The concept of leasing a car is fairly well understood, but one family from Phoenix, Arizona was shocked when they found out the dog they “bought” at an area pet store was in fact leased and could be repossessed by the company at any time.
As reported by WSB-TV, William and Brianna Kauble brought their children to a shopping mall in Phoenix, allowing their children to look at the dogs available from the local pet store, including a 3-year-old Golden Retriever named Guinness.
Even though purchasing a dog wasn’t part of the day’s plan, William decided to buy Guinness as a surprise for his children. The store presented him with a contract, which William thought allowed him to purchase Guinness for $1,800 on credit.
It wasn’t until William got home that he realized he had actually leased the dog.
“I was like dude, this is not a car, motorcycle or house, it’s a dog. I said no way this can be legal; it’s a living thing. It’s a dog,” said William regarding the lease arrangement.
The lease, provided through Wags Financial of Nevada, is actually legal. It outlined the terms, requiring 29 monthly payments of $141. Lessees can return the dog at the end of the lease or complete the purchase. The total cost the Kauble family will pay for Guinness is $4,200.
While William and Brianna Kauble admit the paperwork clearly says the agreement is a lease, they stated that they were distracted, since they were focused on playing with their new dog, and did not read the forms fully until later.
Brianna said Guinness was an “impulse buy,” continuing, “You’re excited, not going to read it,” when discussing the paperwork associated with the purchase.
When they read the fine print, the Kaubles discovered that, just like a car, the dog could be repossessed if the terms are not met. This includes missing payments as well as not meeting Wags Financial of Nevada’s standard of care, which includes nutritional needs, exercise, bathing, and grooming.
The Kauble family feels nature of the sale was deceptive as they salesperson never mentioned that the purchase was actually a lease.
“Nothing is divulged to you,” said Brianna. “It’s you got accepted. You have this credit and can take her home.”
William and Brianna were also surprised to discover the arrangement impacted their credit, creating a $5,000 liability that put their plans to purchase a home in jeopardy.
“If I had known that I would have been like, ‘Hold it for a couple days,’ and paid cash,” said William regarding the liability.
After the Kaubles had spoken with their local television station, Wags Financial allowed them to pay $1,800 in cash for Guinness and released them from their lease obligation.
Wags Financial also creates leases for numerous other items including custom auto rims, wedding dresses, and hearing aids.
Clark Howard, a consumer advisor with WSB-TV, warns about the dangers of leases, saying, “With leasing people really aren’t truly aware of what they are paying. That is why leasing is such an incredibly popular business.”