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Leasing a pet like you would a car or your furniture may seem like an unusual concept, but pet leasing options are being offered across the country, including New England.

Here’s how it works: A customer goes to a pet store to buy a new pet. The price of a new puppy can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars so some stores offer financing. The consumer signs some paperwork and might pay a few fees upfront. Sounds like a normal transaction, right? It’s not! In essence, they are renting their pet, promising to make monthly payments for a pre-set length of time and if they miss a payment, they can face substantial late fees or even repossession of their pet. And, as with many leased items, customers often pay significantly more than if they just bought it outright.

Some local pet stores are offering leasing options. So consumers utilizing this approach should be sure to read the terms and conditions within their contract fully before signing it. Among several other details, it’s important to know:

  • Total monthly payments amount, including interest
  • Length of contract
  • What happens if a payment is missed

Both financial experts and animal cruelty representatives have advised against leasing pets, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. While puppies are hard to resist, experts suggest consumers consider the financial obligation of owning a pet.  Consumers should try putting monthly payments aside until enough money is saved to purchase the dog outright. Additionally, consumers can adopt a dog from a reputable rescue organization. Most adoptions require a nominal fee.

For more information on buying a pet in Massachusetts, visit the Department of Agricultural Resources website.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

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