ORLANDO, Fla. — Two consumers turned to Action 9, claiming they spent thousands of dollars on sick puppies from the same Orlando-area pet store.
They say the store refused to give them refunds as Florida's pet law requires.
It's a pet store we've investigated before.
Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich took their cases to corporate managers for answers and results.
Christian Hayes and his partner bought two golden retriever puppies from Petland in Waterford Lakes.
They paid $6,400 for both dogs. Six weeks later, Hayes said he faced an awful choice.
"Oh, we're thinking this has to be something else. Something major," Hayes said.
Hayes said both puppies suffered seizures. He contacted Petland, and managers referred him to its preferred veterinarian.
According to medical charts, both dogs had congenital seizures that require anti-seizure medication for life.
That's when Hayes returned both dogs to Petland.
"It just became harder. We didn't want to take them back, but we felt we had no choice," Hayes said.
Florida's pet law allows consumers to return dogs with genetic defects for refunds, but Hayes says the store only offered 25% back, so he lost thousands.
Then, there's a miniature dachshund puppy that was bought at that same Petland.
"And it was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my life," Lauren Burkhart said.
Burkhart says 10 days after she bought buying the dog, animal emergency clinic vets said it was so sick it had to be euthanized.
The puppy cost $3,000 and the vet bills totaled $3,000 more but Burkhart claims despite Florida's pet law, the store refused to cover the medical expenses.
"They came back and said they wouldn't pay a single penny because we weren't at one of their contracted vets," Burkhart said.
Ulrich contacted Petland's corporate office. The company said it had Hayes' dogs reexamined by two vets who claimed test results showed the puppies were healthy and Petland blamed the owners for poor animal care.
But for Burkhart, the company will now refund her the cost of vet care up to the cost of her dog. That comes out to about $3,000.
"Despite her being ill, she was such a sweet dog," Burkhart said.
Despite the refund, Burkhart is still out more than $3,000.
Petland in Waterford Lakes is rated D-plus at the Better Business Bureau with 19 complaints, many of which involve sick puppies and refund disputes.
Both customers sent complaints to Florida's Division of Consumer Services.
Petland sent the following response:
© 2020 Cox Media Group