BBB and Consumer-action.org are warning those looking to financing a new puppy or kitten to make certain they are not actually signing a high-interest lease.
There are national news reports of pet stores and online breeders using Wags Lending, whose contracts are actually leases for pets rather than financing agreements. According to news articles on the subject, interest rates are sky high over the term of the lease-to-buy agreement.
It turns out the company leases pets at monthly prices that add up to two or three times the original cost of the pet over the years. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting family thought that they had signed the standard sort of paperwork that would allow them to buy a dog outright.
The complete BBB Business review can be found at: https://www.bbb.org/reno/business-reviews/furniture-rent-and-lease/bristlecone-lending-in-reno-nv-90017909 .
Consumer-action.org reports that Wags’ “terms and conditions” were probably vague and/or deceptive, leading consumers to sign the contracts.
One family “bought” a golden retriever for $2,400 only to find a $5,800 charge on their credit report from a company called Wags Lending.
And it’s not just dog-lovers impacted by this scheme: Bloomberg News gives the example of a cat person who “described buying a Bengal kitten from a breeder in Jacksonville, Florida, at a sticker price of $1,700” only to learn that “they were on the hook for 32 monthly payments of $129, or about $4,100.”
One complaint to BBB even reported a family had to pay a buyout at the end of the lease to keep their pet.
One consumer in New Jersey thought she financed a puppy, but “Upon receiving this contract by email, I found that it was not a sales financing contract, but rather a lease contract. The price of the dog was $3148.00. However, the end cost was $7619.93, with a $450.00 purchase option at the end of the lease."
She said she was able to cancel the contract and purchase the dog outright, but was upset at what she perceived as a deceptive process.
Start With Trust® Check out all businesses at bbb.org before doing business.
BBB reminds consumers to read every contract before signing and agree to nothing until the contract is in hand. This can often prevent much consumers from suffering financial loss from unexpected circumstances such as “leasing” a new pet.
Contracts can be long or short, but they don't have to look legal to be binding. Because most contracts are written to protect the seller, always be sure the agreement also protects you. Remember consumers are bound by everything that is written in the contract.
Be sure that the agreement explains the terms of the transaction clearly, as verbal representations often do not count legally unless they are in the contract. If they are important, have them written in.