dog with owner

Did you know that pet leasing is a thing? Well, it is and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a warning for any pet lovers out there who are currently in a pet leasing agreement or considering one.

How it works:

Some pet stores offer finance plans to purchase a pet, as some breeds can be very expensive. Like other types of leases, you sign an agreement to make payments toward ownership, but the FTC warns, “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.”

Because the company technically owns the pet until you’ve completed the financial agreement, “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,” adds the FTC.

What you can do:

The FTC says that if you are interested in leasing a pet, make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for before signing any documents. Further, “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,” adds the FTC.

You can file a complaint with the FTC if you feel like a retailer has broken the law.

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