Vets4Pets not so transparent prices

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Pets & Pet Care
14 replies 49.7K views
telephone_mantelephone_man Forumite
153 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Pets & Pet Care
I recently took my little pug to my local Vets4Pets for his worming medicine.
The vet noticed a slight infection in one of his ears and gave me some drops costing £15. She then invited me to come back after 10 days just so that she can check that the infection had cleared.
I took my poochie back there; the vet gave him the all-clear (we were in there 2 minutes). 2 weeks later I received an invoice from them for £22 for a ‘Return Consultancy Fee’. At no point during my visits did they inform me that there would be a charge which contradicts one of the Vets4Pets Service Promise which is, and I quote ‘We believe in offering affordable veterinary care and being transparent in our pricing. We will always explain our charges to you’. – It was not transparent and I certainly didn’t have the price explained to me.
So, my question is – Should I pay or Should I complain?
Thanks in advance
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Replies

  • billyboo131billyboo131 Forumite
    35 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Complain! But most vets charge a fee to return for the "all clear"!

    Tell them you will take your biz elsewhere, there is soo many vets out there.
  • krlyrkrlyr Forumite
    6K Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
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    I can see both sides. If you returned to a private GP you would expect to pay a second consultancy fee. However, if it wasn't made clear that there was going to be a further fee I would perhaps argue that point.

    Worth bearing in mind that even a 2 minute consult incurs costs to the vet though. The receptionist to book you in, the cleaner to have cleaned the surgery ready for customers that day, the vet to be present, the electricity, gas, water costs, rent or mortgage payments on the property (and possibly the car park area), the equipment necessary to perform the checkup, the computer system to record the notes/information, it may seem like "just 2 minutes" but you'll probably find that another checkup could run to 20 minutes, require more extensive work from the vet and perhaps other pieces of equipment, and you'd still be billed the same £22 - the vet has to average it out to make it affordable yet fair.
  • alamayaalamaya Forumite
    419 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
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    With my cats recurring eye problem. The Vets4Pets vet said do you mind if i just take a swab to check its nothing serious i said sure. Few days later i got a call to pick up some medicine. Told medicine was £50 i said ok. When i got there i was told the swabbing itself cost £90 and the medicine could not be released without paying £140. :O
    Baby Girl Born May 2011
    Baby Boy Born Nov 2012

  • edited 30 November 2012 at 11:22AM
    PixieDustPixieDust Forumite
    944 Posts
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    edited 30 November 2012 at 11:22AM
    I love our local V4P vets and staff but I have to admit that their prices are making me seriously consider going to a vet I don't know simply because of price.

    Earlier this year we had a very poorly ferret who we had been treating for a couple of weeks. We brought him in one Saturday for emergency subcutaneous fluids, at the request of the vet who had called us for a progress report. So off we go...we'd have done anything to make our boy better. We have his sub-cut fluids done, which involves a small amount of anaesthesia. Afterwards we are somewhat shaken, as we are aware that it is likely that this is the beginning of the end for our beautiful boy. Money at the time was VERY tight for us, and we had kept the vet involved all along with this, arranging contingency plans for payment in the event that we ran out and were unable to pay immediately.

    As we leave Mr Vet tells us to take our boy home and keep him warm... I say "shall I just stop and pay at reception?" Mr Vet says, "No, no, that's all fine, just take your boy home"

    Next time we were in, a couple of days later we were presented with the bill for the procedure he had done that time and the previous sub-cut fluids.....which we hadn't budgeted for as it had been implied all along that it was a "freebie". Phrases like "I'll do that for you"....."we'll just pop some in, don't worry about the money"....

    We paid, of course, without a murmer, because that's the kind of people we are. We walked everywhere for the rest of the week and rationed bread and milk because we were so skint. But it did annoy me. Not that we were asked to pay, but that we were assured it was "ok" not to pay (when we had the money) and yet then given a bill (when we no longer had the money).

