Vet Bill - Collections and a Paid Receipt

Updated on August 19, 2014
C.S. asks from Saint Louis, MO
20 answers

Last week we went on vacation and left our dog at the Petsmart hotel. She has been there for other vacations and playdates. We haven't had any issues and our dog seems to enjoy it. This time she ate 1/4 of a hockey puck a couple weeks prior to her stay and then got sick on the last day (day 6). So I received a call from the hotel and the girl asked if it was okay to take her to Banfield, the vet at Petsmart. I said yes and soon began to receive updates from Banfield.

Once we figured it was the puck, they wanted to run every test. They offered an Xray, blood work, an IV to hydrate her, and then they would provide a treatment plan. We were at $700 worth of tests. I said to Xray her and then lets see what that shows. The girl tried to talk me into the IV, but I asked if the reason was due to dehydration. She said she didn't know, so I had to tell her I can tell when the dog is dehydrated so they are a vet and they know how to diagnose it. She told me she was not dehydrated so she then began to tell me they like to flush and cleanse to administer the meds in a sterile environment???? So, I refused it. So, I am now at $520 with treatment.

We are now en route to the hotel, to take a shuttle to the air port. I am still receiving calls from the vet and telling them all the while that I can't hear because I am in a tunnel and on a bus while they are giving me updates. We fly home, get our car, and are talking to the hotel side letting them know we are trying to make it back in time to pick her up and bring her home. I figured I would have a vet bill waiting at the hotel side. A call comes through and it is the vet asking for a credit card or they will send me to collections. HUH? I let her know I am driving (it's night), we are on our way to the store and trying to make it before closing and she tells me they closed at 7:00. My phone was in my purse and the call was coming through my speaker. I later looked and she was calling from the same number I received calls from all day. So I tell her we are on our way and will be there in a less than 15 minutes and if they wanted their money the same day that bad, they can wait for me. She says she has to talk to her boss and she will call me back. I never received a call back. I get there and I am told they sent me to collections. The vet (manager on duty), vet tech, another girl who called earlier, and the lady who called for the card, were all there still.

The vet comes up behind me in the hotel side with the meds in his hand. I ask if the meds are on the original bill that went to collections and he says yes...I need to reinvoice you so that I can give the dog the treatment she needs.

They reinvoice me, I pay, they release the meds and tell me that their office manager will talk to corporate and call me Monday morning. By Tuesday, no one calls so I send an email to corporate to ask for a letter stating they did not send me to collections. I receive a letter with $480. I was invoiced and paid $520. I immediately sent a letter to them stating the amount is wrong I now that it is Saturday, I have not heard back from them.

Would you be satisfied with the letter that is $40 short or would you continue to pursue a correction? I have the paid receipt & bank statement for $520.

**To clear some things…I have never used Banfield, so there were no unpaid balances. My dog ate a puck on my watch and had good BM’s, then got sick, apparently from the puck approximately 13 days later. She was treated on 8/9, sent back to the pet hotel on 8/9, picked up from the dog hotel on 8/9, and the bill was paid on 8/9.

I did reach customer service, but they said I had to call back. I did ask her if they really send you to collections the same day of service and she said, “If a bill is not paid by the close of business, they send it to collection”. That was my case. Banfield closed at 7:00 p.m. and I picked up at 9:00 p.m., from the Petsmart dog hotel. I was able to pay that day because they were still there. I will not use them again because of this business practice. It is ridiculous. I have never heard of this type of business practice.

At this point, I doubt they send a bill to a “collection agent”, however, it is 2014 and they could easily send a file at the end of the night, if they wanted to.

Again, I thought I would pay my bill at the hotel and they would then transfer the money. Initially, my husband thought the pet hotel had our credit card on file and mentioned that. The PM hotel corrected me on that and said they are not allowed to keep CC’s on file. That is true. No one should keep you CC on file, although I know the hotels do it.

I am still waiting for a letter that shows the correct amount that I paid. It doesn’t appear I am going to get one. If I do receive one, I will enter that in the SWH.

Someone mentioned writing a review. They have plenty of negative activity on the web. I didn’t find any reviews similar to my case.

My dog is doing fine, thanks for asking.

Marda, I am still laughing. This is so bizarre; you thought I made it up.

