Problems With Pet Leasing
Many people might not know about pet leasing. However, there is a rise in the popularity of pet leasing, and there are also problems with the practice. There have been stories in the news recently about the pitfalls of pet-leasing agreements.
A woman named Angie leased a three-month-old retriever from a pet store in Brick, New Jersey, nearly two years ago. Since she did not have $3,000 at the time, the store allowed her to lease Harley. She made monthly payments on time for almost two years. With one last payment to make, the pet seller threatened to repossess Harley if the monthly payment wasn't doubled.
Another case involved Danielle, who did not have $2,500 to pay upfront for a golden retriever named Max. She agreed to lease Max for $145.19 a month. She paid on time for 23 months, but her final payment was $338.07. She was told by Shake A Paw, a pet store on Long Island, that if she did not pay the extra money, Max would be repossessed. Danielle said she had no idea she was leasing Max and would be paying $1,000 more than the in-store price.
Actually, the pet stores have a third-party leasing company. In Danielle's case, Shake A Paw agreed to make the last payment to the leasing company so the dog would not be repossessed.
In both of the pet-leasing cases mentioned, the women admitted they did not know they were leasing the dogs because they had not read the fine print. They knew they were financing the deal, but they didn't realize the documents they had signed were lease agreements.
Is It Legal to Lease Pets?
In some states, it is legal to lease pets. Even so, is it wise to do so? Pets are not owned by families who lease them.
Like cars, pets are the property of the leasing company during the entire time of the lease which could go on for several years depending on the terms of the lease. Sadly, if all conditions are not met, the pet could be taken away.
Lawmakers are taking a closer look at pet leasing arrangements and are finding them to be deceptive. There are some schemes involved to benefit the company instead of those leasing the pets.
State governments have stepped in and passed laws to ban pet leasing.
- Nevada was the first state to outlaw the practice on July 1, 2017.
- California passed a bill to outlaw the practice on October 13, 2017, that went into effect on January 1, 2018.
- A ban was introduced in Rhode Island and passed in the House, but the year ended before it had time to pass for the bill to pass in the Senate.
- New York State Legislature passed a ban to end puppy leasing. Governor Andrew Cuomo needs to sign the bill into law.
Susan Riggs, ASPCA Senior Director of State Legislation, calls the practice a predatory financing scheme. The ASPCA believes more states will act to ban pet leasing in 2019.
Pet stores push people into leasing a dog if they can't afford to pay the full price on the spot. Time is of the essence for the store because it wants to make a sale before the pet gets too big or too old to be sold or leased.
Those who lease a dog end up paying double because of the high-interest rates. Besides, there are additional costs at the end of the lease if the person wants to own the pet. If not, the dog would be returned to the pet store. This could also happen if a person fails to make a payment during the leasing period.
Another problem with leasing is that pet stores don't usually give a full report about the pet's health. It is the responsibility of the person to take care of the medical needs of the pet.
Federal Trade Commission
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning with details about pet stores that lease pets. In the meantime, several states have passed laws to ban the practice.
The warning also goes out to consumers to read documents with fine print to avoid surprises later.
Would you ever lease a pet?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2018 Margaret Minnicks