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PetCo warranty is a crock

Posted Sat October 25, 2003, by Kelly J. written to Petco

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I recently wrote you regarding the ill rat I bought from a PetCo store in Olympia, WA. On the back of the receipt for this rat it states that if the animal you just bought gets sick within 15 days of purchase, PetCo will provide it with veterinary care. It fails to mention, however, that you must return the animal first and won't be getting it back.

When I asked the PetCo manager how the warranty works, she told me that I could bring my rat in and PetCo would take it to a vet and then keep it in the store until it gets better. When I asked if I could accompany the rat to the vet, I was told I could not as it was against policy. She never mentioned that I would have to actually return the rat for good for them to provide her with veterinary care.

I thought something sounded shifty, and after trying for a while to make up my mind about whether or not to take my rat in to PetCo to be treated (still thinking that I would be getting her back) I called PetCo customer service to ask further questions about this policy. This time I was told the same thing, that I am supposed to bring my rat into the store and PetCo will take care of her until she recovers, then I can 'buy her back'. I asked the customer service representative what she meant by that, and she told me (quite vaguely) that I could get my rat back from PetCo when she had recovered. When I asked her why I wasn't allowed to accompany the rat to the vet, she told me that the warranty only works if I bring her in to PetCo. I asked why the warranty only works that way, and she basically repeated "because the warranty only works if you bring the rat in to PetCo." After trying multiple times to rephrase my question into a form she would actually answer, I gave up, asked for the number of the vetrinarian PetCo uses, and called her.

It was the vetrinarian that filled me in on what the PetCo employees did not about the warranty. Apparently I have to return the rat for a refund, relieving me of any responsibility for her or her veterinary care. Then PetCo supposedly treats her illness and puts her back out on the floor to sell again when she has recovered. Then I have the opportunity to buy her back (if I happen to come into the store at the right time.) Why didn't the PetCo employees fully explain this policy when I asked them multiple times?

It seems logical to me that the store should pay for customers to take their sick pets they recently bought at PetCo to a veterinarian, and just skip this whole refund/buy back business. Let the customer go to the vet with the animal, so they might learn about what is making their pet sick and be able to prevent it next time.
Oh wait...but that would mean the animals would actually have to SEE the veterinarian. That would mean PetCo would actually have to PAY the money to treat the animal, instead of just assuring the well meaning customer that the animal is being taken care of and sent to a good home when in fact it is suffering in the back room or being used as snake food.

Here's what I think you should do to fix this problem: I suggest you clarify that warranty on the back of the receipts, as well as instruct employees to give customers the whole story on that warranty.
I doubt you're going to change the policy, as that would cost PetCo far too much money in vet bills, but at least let customers know that they're not going to be getting their animal back once it's "healthy". 15 days is more than long enough to get attatched to a pet, and people aren't going to be particularly happy when they find out they won't be getting the chance to buy Fluffy back.

As you recall from my previous letter, I will not be buying food, litter, accessories, or any other products for my seven pets at PetCo stores any longer. I will recommend to other pet owners to avoid PetCo as well. I am completely disgusted with this store, as are many other animal lovers. We are the people who keep you in business, and it's only a matter of time before every regular PetCo customer has one too many experiences with the store's low standards, dishonesty, and carelessness and stops shopping at PetCo as well.


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