Suzy T., I am sorry you live your life by mouse karma. It wasn’t my mouse and wasn’t my sticky paper. If you didn’t already know this, many animals eat mice. Get a grip.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Louisville on

If you paid by credit card - dispute it there and get it fixed. Then, as others say, I'd find a different spot!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'm also confused, how can a bill go to "collections" in one day? Maybe the word collections is throwing me off, because that's usually when a provider attempts to collect a debt for at least a few months without payment...
Either way, sounds frustrating, and if you can walk away from the $40, do it and find another place next time.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Another attempt to write a story? One does not get sent to collections on the same day as service is provided. Your story is interesting. Best to check facts before submitting it for publication if you're wanting reader to believe story is real. You could submit it as fantasy, tho.

I just realized you are a regular member. Perhaps I'm not understanding you. Could you ask the question without a blow by blow account giving a time line. State just the information related to the bill.

Thanks for the summary. Collections just does not make sense. Sounds like you've got it handled. Because your dog knows and has had good experience at the pet hotel I'd keep using them.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I just talked with my daughter who worked in Banfield administration office for 6 years. She said that Pet Smart and Banfield are separate businesses. They call themselves partners because the clinic is in the Pet Smart building but their business ppractices are separate. That is why the hotel couldn't handle the clinic payment. They wanted to use Banfield because it was physically there. That is the only advantage. You can ask for the hotel to take dog to a different vet.

As to collections. They call their business/credit office Collections. To be sent to that office is not a negative thing at all. One of her friends works in that office which is a call center. They will call the next day to arrange payment. You can then choose to pay the whole bill or make payments. It's just a business office.

The same thing happened to my daughter with her dog. My daughter was upset just as you are. She went back to work and complained. She agrees this is crazy.

My take on Banfield is that it's a large corporation that uses friendly we're family as a focus in advertising but it's still a major coorperation more focused on the bottom line than meeting the customers' needs. Doing all the tests is to make money tho our litigious society with expectations of animals being treated same as people has a lot to do with it. I took dogs to two different private clinics and they did the same. My sense is veterinary clinics are focused on making a profit. Their focus is just as much on proft making as animal care. One has to find a veterinarian that is able to be more personal.

My daughter

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am not following your story very well. I realize you are still upset and it is just not communicating well to give us the details.

Bottom line is that you were over charged and you want the $40 back. What is it worth to you with your time to argue it out? If you have copies of what you paid, show them the copies and see if they make an adjustment. However, don't go storming in to the place of business and being demanding... that will get you no where.

We have experience with vets and the ER vets with our dogs and they do NOT send someone to collections on the day of service. It just doesn't happen.

When someone is sent to collections, it is usually because a bill is 120+ days late.

My regular vet does have my credit card info on file in case of an emergency while our house/pet sitter is here that would cover what you are talking about. He has never used the card without our authorization.

Good luck to you. I know it is stressful to have a sick pet, most especially if you are not around to care for him. I hope everything works out and my advice would be to maintain ONE vet that you work with at all times who knows you, your history, and knows he/she will be paid without a doubt. If this was your first experience with this vet, I do think he handled things poorly, especially trying to communicate when you were out of town and putting undue pressure on you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

what a tangled mess. i'm talking about your post, not the vet practice (which does, it's true, sound like a shady nightmare.)
i think it's karma for leaving a mouse to suffer for days and days, whilst trying to lure in the neighborhood feral cats so they too could die from glue trap complications.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

OMG I'm dying over the sticky paper comment & mouse karma.

Hope you get your bill settled.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I don't have animals but my guess would be they wanted to get paid right away since you weren't the one to bring the dog in, maybe they've been stiffed in those situations before. Sounds like the person you were talking to was new or something, who knows. As far as recouping the $40.00, I guess that depends on how much time and energy you want to spend on it. Maybe give them until Tuesday to get back to you and then present them with the invoice and your receipt. I'm a penny watcher and don't like to pay for things not received so I would pursue it. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I know one thing for sure, I would never use that kennel or vet again

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Bills don't go to "collections" in a day.
Did you have an unpaid balance before this or something?
Very odd.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

I'm not getting how it goes from treatment to collections before the dog has even been picked up… Something is missing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would document the error and push back. If you paid $520 and they aren't crediting for you for that $40, they might audit and try to come back for it later. Further, I would want to document the whole episode with corporate so that they are aware of this whole debacle. Personally? I despise PetSmart and wouldn't trust Banfield with a pet rock. I would be looking for alternate accommodations for the dog for your next vacation, someone who would use your vet or an ER vet that your vet trusts.

