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Jenwah & Birt Vs Pets At Home

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Jenwah

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Hi everyone.

You may remember I posted a thread about my adopted piggy Birt from Pets at Home, they told me verbally that all vet bills are free. I have been warned on members on here that this may not be the case, but I thought, I'll fight it when I cross that bridge.

Well guys, I'm at the bridge and I'm about to cross it!

I took Birt to Pets at Home vets, last week some time - they had a quick look, poked, prodded, flipped over, comments made such as "oh yes, these scabs are healing", "oh yes, these pressure sores are healing too", "I remember you when I looked at you not long ago" etc. Got the all clear, it's just dry skin. Keep an eye on it - it's clearing up. Vet Bill - £0.

Had hold of Birt a few days ago, and was touching the area of the dry skin - Birt squeeked. Didnt like me touching it. Scabs still there, extremely dry. Red, flakey. etc
Took him to the best vet in Widnes - Andale Veterinary Centre (John Dinsdale, he looked at my late Agnes, he was so kind. Really nice man - recommend this vets 100%). He had a good look at Birt, and seen the dry areas - and took some skin/fur samples - Birt screamed (have never heard him make a lot of noise since I got him). He went away, and came back and confirmed it was mange. He gave me some Ivermectin and said to keep an eye and review it again. Vet Bill total - £21. (Not bothered of the price)

I went to P@H because, to be honest. I was livid. This guinea pig I feel has been left this way. I went in, explained what happened, the girl behind the till goes "oh yeh I remember Toby.. what's mange?" Told her and she was like omg. She got her supervisor who said, "we cant give you a refund its from a charity". I said, I was told by your colleague Andy that all vet bills are free. He sent me up to the Vets. I told them the story - they said.. "why have they sent you up here, its nothing to do with us" she proceeded to read out the vet's diagnosis, which said "very quiet, scabs on back, very dry skin - treated already, NOT ringworm. Pressure sores on feet, treated, getting better".
I ended up speaking with the Assistant Manager who was a cocky get, and basically said, "why has it taken you this long to bring him back?", "From what youve told me - its definitely ringworm, we dont put mite infested animals up for adoption", "it's probably caused by bedding", "we all have different opinions, and so do vets".

I said to him - it's not ringworm as your vet has confirmed it isnt. And another reason why it isnt ring worm is because if it was, I'd have most likely have caught it too as it's contagious. He soon shut up. I said, this is mange and your vet hardly did any diagnosis, this private vet did more and identified it straight away.
He said he doesnt understand why his staff are telling people the charities vet bills are free when they're not - ive suggested he has words with this colleague.

He has asked me to come back Saturday so they can look into this further, look at the vets diagnosis because the time I returned (Ive been twice tonight) the vets systems had gone down - convenient?

What makes me so angry, is you get questioned/quizzed about buying fishes, if you fail - you're not allowed fish. But do they give a damn about these furry friends, do they bugger.

I hate pets at home, I've never going back. As much as I'd like to rescue every single animal from there.. they just dont care.

If you have stayed with me through this - thank you. Can anyone give me any advice what I can say to this arse of a man?
 

The Furry Godmother

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I would look at the legal aspect of it, Do they have any legal documentation on their site? Or anywhere else you can find some - I would assume there's a sales act regarding pets?

I luckily had no problems when Bert got sick - they treated him and paid it.
 

karonus

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Advise him that you are going to involve trading standards and the RSPCA as they are breaching their animal licence. See what reaction you get, oh also mention that you are receiving legal advice, we can check the actual details later as he sounds like he doesnt know what he is talking about.
 

Harry&lloyd

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That is a really difficult situation. I'm not sure if dealing with the store directly will get you far. Speaking to their head office and/or contacting the charity might get you further. I've had guineas from the adoption centre and had a free health check for them but there was no word on free treatments (if required). If the staff are unable to spot or treat serious conditions like mange I would be tempted to talk to the local council authority about their license to sell animals and complain to vets4pets about the poor diagnosing abilities of the vets. All these companies, although linked, are separate. ( I hope that makes sense). I hope other members can help provide advice, it all depends how far you want to take this.
I really hope birt feels better soo and the treatment works. Sending healing hugs xx
 

Claire W

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Great advise given already but I just wanted to add make sure that you keep all receipts and itemised bills that you are given from your own vet as proof of diagnosis and cost.

My vets do not automatically give itemised bills apart from after surgery but they are more than happy to if you ask.

Good luck
 

Jenwah

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Thanks so much so far guys, knew I could get some great advice - I got in the car and the first thing I said was "I'm going to speak to my guinea pig peeps for help!" haha!
I think this is just a disgrace. I really want to take all these poor animals away.

I've kept all receipts yes and I've even emailed John from the vets for a written diagnosis. I couldnt get over an assistant manager of a store basically has said "its ringworm" when a qualified vet of god knows how many years knows what he is talking about.

