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Rebecca's complaint against Companion Care
Insufficient and inconsistent advice around pet insurance claims process
Complaint against Companion Care
A stray kitten, I had registered with Companion Care for vaccinations, before being taken in by my brother's family, had an allergic reaction to the jabs and was taken back for treatment last July. I had no knowledge of the treatment, the costs, what was covered etc. as I was not there, nor obviously was I the one to sign any pre-treatment disclaimers - however, because the kitten was registered to me, and because the claims process was not followed, six months later, in Dec last year, I get a call demanding the money, quickly followed up by a letter threatening me with debt collection. After explaining the situation several times, a number of visits to the practice by myself and my brother, in an attempt to clarify the matter, I tried to seek resolution through the company's head office but they simply pass the complaint back to the practice. Finally, in January, at the practice manager's advice, I completed and submitted the required claim form but by then more than 60 days had passed and so the claim will not be upheld, leaving the £280 account unsettled. I believe that, due to the 6 month time lapse between treatment and whatever advice was or wasn't given at the time, a claim at that stage was futile, that the practice manager very probably knew that and she just wanted the paperwork to enable her hold me liable for the unpaid account. My argument is, had the correct information been given at the time of treatment - including the fact that the person presenting the kitten was not the person it was registered to, according to their records at the time, the account would have been settled perfectly amicably in good time, most importantly, whilst the insurance was still active. For this reason, I believe they have no right to hold me personally responsible for an overdue account I had no knowledge of, for veterinary treatment which they have no signed agreement from me to undertake. Additionally, they shouldn't hold my brother responsible all this while later, since he should have been fully advised of the insurance limits, claims process and time-frames in advance of the treatment - that being the case, he'd have made sure I was fully aware. Insurance was absolutely discussed since the practice took the policy excess as part payment at the time. The insurance was included in the registration "kitten pack" purchased from the practice - it was not purchased separately and so I believe the practice does have a responsibility to customers in this respect. I have since registered my own two cats (the mother, also a stray, and another of her kittens), with another local practice, will never use Companion Care again and would certainly not recommend this practice to anyone.
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