Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Long...Help...Owner wants reimbursement for vet bill...

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Long...Help...Owner wants reimbursement for vet bill...

    This owner is pretty nice. We've been grooming her Lhasa for 3 years and we've never had any problems. The haircuts started out a 0 comb length, with the owner requesting a shorter and shorter haircut so we went to a 5F then for the last year we've been using a 7F. In January the dog came in and got the usual haircut. She called a few days later and said that the dog was irritated in the sanitary area. Told her that it might be clipper burn. We use the Bravura on the 10 setting for sanitary trims and we always disinfect and clean the blades. The blades are never hot since we only use them for at most 1 minute at a time. It might have occurred because the dog's skin might have been more sensitive since it had been freezing cold recently. Anyway, she said that the dog was licking at the area. I advised her to construct a cone to keep him from getting to the area. Advised her to apply aloe to the area and to keep me informed.

    She called a week later saying that she brought the dog to the vet. So she called and ultimately she wants me to pay for the vet bill. She took the dog in as an emergency which made the vet bill even higher. It was $190. I asked her for the vet info and told her I would speak with the vet first and then call her back.

    I spoke with the vet and she agreed that clipper burns can be fluke things. You can groom a dog 100 times and nothing happens and on the 101st time, they get sensitive. She also said it's not something that can be prevented 100%. She said that it looked like the dog had been going at the area for a while so that was why the injuries were worse. I don't think the owner followed my advice about keeping the dog from licking the area. The vet put a cone on the dog and prescribed some ointment. The vet said she didn't think it was our fault nor was it something that we could have prevented because there are so many factors. In all likelihood, clipper burns usually heal within a few days. They usually only become a problem if the dog starts doing things that cause additional irritation, like licking, biting and scratching. Other factors, was there carpeting at home that the dog was laying on that made the irritation worse? The dog wasn't neutered, so was the dog humping and that caused additional irritation around that area?

    I called the owner and told her what the vet said. I didn't want to lose her as a customer so I offered her a grooming credit of $80. I also told her that we would put it in the pet's notes that we should never take the dog shorter than a 5F. She refused it and was adamant about having the whole bill being paid. She also blamed us for not ever telling her that her dog was being shaved and that this was probably why the dog was sensitive. This just boggles me because she kept asking for a shorter and shorter haircut until the dog had been getting the 7F haircut for a year. It's not unusual for owners to ask for a short haircut with a 7F so how are we supposed to know that we should warn her about it? If she had asked for a 40, 30 or even 10 blade I might have cautioned her against going so short but in our shop, a 7F isn't considered dangerously short.

    Prior to calling her, I pondered very long about whether I could or should reimburse her for the vet bill. But I just feel like I can't since we didn't do anything out of the ordinary and we weren't negligent. She said that she would go to small claims court to get her money. I told her I was sorry that she felt she had to do that and that I wish she would reconsider our offer. And that was how it ended.

    What are you thoughts on this situation?
    Last edited by jlee0101; 01-26-10, 04:01 PM.

  • #2
    I hate to say it, but it was the bravura that caused the issue. I love these clippers for faces, ears and feet, but use in the groin or rear is asking for trouble. I actually banned all of my groomers from using it in the groin, because it did not matter what the groomers level of skill was, the bumps on the blade always caused some sort of issues. I would pay the bill apologize and not use the wahl blade for the groin again. I hate to lay it out so bluntly, and believe me it has nothing to do with your skill, in fact 101 times with an adjustable blade in the grion speaks well of skill. The bravura blade, in elastic skin is the issue. Most of the time when we saw issues with these it wasn’t really clipper burn it was more like 10 or more little tiny nicks, which is why the client is probably acting weird. So sorry this happened to you, believe me-it has happened to many-there should be a warning on these

    Comment


    • #3
      I think you handled the situation in a fair and reasonable way.

      She may be blowing smoke about taking you to small claims court, I wouldn't be worried about it. While it's still fresh in the vet's mind, I would get a follow up letter outlining the treatment for the pet. Explain to the vet and ask nicely.

      Comment


      • #4
        First of all, I don't think this is a very nice person. Why is she so mad at you after having you do a 7F for such a long time? It kinda sounds like she's lost her mind! I wonder if she misunderstood the vet. I normally will do whatever I feel the right thing is, and it really seems like this client is trying to get whatever she can out of you. A scratching dog is not an emergency! I think I'd offer to pay half the vet bill as a sign of good will, but if she really wanted to go to small claims court...off to court we'd go! I don't like someone threatening me like that.

