What are a consumer’s rights if they bought a sick puppy from a pet store?

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2010

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What are a consumer’s rights if they bought a sick puppy from a pet store?

We bought a puppy from a store. Within a week, she was at hospital with pneumonia; it cost us over $3,000 on vet bills over the next 8 weeks. We got her on 7/10. She was at the vet on 7/14 for a check up and they said she had a respiratory problem. We took her back on 7/18 to stay for 3 days, and again a week later for another 2 day stay. Plus, there were numerous X-rays taken over the next 2 months. The store papers said that they will reimburse us up to the price of the pet, which was $1,500. As of yet, the store has not reimbursed us anything. They told my husband that he received the funds from the the “parent” store, but had to pay other bills and was going to pay us installments but nothing yet. What can we do?

Asked on October 28, 2010 under General Practice, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If when you purchased the puppy there was some reimbursement clause or guaranty in the agreement of sale, as you seem to indicate, then agreement can be enforced. It would be a contract, and you can enforce whatever it says, exactly as it says. Where it gets problematic is that if they do not voluntarily pay, to enforce the contract, you'd have to sue; there is no other mechanism to enforce it. Fortunately, it should be an amount small enough to enable you to file a claim in small claims court, which is much less expensive (for one thing, you don't need an attorney, though you can get one if  you like) and much less  complex and formal than district or municipal court. Therefore, suing in small claims court may be a way to enforce  this and get your money, if you can't work something out.

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