Sitter has to pay veterinary expenses up front!

I have only just noticed this clause in the terms and conditions- has any sitter had this situation, where they had to pay veterinary expenses upfront ?

5.3. The following applies only to Sitters. You will:

5.3.5. pay any veterinary expenses up front and request the Pet Parent to reimburse you for all costs incurred;

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Especially the “any” !!!

That could turn out to be absurd amounts of money.

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We queried this with support a while back and had no response @Silversitters - seems outrageous. Imagine if you’re in somewhere like Switzerland (where we sit a lot!) it would be crippling :flushed::flushed:

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I always check they have an arrangement with the vet that treatment can be put on an account for the owner. Some ads say they do or it says so in the manual. I was once asked to look after a cat that was old and had been really poorly. I was told I would need to put any treatment on my credit card, I declined. Besides the cost I was worried it might die while they were away. I wouldn’t want to leave my very sick pet for another person to have to take the responsibility for.

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Agreed , if the costs were more than our credit card limit would that mean we as sitters had “broken” the T&Cs ?

It would seem more reasonable if there was a clause that the Pet Parent Must have an account set up with a vet to cover any expenses for pets medical treatment during the sit .

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I find this incredibly unfair and unreasonable.

A responsible owner should have a method to pay the vet over the telephone or on an account for their own pet.

We are already in a foreign country, with foreign bank cards with owners that have different currencies. The amounts on bills could be absurd.

I don’t want to be chasing people for money when I’ve already done them the favour of taking care of everything for them

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@Silversitters I agree re-a Vet account.
Personally I would not consider a sit where we were expected to pay Vet bills upfront. Its completely unnecessary in this day and age. There are always other options. The HO could set up an account with the Vet, leave emergancy cash with the sitter, pay the Vet directly through online banking etc.
The only time we paid anything at all upfront was extra dog food on a long sit when we ran out. The HO reimbursed us immediately via online banking.

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never noticed, and that’s completely insane! Way to bankrupt someone in a heartbeat. What if the pet parent isn’t on the same time zone, doesn’t see a message, and there’s an accident, the sitter needs to make a decision that’ll cost thousands, on the spot?!?

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I don’t understand how any pet owner would be comfortable with the sitter having to pay upfront. When I travel, I leave a credit card on file with my vet and let the sitter know that there is financial cover in place for any emergency. It provides peace of mind to both of us.

As a sitter, I’ve only had to take one animal to the vet, and the owner had an account there so I wasn’t out of pocket. It shouldn’t be any other way. The sitter should never have to incur a vet bill.

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I’d love to hear from moderators on that topic

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We were faced with it @Silversitters. Both on the same sit, one for a nasty rash under the dogs chin (which we treated with medicated shampoo and removed their filthy collar) & second a foot boil (which we lanced with a clean needle and then bathed in salt water). Dog was totally fine and vet visits were avoided, just. We’re pretty experienced and not everyone would fancy lancing a boil or scrubbing a nasty rash. There was no vet account and no petty cash even though both issues had been raised by us on arrival. HO thought it was fine if she just paid us back. Ts & Cs definitely don’t help sitters in this case :flushed: Seems like utter madness that way around. Pets belong to the HOs not the sitters!

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It is not reasonable that a sitter who has traveled to a sit at their own expense should have the burden of paying for any veterinary expenses up front. The pet parent should always be responsible for all of their pets expenses.

@Cuttlefish it’s quite shocking to hear that you have previously raised this with member support but not received a reply . This has the potential to be a very serious issue for a sitter and should not be ignored / dismissed without a response.

This clause puts the sitter in a financial vulnerable position.
What if if the sitter does not have the funds to pay for these expenses?
The pet parent refuses to or cannot afford to reimburse the sitter?
Or PP delays in reimbursing the sitter?

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That clause needs to be changed. During a recent sit the vet bill exceeded $7000 :flushed:
The pet parents were unreachable for a few days and we were put in a really difficult situation as we kept getting daily phone calls from the hospital’s billing department. Luckily after a few more days finally the hospital was able to reach the PPs and they took care of the bill.

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@BunnyCat your experience shows how unreasonable / unfair this clause is on sitters .

I’m am very glad that it worked out for you in the end but it sounds like a very stressful situation to find yourself in ; as if caring for a sick pet isn’t stressful enough on its own :flushed:.

I think the onus should be on the PP to have an arrangement in place to provide funds that cover any necessary treatment before the sit goes ahead .

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Nice catch @Silversitters That is so unfair to sitters :grimacing:
I was once put on the spot and I had to pay $40 for a cat medication. Trying to get reimbursed by HO was turned to be such a hassle. Venmo, Zelle and PayPal are not as commonly used in the UK, as in the US so I waited and waited. I sent a few reminders and each reminder was getting more and more awkward. Finally we agreed for the homeowner to order me a carry out from a local restaurant. I think the the dinner cost was less the $40, but at least I got something. Lesson learned - always make sure who covers any unexpected vet bills, ideally their local vet has the HO’s billing information.

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Another good point @123ForumUser . Even if the HO is willing to reimburse the sitter promptly, from your experience it’s not always straightforward when dealing with different currencies/ bank accounts in different countries!!

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I also cannot see how this would work if the PP Mr A has insurance to cover the costs of their pets treatment but the invoice for the treatment has been paid by the sitter Mrs B … won’t the insurance decline the claim since it’s not MR A who paid the bill ?

That has always been my experience of how insurance claims work …

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@Silversitters I know you are not the OP but you make many valid points…
To avoid any potential financial stress on-sit I would suggest- for future sits- DO NOT confirm a sit where it has not been made absolutely clear upfront that the hosts have a payment system or insurance in place for any Vetenary emergancies.
The points you raised earlier about the sitter being financially vulnerable has led me to the conclusion this will become one of my standard questions pre- sit confirmation.
No way do I want the stress of being out of pocket for a medical situation out of my control concening other peoples pets!

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Thank you for posting @Silversitters and to everyone in the conversation we can understand your concerns.

We have added the other relevant points as per the T&C’s covering Veterinary costs …

5.2. The following applies only to Pet Parents . You will:

5.2.2. ensure you have adequate provisions in place for veterinary care of your pet (such as pet insurance); and you hereby authorise the Sitter to obtain veterinary care for your pet(s) during a Sit if you cannot be reached;

5.2.3. remain responsible at all times for any veterinary treatment that your pet(s) may require, including all costs and expenses incurred by the Sitter in relation to the same; and you will reimburse the Sitter for any such costs within 14 days of completion of a Sit;

5.3. The following applies only to Sitters. You will:

5.3.3. contact the Pet Parent if the pet(s) requires veterinary care;

5.3.4. get approval to take the pet(s) to the vet for treatment and get the Pet Parent’s agreement to pay for any costs incurred. If you can’t reach the Pet Parent and the pet’s health is at risk, you will contact the vet specified in the Welcome Guide and or use the Vet Advice Helpline provided and seek treatment ASAP;

5.3.5. pay any veterinary expenses up front and request the Pet Parent to reimburse you for all costs incurred;

We will pass this on to the Membership Services Team for further clarification …

Thank you

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I still have problems with “any”.

I would find it reasonable to pay for a consultation by the vet, but not for any treatment.

What if the pet has a serious accident in traffic? It is difficult for the sitter to take any irreversible decision in such a case, so that would mean urgent and complex operations. And then when the owners can be reached they say that “no, you should have ended his suffering, we are not prepared to pay all this.”

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