Woman says pet warranty is useless

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PHOENIX -- A Phoenix woman says a warranty company that is supposed to pay for her vet bills is not paying up so she contacted 3 On Your Side.

Warranties are supposed to give consumers a little peace of mind and that's why Jana Sirotnik says she paid so much for her Great Dane. The animal came with a warranty. But she says the warranty has been useless.

Stella is just about a year old and not only is she still learning, but she's also still growing.

"Danes, in my opinion, they are gentle giants, they're big babies" Sirotnik said.

Sirotnik bought Stella last year from a pet store and paid around $1,400. Part of the purchase price came with a warranty from a company called Pet Assurance Warranty Service or PAWS for short.

"It gave me peace of mind because it made me feel like I was covered, God forbid, something were to happen to her," she said.

Sirotnik says the warranty was supposed to cover certain vet bills that occurred after getting her home, bills that were related to hereditary problems.

Sirotnik thought that was a good thing because the first day she had Stella she noticed her dog had a bathroom problem.

"From the day that I brought her home, she had loose stools," Sirotnik said.

Sirotnik says she's taken Stella to the vet just about every month for nearly a year to treat the dog and, as a result, she's racked up quite a bill.

"As of today, I am up to $1,217 in vet bills," she said.

Sirotnik saved her vet receipts for almost eight months and then submitted them to PAWS for reimbursement, but the company denied the claim, saying Stella's bathroom problem was not congenital or hereditary so it wasn't covered.

Sirotnik's vet even submitted a letter saying the dog's illness is believed to be congenital, but PAWS disagreed and denied it.

"I think it's wrong, I think what they are doing is wrong, I think how they are handling this is wrong and that's why I called you guys," Sirotnik said.

In an e-mail to 3 On Your Side, PAWS says they denied the claim because there is no proof that Stella's condition is a hereditary or congenital condition. They also denied it because Sirotnik did not submit paperwork within 60 days of the date of purchase, which is in the warranty contract.

Sirotnik says she's disappointed.

"There is always some stipulation or fine line that you don't know about to get them off the hook," she said.

As for now, Stella is still trying different food and diets to help with her problem.