Paying for a Puppy They Don’t Have Anymore
Last Thursday, KIRO-TV ran a story about a family that leased a Husky puppy from Puppyland in Puyallup.
Alyssa Carter told the KIRO reporter that she and her husband “fell in love” with the puppy. But they couldn’t afford the $3200 price tag.
That’s when someone from Puppyland told them that they “had options” and could finance the payments for “as low as $100.”
But the payments weren’t even close to $100 a month. They ended up being almost $250 a month.
As I wrote in my previous post about puppy leasing (Washington Pet Stores Are Leasing Puppies, 2/15/19), the Carter’s realized after they signed the contract that they would end up paying over $7200 for the puppy.
And even when they made all the payments, they wouldn’t own the puppy unless they paid an additional $487.50.
To make matters worse, the family soon realized that a Husky “wasn’t the best breed for them.”
They asked Puppyland to help them find another home for the puppy and ended up selling him for $950.
Carter’s husband told KIRO, “I’m paying for something I don’t even have.”
Puppyland’s Misleading Responses
I believe Puppyland’s response to the reporter’s questions about puppy leasing were at best misleading and at worst, deceitful.
Puppyland co-owner Kayla Kerr told KIRO they “deter customers as much as possible” when they offered “the leasing option.”
She also said they would tell customers who wanted to sign a lease “to go home and sleep on it so they don’t make a rushed decision.”
Ms. Carter told the reporter no one tried to deter them from signing a lease for the puppy or told them to sleep on it.
The puppy leasing model depends on customers making an emotional decision instead of a financial one because the desire for getting a cute puppy can cloud the judgement of a potential lessee.
As the founder of a company that finances puppy purchases noted, “We like niches where we’re dealing with emotional borrowers.”
Ms. Kerr made a couple of other claims that I think aren’t accurate.
Financing Option? What Financing Option?
Ms. Kerr told KIRO that Puppyland only offered a leasing option to customers with bad credit.
The customers with good credit are “given the option of financing” that gives them an interest rate that is “significantly lower than the fees they would be paying for a lease.”
This is the first time I’ve ever heard that Puppyland customers have both a financing and leasing option.
Puppyland’s website only mentions puppy financing.
Credova has this statement at the bottom of its website (I added the CAPS and bolding) :
“CREDOVA IS NOT A LENDER. Credova provides a software platform for retailers to access third-party providers for LEASE-TO-OWN financing and other lending products based on a consumer’s credit profile.”
It even clarifies the difference between financing and leasing: “A loan is the borrowing of money while a lease is a term rental agreement for the use of specific property.”
Nothing I’ve seen on Puppyland’s site, Credova’s site, or mypetfunding.com indicate customers could get 2 different interest rates depending on if they signed a lease or a financing agreement.
Did Puppyland Really Stop Offering Pet Leases?
Ms. Kerr also told the reporter that “they still do pet financing, but recently stopped offering pet leases.”
But as I just noted, both Credova and mypetfunding.com unequivocally state they do NOT offer financing for puppy purchases.
If Puppyland no longer offers puppy leasing, why does it have a link to Credova’s site on its puppy payment page?
Ms. Kerr made another misleading statement when she told the reporter that Puppyland “doesn’t benefit from customers financing pets.”
When someone signs a lease agreement, the leasing company buys the puppy from Puppyland and retains ownership of it until the customer makes all the monthly payments.
Since the customer couldn’t afford to buy the puppy outright, financing/leasing allows Puppyland to make the sale to a customer who otherwise couldn’t have bought it.
Isn’t making a sale a benefit to Puppyland?
Also, without financing leasing, Puppyland would also have to continue paying for food and other expenses for the puppy.
In other words, the less time Puppyland has the puppy, the more money it makes on a sale.
Clearly, Puppyland benefits from customers financing/leasing pets.
If it didn’t, why would it offer customers the option to do it?
I Still Don’t Like Pet Leasing
As I wrote in my earlier post, I think it’s perfectly fine to lease inanimate objects like cars or appliances.
But leasing puppies, in my opinion, is wrong.
Even the American Kennel Club, the leading proponent for breeders like the one that supplies Farmland with puppies, opposes pet leasing. Its Canine Legislation Position Statement says: “AKC supports a ban on predatory pet leasing schemes that victimize potential owners, undermine a lifetime commitment to a pet, and do not confer the rights and responsibilities associated with legal ownership of a pet.”
Ms. Kerr’s misleading responses to KIRO’s reporter only reinforced my beliefs about the puppy leasing industry.