ETA: I agree that collections is usually reserved for outsanding bills of more than a few months. I would think they were lying and wonder what else they lied about. I'd be irate about that treatment, especially since they knew you weren't home (your dog had been in their hotel, for pity's sake).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I use Banfield for my dog and have never had a problem with them. I wonder if they had you confused with another patient that doesn't pay their bills since it takes over 30 days for an unpaid bill to get to collections.

I would have them correct your statement/invoice to the correct amount, this way they wont be calling you later on.

PS I hope your dog is doing better.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

WOW! Just crazy.

I'd wait until Monday and call the corporate office and absolutely make a big deal out of this.

#1. A tech, an employee, a staff person should not be explaining medical procedures to you. Bad etiquette. Vet should have called up up front and said

"This is what I think it is, this is what I'd like to do, and this is how much I think it will cost but once we do tests it could go up but I'll call you back at each step so you will know how your furbaby is doing".

#2. They probably have a department they send the bills to when they are close that weren't paid that day so the owner will get a bill. Instead of billing they're called collections.

I deeply feel they don't have a collection agency on call for bills that have not even been presented to their clients owner. I think this is a misunderstanding.

#3. How is your furbaby now? Is he okay?

#4. Just take a breath and realize that this is a store and somewhat of a....okay place to do this type of work but perhaps using a locally owned vet that has their own business and knows you by name, treats your animal year round, and is friendly out in the community if they see you, you know, a family style business. They might treat this sort of thing better, that's all I'm saying.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

So the dog ate something on their watch, and then the strong-arm tactics start about massive testing (to cover their butts) and then threats of collection? Totally unethical on the first, and totally illegal on the second. It sounds like untrained underlings were on the phone with you, with no medical background, working you for authorization when you are in a panic about your pet's health.

There's no way something goes to collection in one day. That's an idle threat to coerce you into giving them a credit card right this second to cover their expenses. I think the first priority is to get your dog to your independent vet and solve the immediate health crisis.

Then you write down everything you've put in this post, and any other details (look at your phone for the times of the calls), and you go after the corporate office for your money. You also call the BBB and probably the state attorney general's office of consumer protection. Getting complaints on the record shows whether there is a pattern of this. Once complaints go on line for public view, companies often start to pay attention. But get a letter out to corporate detailing this first, and give them a chance to make restitution. You can say that if you don't get satisfaction you will be taking additional actions.

Your vet will also know if there is some agency that oversees animal care providers (kennels, vets, etc.). I'd report there as well.

Good luck and I hope your dog is okay.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I know this is your dog whom you love, but this is a business. I'd notify BBB. Better Business Bureau. Sounds very bad to me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Something just does not add up here. I have never heard of a vet office that would send a bill to collections immediately...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

This is why I'll never take my pets back to Banfield. They are SOOOOO shady when it comes to billing. Sending you to collections before you even pick your dog up? What kind of policy is that?! They are also notorious for pushing for more tests than the pet needs. Every time I'd bring my cat in for a checkup, they'd want to do an IV, a blood test, an ultrasound, antibiotics, and painkillers because she supposedly had crystals in her urine. Surprise, we switched vets and it has NEVER been mentioned again. And the cat is perfectly healthy. Banfield is the absolute worst with billing and overcharging. If they think they can get away with it, they will.

Absolutely follow up on this, aggressively, threatening legal action in every phone call. It's the only way to get through to them.

And no matter what, follow up with a negative review on Yelp so other people don't get taken for a ride by this vet.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think that you and the vet office have different definitions of what "collections" means. You are assuming that they mean to send your account to a collection agency. I believe they just call their staff who follow up and get payment "collections".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think it is important to keep asking for a letter with the correct amount you paid. If you don't, and later on they try to collect the other $40, they will say you "agreed" to the paid amount of $480 because you didn't dispute it. They could literally ruin your credit over a lousy $40!



answers from Las Vegas on

They seem to be scam artists, I would see an attorney

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions