Are you buying or leasing your pet? (Not joking.)

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This is a new one on me — maybe you, too. Pet leasing: apparently, it’s a thing. And there are many people who paid money not knowing they were actually renting their new pets instead of owning them. Here’s how that happens.

Since pets can be expensive — even a few thousand dollars — some pet stores offer financing plans. You sign an agreement to make payments toward ownership — or so you think. You may unintentionally sign up to make costly, extended lease-to-own payments that add up to about twice the list price of the pet. As you’re paying over what could be years, the company still owns your pet. When the lease is up, you may have to pay additional costs to actually own it.

If by some tragedy the animal gets lost, stolen or killed, you could still be on the hook for the payments. You might not get a refund – or might still have to make more payments to get out of the contract. And, if you miss a payment, the company has the right to take away your pet — which can be stressful for you, your family and your pet.

So, whether it’s pooches or parrots, understand what you’re actually paying for before you sign anything. If a retailer doesn’t make the terms of an agreement clear to you or misrepresents the terms of the agreement, they could be breaking the law — especially if the retailer runs ads leading you to believe one thing but sells you another. Also, learn more about how buying plans work, including understanding the terms of your purchase agreement. And let the FTC know if you were taken in by purchase agreement terms that were unclear or undisclosed.

Tagged with: buyer, buying, credit, rent
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Money & Credit


Please, people, please go to your local shelter or breed-specific rescue to adopt. Millions of unwanted animals are euthanized every year. Save a life by adopting.

Best advice there is! Doing so would also shut down puppy mills who are also often the suppliers of those cute little puppy stores you see. We have now had TWO pure bred dogs from our local SPCA Shelter, complete with papers thanks to the surrendering information.
We have had pets the whole 50 years of our marriage, and even have an archive and "story" for each of them, including how they passed and why. We have had a LOT of pets in 50 years!

All of my pets are rescued and they are beautiful. My dog was a puppy mill dog. All she knew was to have puppies and then they were taken from her. I was very blessed to get her from a no kill shelter.

Yes! I have rescued three street cats and adopted one from an acquaintance and one from the city shelter (where I also volunteered at the time). Also take care of five street cats. So many orphaned animals and so many euthanized in many communities. My community was euthanizing 500 feral cats per month until two brave women started the trap-neuter-release program on their own dime and then got two three-year grants to make more progress. What a difference it has made! Very few feline euthanasias now; however, that could change without constant work and vigilance.

Yes but be sure what the rescue asks from you is also not a lease. I had a rescue try to get me to agree to take a dog on the condition they could come into my home at any time in the future and take the dog back for any reason. If they ever took the dog back I would be responsible for any exenses incurred by the rescue caring for the dog for the rest of the dog's life. Their contract even included a clause that said if I had a disagreement with them and took them to court, I had to pay their legal fees as well as my own. So it's buyer beware whether you get from a breeder or a pet store or a rescue.

Almost every 'rescue contract' I have read says you are the owner/guardian of the dog. If the animal needs to be rehomed you must return it to the rescue. What I understand is you don't really own the animal, I'm just responsible for the welfare of the animal and all expenses, unless the rescue should decide differently. Read the contracts carefully and discuss anything you don't agree with before you sign and take custody of a pet.

Wow thanks for the info

Excellent information to have. I never heard of this, but I do know that there are a lot of unscrupulous trash in the world !!!

I can't believe people would buy a pet when there are plenty of animal shelters you can go to and adopt a pet.

Totally agree! Adopt don't shop!

Having been involved with pure bred Shetland Sheepdogs for over 30 years, I feel that people that want a pure or purpose bred dog should have that right. Just as you have the right to purchase from rescues, animal rescues or wherever. And when you purchase from a rescue organization, please don't fool yourself. You are buying that pet, not rescuing. Someone else already rescued it.
Off my box now.

Crazy! No one should be buying or leasing a pet when there are so very many sitting in shelters, waiting to be adopted.

If you can't afford to purchase an animal, how will you be able to pay for its upkeep? Stop endangering an animal or its life on credit. The only one you are doing a favor is the store.

Crazy to pay hundreds of dollars for a pet. Got my Little fur baby at a shelter for $10. She is my precious baby and just as loving as any expensive pet

Yes, you can save a life by adopting. It is no
secret that many rescued pets make great additions
to the family.
However, many high-end buyers may think they need a
trendy pet as a show-piece for some reason, and are
afraid of hidden problems. Most of them are well
taken care of though.

Decreasing the demand for a "designer" pet and rescuing needy animals would prevent these problems from ever happening.

As an avid farm owner, I have had many animals and we almost always have at least 2 dogs, all shelter dogs. As we are getting older and want to travel more we find that another pet after these pets pass will be best to adopt an older short term dog. Not many people adopt the older homeless pets but in our elder years a nice free healthy farm life for the end of a pet can mean the best years of its life. We will all benefit, the dogs and cats and us. Keep this in mind when you want another pet. Unfortunately our pets do not live as long as humans and we seem to have new ones every 1o-15 years

I don't know what is worst. People who lease dogs or people who spends hundreds of dollars for a dog. If you need to make payments to own a dog for bragging rights, maybe you should't own a sentient beign. Btw, my dog was twice a handout before he was dumped on me. Little worthless chiguagua to the world. Best doggie in the world to me.

Money scams are getting more creative. Shelter pets are the way to go.

This stuff really breaks my heart. Anyone else out there spend hours each week looking at animal posts on the Internet?

Pet stores should be banned until the rescues and shelters are empty, which will never happen.

You speak as though you think adopting is "free". In the Detroit area adoptions are as costly as buying from a pet store or breeder. I was also sold a sick cat from one of these county adoption agencies. They would rather euthanize these pets it seems to me if they can't sell them for high fees. It even seems they would rather use these animals as fund raisers rather than actually adopt out any of them. Really pathetic.

thanks, this is a new one me . Now you need to buy INSURANCE just like a car

Hard to believe people would rather go in hock and pay 1000's of dollars when they could adopt for about 100.00. Plenty of loving beautiful animals waiting for homes out there and fits your budget.

Pet stores get their dogs from disgusting puppy mills anyways, even if they say it's from a breeder, they're lying! So it's always best to adopt! If you want a purebred, find a breed specific rescue. You'll be saving a life, instead of putting money in greedy animal abusers pockets!

totally ridiculous to buy a pet on a payment plan. buy a pet you can afford with your cash on hand! even without the 'rental' scam, you know if you miss car payments or mortgage payments, 'they' can take your car/house... so obviouly they can 'take' your pet if you don't make your payments.

I was very fortunate that the "Clear the Shelters" free adoption event this past August took place only days after my 12-year-old Kobi crossed the rainbow bridge. I was able to adopt two healthy affectionate cats from Animal Care and Control here in New York City, and have not regretted it for one day. All of my cats have been shelter kitties or rescues, and I would recommend this route to anyone looking for a new pet. There is nothing more satisfying than saving a life or two by adopting.

I'm so glad to see that people are into adoption. I love animals! Besides my kids, dogs are my favorite things. Please don't buy from pet stores! They get their puppies from puppy mills! What a horrible life those poor babies have! Breaks my heart...

There are so many animals getting euthanized at shelters on a daily basis because they have too many and this is very sad. These animals are stuck in cages and then they are put to sleep. Granted there are some that are not adoptable for behavioral issues and illness but for the most part this is not the case. There are many purebred pups and kitties at shelters, too.

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