOR: Peter - (U.S.A.)

Yeah, whatever ... I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here! You voluntarily took your pet to the vet in question, and voluntarily paid for the services. No one forced you to go there! THEN you made a bunch of calls and found that other places were cheaper. WHY THEN, didn't you do your homework in the beginning? Just because later you found cheaper places does not mean that Banfield was ripping you off.

Example... If you go to Saks Fifth Avenue and buy a gray sweater for $200, and then you find a gray sweater at Walmart for $10, is that a rip off? Methinks not!

As human beings, we make choices in life, and we must be ready to accept the consequences of our actions ... NOT blame our mistakes on others. Methinks you need to reevaluate your behavior and perhaps grow up a bit.
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#4 Consumer Comment

I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

AUTHOR: Peter - (U.S.A.)

Yeah, whatever ... I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here! You voluntarily took your pet to the vet in question, and voluntarily paid for the services. No one forced you to go there! THEN you made a bunch of calls and found that other places were cheaper. WHY THEN, didn't you do your homework in the beginning? Just because later you found cheaper places does not mean that Banfield was ripping you off.

Example... If you go to Saks Fifth Avenue and buy a gray sweater for $200, and then you find a gray sweater at Walmart for $10, is that a rip off? Methinks not!

As human beings, we make choices in life, and we must be ready to accept the consequences of our actions ... NOT blame our mistakes on others. Methinks you need to reevaluate your behavior and perhaps grow up a bit.
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#5 Consumer Comment

I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

AUTHOR: Peter - (U.S.A.)

Yeah, whatever ... I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here! You voluntarily took your pet to the vet in question, and voluntarily paid for the services. No one forced you to go there! THEN you made a bunch of calls and found that other places were cheaper. WHY THEN, didn't you do your homework in the beginning? Just because later you found cheaper places does not mean that Banfield was ripping you off.

Example... If you go to Saks Fifth Avenue and buy a gray sweater for $200, and then you find a gray sweater at Walmart for $10, is that a rip off? Methinks not!

As human beings, we make choices in life, and we must be ready to accept the consequences of our actions ... NOT blame our mistakes on others. Methinks you need to reevaluate your behavior and perhaps grow up a bit.
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#6 Consumer Comment

I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here!

AUTHOR: Peter - (U.S.A.)

Yeah, whatever ... I still stand by my point that there is NO RIPOFF here! You voluntarily took your pet to the vet in question, and voluntarily paid for the services. No one forced you to go there! THEN you made a bunch of calls and found that other places were cheaper. WHY THEN, didn't you do your homework in the beginning? Just because later you found cheaper places does not mean that Banfield was ripping you off.

Example... If you go to Saks Fifth Avenue and buy a gray sweater for $200, and then you find a gray sweater at Walmart for $10, is that a rip off? Methinks not!

As human beings, we make choices in life, and we must be ready to accept the consequences of our actions ... NOT blame our mistakes on others. Methinks you need to reevaluate your behavior and perhaps grow up a bit.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Please actually read the whole complaint (Peter)

AUTHOR: Mindi - (U.S.A.)

I would like to point out to the consumer who so nicely informed that online companies are ALWAYS cheaper than vets. I stated that checking online was the CATALYST (that means what got me started) on discovering that Banfield charges too much. I can easily accept that an online company will have a bigger audience than a regular vet (granted, Banfield being a franchise with many locations across America should have a slightly larger buying power than say, a local vet who works for himself). BUT, the local vet (not a franchise with very little overhead/marketing needs etc.) charges $47 dollars for the exact same medication that Banfield charges $100.00 for. The local vet is not an online company so how have they found it for $47 and Banfield a huge company paired with Petsmart another enormous company cannot seem to get a bigger price. I'm guessing it is not because they do not have the means to search for a better price but it is because they are interested in profits. When EIGHT (that's right, I called 8 more vets for price quotes) vets within about 10 miles of Banfield are ALL able to charge less (by about $30 for the exact same medication that Banfield sold me) that is called a RIPOFF or a scam. Please read my entire complaint! I did not just compare Banfield to an online company.
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#8 Consumer Comment

something else to consider.

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Most of the medication they perscribe for your pet is the same medication YOUR doctor perscribes for you. Next time check out your local Eckerts or other pharmacy and see what they charge.
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#9 Consumer Comment

The solution is simple !!

AUTHOR: Peter - (U.S.A.)

NEWS FLASH!!! Pet medications purchased online are ALWAYS cheaper than those bought from any vet's office. Next time if you are unhappy with the vet's price, simply ask the vet to write you a prescription so you can buy the meds elsewhere. There is no need to cry "rip off" simply because a company's price for an item is not to your liking. There is no rip off here!
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