Pet leasing is a new practice that’s been coming under a lot of government scrutiny. Essentially, want-to-be dog owners that don’t have the money to buy a pet are offered to pay for it in multiple small installments. As it often turns out, however, the fine print of the contract says that they are only being leased the animal and haven’t purchased it.
A recent example is Max, the golden retriever. He has been in the Cittadino family for two years, they love him very much and they are taking amazing care of him. However, the company that financed the purchase are not threatening to repossess him.
This was the family’s first encounter with pet leasing.
Mrs. Cittadino says that she had just taken her sons to a Shake-A-Paw pet shop.
“To be honest with you, we really were not there to buy a dog, we were just going for a visit, take the boys, let’s go visit the dog store and Max, doing his playful thing, was up there, saying ‘Pet me, pet me, pet me,'” Cittadino says “And that’s when they said, ‘Would like to go in a room with him?’ And I was like, ‘I know how that’s gonna end up.’ But we did and we fell in love right there.”
Cittadino said that she couldn’t afford to purchase the dog, so she opted for a leasing plan from Wags Lending.
“It was offered to us, well you can finance, so my husband and I discussed it for a moment and said, ‘OK, if my credit is good, run it, and we’ll go from there,'” Cittadino said. “It happened to work out. We were approved. … I forget the total dollar amount, I believe it was maybe $2,500 and the first payment was paid there, on the spot, and then it would be consecutive 23 payments after that.”
“Did I know it was a lease before I signed it? Absolutely not,” she added. “I was told I was financing. There was no mention of a lease.”
However, she does acknowledge that she didn’t read the entire contract too carefully.
“There’s wording in the paperwork that you are financing ‘X’ amount of dollars, although the top of the paperwork does say, ‘This is important information about your lease’ — which to me financing versus a lease are two different animals, so to speak, no pun intended,” she said.
Cittadino says that she paid all 23 installments of $145.19 on time and without a problem. Yet now, the lender is asking for a further payment of $338.07. With that, the final cost goes $1,000 above the in-store price.
Wags Lending are as of yet silent on the issue. The Federal Trade Commission has been warning customers against pet leasing since November 2017.