MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - You just bought a dog or cat. The price was a pretty penny, so you financed the purchase.
I hate to break it to you and your new buddy, but you may not really own him. You may have been fooled into leasing him.
Lisa Lake, consumer education specialist for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), wrote in her blog post that some pet-sellers who offer financing plans may actually be locking consumers into long term lease-to-own plans. Lake said their costs can end up being twice as much as the pet's price when you add up the fees and interest. Since you're financing, you don't actually own your pet. The store does -- just like your lender technically owns your house while you pay the mortgage.
"When the lease is up, you may have to pay additional costs to actually own it," Lake wrote. That's similar to the end of a car lease, where you might have to pay extra to make a purchase offer or to cover damages or mileage penalties. "If, by some tragedy, the animal gets lost, stolen or killed, you could still be on the hook for the payments. You might not get a refund or might still have to make more payments to get out of the contract. And if you miss a payment, the company has the right to take away your pet."
Just be sure of the plan you're purchasing to get that pet, so you don't put yourself and your family through some heartache. If you should have a situation like this with a pet-seller, consider using the FTC's complaint assistant to file a complaint with the agency.