    I'm clearly over it now..... :o

    Another issue I have with them is that follow-up appointments have to be paid for, even if they only prod/glance at the animal. The charge for the original consultation (which is not cheap by any standards, or in comparison to their competitors) should (imo) include a follow-up prod. And the cheery way they assure you that "it will be just £22.50 for that one"....."just"???? :eek:

    ps...we now have a system in place which means that our pets will always have their vet bills paid immediately and we get time to budget too. Our poorly ferret had been the first major pet illness for us and we just weren't prepared.

    pps...sadly our little man didn't make it. Mr Vet was as baffled as we were. Mr Vet offered, and carried out, a post mortem totally for free to try to work out what had gone wrong, but nothing really showed up.
  • gettingreadygettingready Forumite
    11.3K Posts
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    Sorry do not quite understand how can anyone be surprised to be expected to pay for follow ups as I have always paid for those with all my pets...

    Am I missing something?
  • PixieDustPixieDust Forumite
    944 Posts
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    Well...for example....take a castration or spay. They quote you a price, you bring in the animal and cough up.

    Surely the price of the follow-up should be included in the price of the procedure? Wouldn't that be a much more transparent way of pricing it, and also encourage all owners to come back and actually have the follow up?

    I reckon that them saying "this will cost £100, that includes follow ups" is much more transparent than "we only charge £80 for this procedure" (which would encourage more people to use them) and failing to mention the £20 for the follow up.

    I do find V4P expensive compared with other vets in the area. Significantly so. £49.00 - odd for 250ml of Frontline compared with £39.00 at a different vet.....that's a significant mark-up on the same product for no reason. Oh, and they wanted me to bring in a perfectly healthy animal - any animal - so that I could be told that it's not licenced for ferrets, and sign the waiver. Umm...I KNOW it's not licenced for ferrets....only one drug IS licenced for ferrets, and that's ferret-specific. I can sign the waiver at reception, I should NOT have to pay £22.50 for the privilege of you seeing a healthy animal so I can sign a flipping waiver!!

    I was v annoyed about that.....

    "fortunately" one of our wee beasties came down with an ear infection so I asked about the Frontline while I was there and got it sorted that way - and signed a lifetime disclaimer so it shouldn't arise again for that drug.
  • How much?! My local vet's charge between £9-12 for a follow up, although the last time one of might was in and out that quick I didn't have to pay anything!
  • Owning a pet can unfortunately be expensive, but that is the responsibility you take on when deciding to become a pet owner, and like everything in life you pay for the quality of service and care you recieve. I know having to pay for follow up visits may be galling, but vets are not charities and the vet is providing a professional service and you should not be surprised at having to pay a reasonable price for their time and expertise, after all you do want the best care for your pet! You can clearly shop around but I am sure the health and welbeing of your pet is your top priority.:)
  • ailethaileth Forumite
    2.8K Posts
    PixieDust wrote: »
    Well...for example....take a castration or spay. They quote you a price, you bring in the animal and cough up.

    Surely the price of the follow-up should be included in the price of the procedure? Wouldn't that be a much more transparent way of pricing it, and also encourage all owners to come back and actually have the follow up?

    I reckon that them saying "this will cost £100, that includes follow ups" is much more transparent than "we only charge £80 for this procedure" (which would encourage more people to use them) and failing to mention the £20 for the follow up.

    My pup's castration included a free follow-up (which included stitch removal), but they refused to provide any painkillers so I had to cough up for that.
  • moomin5moomin5 Forumite
    404 Posts
    PixieDust wrote: »
    Surely the price of the follow-up should be included in the price of the procedure? Wouldn't that be a much more transparent way of pricing it, and also encourage all owners to come back and actually have the follow up?

    That is how our vets does it, when our dog had a dental the follow up was included in the price. With ongoing illness then i think you get a slightly cheaper consult rate for follow ups, i would expect to pay for the check up even if brief.
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