I want reimbursing for the vet bill because - if Vets4Pets actually diagnosed him correctly and treated him there and then - this wouldnt be happening. But I am going to carry on and take it further - definitely. RSPCA / Trading Standards and their head office is next.

Ive also looked online - seems WatchDog has pulled them up about 2 guinea pigs having ringworm!
 

Harry&lloyd

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There is a contact form on the support adoption for pets website. The charity relies on pets at home staff to look after these animals Instore and may not be aware of whats going on. I would post a link to the page but not sure it's allowed. It may be that other animals in this stores care are also suffering from mange and require intervention to stop them becoming very poorly.
 

Pebble

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What a horrible (and complicated) situation for you and Birt.
Firstly it's good that he has finally got a diagnosis and can be treated properly.

There are several consumer and relationship issues that need to be clarified arising from your experience....and it is very important in your conversations/interactions that you understand and keep those lines and boundaries clear in your communications

a) Your relationship with P@H concerning this "transaction": namely they supplied an unwell guinea pig to you..
Normally, if it were one of the cute baby piggies for sale and you bought one, then the sale of goods act would apply and you could return the animal if unhealthy/pregnant/wrong sex (although most elect to keep and P@H offer to refund the vets bills and any additional costs such as a larger cage). Quite simply put it is either goods not fit for purpose or goods not as described....

However this was an adopted animal so please check the T's and C's of their adoption policy as I am not familiar with it and the sales of goods act may not apply in these circumstances. Most importantly - Did you pay any type of "adoption fee"?

Nevertheless - they supplied a poorly animal. If it was "not as described", then as such they are responsible for misleading you/false advertising. (They also have a duty of care to the animal but i will deal with that as a separate point) As a gesture of goodwill to you, the new owner, they have offered to refund your vets bills for Birt's treatment. Confusion arises because the inexperienced member of staff said "we will give you free vets treatment"....implying the vets in store were under their control. They aren't - see next point. All P@H can do is reimburse the cost of your vets treatment (but can reserve the right to stipulate a vet of their choosing)

b) P@H relationship with Vets4Pets
Some but not all P@H stores now have a Vets4pets facility. Vtes4Pets is a completely separate and independent entity/organisation from P@H. They rent space in the store to offer their vet services DIRECTLY to customers (and obviously look after the P@H stock in the process) So these vets have no obligation to offer you the customer free treatment if P@H supply a poorly animal - they are nothing to do with P@H activities. ........but it seems in your case an agreement has been reached between V4P and P@H behind the scenes that they will give you treatment and bill P@H for the cost However let's be very clear at this point that this is an unusal way to arrange things. The "normal" and "most acceptable" course of action for the piggie slave in this type of circumstance is to be billed directly by the Vets and then get P@H to reimburse.... That way, the lines of legal liability and responsibility are kept completely clear....see next point

c) Your relationship with Vets4pets
You went to them as a consumer expecting a service of a certain standard. They misdiagnosed your guinea pig.......they let you down and your complaint with them is that they couldn;t even recognise mange mites. As such you should be trying to reclaim the vet cost from them first.
Whilst your arrangement with P@H to reimburse your bills is indeed "nothing to do with the vets"....the vets failure to diagnose Birt properly puts them in direct "dispute" with you the consumer.

WAY FORWARDS
Unfortunately a vet will never admit they made an error of judgement so you have little chance of getting a refund from the vets directly. But you have to make the attempt in writing.
Once they say no, (in writing) then you go back to P@H and say that
i) P@H agreed to refund vet treatment for supplying a poorly pig......
ii) but regrettably insisted you use manky V4P for your guinea pig who
iii) made a mistake which prevented him having proper diagnosis and treatment much sooner.
iv) You have tried unsuccessfully to recover the costs from V4P but now
v) you are seeking recovery from P@H as the vet they revcommended was not satisafctory and P@H agreed to refund appropriate vets bills realting to PROPER diagnosis and treatment of the poorly pig as supplied

For the sake of £21 they should capitulate.

Last point - e) Proper care of guinea pigs by P@H
P@H have a duty of care to supplyguinea pigs from whatever source without fungal ringworm/ectoparasites etc . They are a retailer and have a duty of care to the consumer.
If it appears that they they have clearly supplied an ill piggie to a consumer who was not aware - then they need to pick up the bill

HTH
x

-
 

Jenwah

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Wow, thank you everyone for all your great replies. Thank you for taking your time out to help me.

Pebble! Very very helpful advice thank you. I am not sure if I explained correctly but - I'm not good at typing, I do miss things out :\ apologies if there has been confusion, but P@H originally said they were never going to reimburse me for the 2nd vet I went to, HOWEVER. I have an update..

