Pet assurance warranty service statementPosted: Updated:
Thank you for taking your time to investigate all sides of this issue. From our conversation yesterday, here is an email containing the dates and events regarding the processing of Jana Sirotnik's claim to Pet Assurance Warranty Service.
The dog was purchased from Animal Kingdom in Phoenix, on 2/12/09 by Jana Sirotnik. We received a claim for this dog on 10/05/09. This claim consisted of a letter from Dr. Jim Prater of Arrow Animal Hospital, and some invoices from 3 different clinics. The earliest dated invoice was for services performed on 2/13/09 at North Central Animal Hospital. This invoice was for the initial wellness exam, which all of the consumers on our program are required to have done within a few days of purchase. There does not appear to be any diagnosis given at this time. The next invoice after the initial one is dated 5/20/09 at Animal Medical and Surgical Center.
There does not appear to have a diagnosis given during this visit either. The rest of the invoices are for Arrow Animal Hospital, beginning on 6/25/09 through 10/1/09. The letter that we received from Dr. Prater, stated "At this time we feel Stella may have Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is congenital." This letter is not dated, but we would have to assume that it was written some time after 6/25/09. To be thorough, we did send this claim to our veterinarian, for review. We received a letter back from our veterinarian stating, "IBD is not congenital & there is no evidence it is hereditary either. An intestinal biopsy or abdominal ultrasound must be performed to diagnose IBD. Neither of these procedures have been done so the diagnosis is still open." We contacted Jana by phone on 12/15/09 and let her know what our findings were. We also sent her a letter stating that this claim was not attributable to the retailer.
This claim is not covered under the warranty or AZ Puppy Lemon Law for the following reasons:
#1 No actual diagnosis has ever been determined, through proper diagnostics.
#2 Even if it was properly diagnosed with IBD, there just is no proof that IBD is a hereditary or congenital condition.
#3 Had it been a congenital or hereditary condition it was not diagnosed within 60 days of the date of purchase, which is a requirement of the AZ Puppy Lemon Law.
At this point we had concluded our processing of this claim. On 1/27/10 we received an email forwarded by our client from Jana. The context of this email was that Jana did not feel that the her claim was resolved. We contacted Jana again on that date and talked to her for quite some time. During this call when we went over reasons why this claim was denied. She stated that she was aware that the doctor would need to do more to diagnose this condition. During this conversation, Jana informed us that she has an interview with "3 On Your Side" on Friday." We suggested that she call a few vets on her own and ask their opinion on whether IBD is really a hereditary condition.
We also contacted Dr Jim Prater. We told him that the issues that Pet Assurance Warranty Service has with this claim is that #1 According to our veterinarian, the proper procedures to diagnose this illness were not performed. and #2 IBD is not considered to be congenital nor hereditary. His answer to #1 was that Jana would have had to pay for the procedure to be done. His answer to #2 is a fax from a page of "Current Vet Therapy XIV" Chapter 115, Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He underlined a passage that says, "Genetic factors are thought to play a part in disease expression,", while another portion of the page describes how a veterinarian must perform many detailed investigations in order to diagnose it and also to rule out other potential causes.
The bottom line is, If Pet Assurance Warranty Service had sent reimbursement to this consumer, then we would be going outside of our clients warranty and the AZ Puppy Lemon Law. Once that is done, our client could be exposed to a costly law suit where a judge could order them to pay even more than what the Lemon Law would have required.
Pet Assurance Warranty Service is here to make sure that pet owners do receive fair reimbursement when their claim falls within their warranty guidelines. We routinely send out reimbursement on behalf of our clients. We are also here to protect our clients from paying out on frivolous and unwarranted claims. Warranties and Puppy Lemon Laws are designed to give consumers some recourse but to also put a boundary on what that recourse is. They also define what the consumer's responsibilities are. We feel that there needs to be a raised awareness among this industry's consumers that they may be faced with financial obligations themselves as pet owners.