The Hazards of Pet Leasing
When it comes to purchasing a car or furniture, leasing is a great option for buyers looking to break out payment in increments.
However, pet parents feel different about the possibility of leasing their pets, especially when they’re unaware that’s what’s happening.
In New Jersey, legislation to ban pet leasing received overwhelming support in both the state Senate and Assembly earlier this summer, and N.J. Govt. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law last month--making N.J. the sixth state to ban this practice.
According to the new law, pet retailers and breeders caught leasing pets to customers would face $10,000 fines for the first offense and $30,000 fines for each offense after that.
When reports first broke that pet customers were getting looped into a leasing contract quickly, without fully understanding of its terms, lawmakers started to crack down on pet leasing.
These contracts listed monthly payments exceeding the previously agreed upon cost, and included that the dog could be repossessed if payment was not delivered. Even if a pet was lost or passed away, customers under a leasing contract would still have to pay.
The practice of pet leasing is a relatively new concept. The ASPCA first alerted pet customers about the dangers of pet leasing in 2017. In the same year, California and Nevada decided to ban the practice, and New York, Indiana and Washington went on to enacted bans as well.
In response to reports of pet leasing back in 2017, the American Kennel Club (AKC) responded in favor of a ban.
“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,” said the AKC in its updated AKC Canine Legislation Position Statement on its Protection for Puppy Purchasers.
Although pet stores and breeders can abuse the power of pet leasing...it’s not illegal in most states. If done ethically, pet parents and pet retailers can work on an agreed upon contract in which both parties are aware of what’s expected.
"Companies have an obligation to make sure, first, that consumers know it's a lease; second, that the terms are very clear upfront," said Lesly Fair, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, to CBS.
Most everyone can agree that leasing a pet is vastly different than leasing a car or a piece of furniture. As one of the greatest pet industry trends, being transparent with customers helps pet retailers gain the trust needed to help a business grow and thrive.
As the saying goes, honesty is always the best policy - especially when it comes to your customers.