I went back on Saturday, but this time I took my Mum, (they call her the rottweiler at work as, once you cross her, she turns!) As she feels after I went on Thursday, they were being funny with me as I look young and probably werent going to help me.
I went in, and the colleagues who were there on Thursday were on, and the Supervisor comes over, and gets the Assistant/Deputy manager for us. He comes half way down the stairs and shouts "is it about the guinea pig?". He goes back up and comes back down and shouts again, "what's the name under?".. You'd have thought he would have had all this information ready for my return, but I reckon he didnt think I'd be back.

Now, let me give you all a timeline of what has gone on so far - this will make sense for the next part:

- 14th February, Saturday, adopted Birt, was told "free vet bills", on his adoption sheet next to his cage, it said "I need special treatment". When we asked what is the special treatment, we were told and I quote, "oh nothing, he is just a pervert as he likes to hump the other guinea pigs". Advised he did have a grown on his paw which was named a "cut".
- I wasn't handling him loads as I normally would as I wanted him to get used to his new home, but when I did - I could feel these scabs on his back, I only thought there was one until I found loads more around his rear and back area. Found the bald patches and he would flinch whenever I'd touch these areas. Pig still very quiet and unenthusiastic. Allowed up to a week to see if these scabs healed.
- 23rd February, Monday, called P@H for an appointment, which again verbally told me, vet bills are free and theyll pass me over to V4P. Made appointment but only one available was the following Friday, 27th February.
- 27th February, Friday. Took him to vets, the vet turned Birt over and over again, looked at his back and said "oh I remember you, I've treated you before, yes the scabs are healing and I can see he has pressure sores on his feet but these are also healing nicely.. come back in 1 week time if theyve not healed."
- 10th March, Tuesday. Still not healed after V4P advice, called John Disdale for second opinion. Appointment following, Thursday, 12th March.
- 12th March, Thursday. John looked through Birts fur, looked all over his body, pushed his fur back, could see all the dry flakes, and proceeded to take fur/skin samples. Took a few, and went away. Came back and said this is mange. There are eggs on his back. I can not see live ones, but there are eggs, we need to treat this. He then gave me Ivermectic. Explained what to do, to clean Birts cage out thoroughly, wash hands after handling him before touching Gertrude. And said, keep an eye on this and well review in a week to see how he is getting on.

So.. back to Pets at Home. The AManager comes back, with the Vets printed report. He read it out to us and said "OK, so the vet's diagnosis is basically, he has an on going skin condition. And when you came, basically nothing was wrong with him". So, we said, "how can a vet know this, by not even doing skin/fur samples?" He continues on to say "it's just different opinions"... I told him, we came in and he literally moved him around, and that was it, where as my second vet, actually did something to diagnose the issue.
The assistant manager told me that, "I see you adopted him on 14th Feb. But it has taken you this long to come back, now that tells me that he never had the issue to begin with". I replied, "how does that tell you that, when your own vet, said "I have treated you previously for this issue". There was a lot of back and forth disagreement going on. And he even said, "he probably got it from hay", this guy was just irritating me. So I said, explain how a dog gets mange mites, when they dont eat hay? Mange comes from an infected animal." , he then shouted "WE HAVE NO INFECTED ANIMALS HERE!", I said , "you must have done". He again said, "well its taken you quite a while to come back, so, he musnt have had it here", I said, because I have had to wait 1 week to see if it heals, it didnt, I was following your vets advice."

In the end, he said he had words with his colleague who told me the false information and said "on this occasion, we will reimburse you for your vet bill but you must understand that vet bills are not free". I said to him, "this would have been nice to have been told this on adopting this guinea pig, because the reason why I adopted him was because he looked so bloody miserable in your cage over there, then to be told its all free vet bills - that was a bonus, its going to make anyone take an animal isnt it?" He said I will have another word with the colleague, but I will now reimburse you.

He told me that if I need another vet, to only go to V4P as it will help with their "correspondence" They can naff right off! Why would I go to their vet when he didnt do anything?!

All in all - I've been refunded, I've made it clear to this manager I wont be coming back, theyve lost a customer, I'm disgusted with the way they treat the animals and think they need to have training for their staff. Seeing as being told what special treatment Birt needed, was "he's just a pervert!". No health history was given or anything. I've wrote on P@H wall and have had a few "likes". And theres a lot more complaints made, it makes you sick! I wish I could rescue all those poor animals in there. I still want to write to RSPCA and Trading Standards, as I believe they really need to be looked into. Watchdog has already investigated them, and they said they would change a lot of their things within their stores.... they've failed.

Also - the only money I put down for the adoption, was I donated £10 for the adoption centre, which I wonder if this has been given to the charity? Or has P@H just pocketed it themselves?!
 

Pebble

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It sounds like you have achieved a satisfactory resolution to your problem.
~
Congratulations! and well done!

Is there anythig else we can do to help?
 

Pebble

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I realse this has been a prolongedd and horrible situation for you - which has also involved consumer and legal issues when all you really want is to treat your piggie

I'm pleased to hear your piggie's problem has been resolved.

I hope you have now resolved your "other"issue with P@H ....which zhould include reclaimimng successfuloly all vet bills
x
 
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