        Comment


        • #5
          If it were me, I would pay the vet bill and tell the lady I would no longer groom her dog. This lady is not being reasonable about accepting a grooming credit, so I wouldn't want her as a customer anymore. I feel like telling her you will no longer groom the dog will really hit home with her, and may make her reconsider her actions.

          Comment


          • #6
            At this point, you have lost a client. Now you can let this drag on to the point of actually going to court OR you can pay the whole bill and let this client know that you are in no way at fault and you talked with the vet as well. Also let her know that she is never to come back to your salon again. Either way, she is going to bad mouth you so its a no win situation.

            Comment


            • #7
              The only thing I would have done differently is have the client bring the dog back immediatly, check the area myself, wash and apply ointment (I just use Desitin) and place the cone on the dog's head so that I KNOW it's been done. I keep a few spares in assorted sizes. This has helped me dodge a bullet more than once even when I don't think it was caused by grooming. Owner's happy, dog's happy, my blood pressure's happy.
              I would not have paid that bill either, and a judge will usually tell her that she should have made an effort to mitigate her damages by addressing the problem immediately. JMO
              "The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind"-Theodorus Gaza

              Comment


              • #8
                Well

                The deductable on insurance is usually $500. so that won't help. It sounds to me like you are NOT at fault. You probably lost hewr no matter if you did pay the vet bill. I would stick to my offer of the $80 groom value and leave it that way. Put it back in her court. ( No pun intended) Let it go to small claims if it comes to that. You might just win. Some of us here could write a note if it is admissible in court stating that a 7F is not a blade that is likely to cause irritation. A #10 sani can but she also didn't follow your advice. Don't hand over any money until you have to. I bet most if not all here will agree.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by scullysmom View Post
                  I hate to say it, but it was the bravura that caused the issue. I love these clippers for faces, ears and feet, but use in the groin or rear is asking for trouble. I actually banned all of my groomers from using it in the groin, because it did not matter what the groomers level of skill was, the bumps on the blade always caused some sort of issues. I would pay the bill apologize and not use the wahl blade for the groin again. I hate to lay it out so bluntly, and believe me it has nothing to do with your skill, in fact 101 times with an adjustable blade in the grion speaks well of skill. The bravura blade, in elastic skin is the issue. Most of the time when we saw issues with these it wasn’t really clipper burn it was more like 10 or more little tiny nicks, which is why the client is probably acting weird. So sorry this happened to you, believe me-it has happened to many-there should be a warning on these
                  I use my Bravura on every dog---EVERY---dog for the sanitary and have not had one complain. I also use it on my own dogs, and haven't had an issue with sani's. I do, however, have issues using it for poodle feet, I always knick them.

                  When I do sani's, I skim, I don't touch the skin at all if possible.

                  Tammy in Utah
                  Groomers Helper Affiliate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What FastEllie said---to the "T". You handled yourself with excellent composure, you were professional, and you didn't "freak out" over a minor issue such as clipper rash.

                    You offered to pay for HALF, which is generous considering she is partially to blame.

                    I also think you've already lost the customer, why pay her more?

                    PLEASE get the information from the vet, while it is fresh in her mind, as someone else said. It is ridiculous for a "good" client to try to sock it to you over that.

                    We have another groomer here that groomed a regular of mine. The other groomer clipper burned the dog, very lightly, nothing serious. We work at an animal hospital so the treatment was free. What does the lady do? She insists on putting HOT wash cloths on the dog's hiney!!! I told her NO! Only use cool cloths, or better yet, leave it alone!

                    She INSISTED that you are supposed to put HOT cloths on all burns of all kinds. Oh my gosh I could NOT get it through her head. She ended up just dropping it altogether, and then she stopped coming not long after that over some vaccine issue.

                    Some people are not happy unless they are 'right.' I am sorry you're dealing with this.

                    Tammy in Utah
                    Groomers Helper Affiliate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If I was in that situation, I'd just let the offer stand, and not bow down to her to get what she wants. If she goes to small claims, then she goes to small claims, but I've had people tell me they're going to small claims and then decide it's not worth the effort. Get a note from the vet saying it wasn't your fault regardless of your decision, because she can potentially go to small claims even if you paid the bill in full.

                      I also don't think she's looking at this rationally. Maybe in a week or so she will, but the changes in shaving probably won't make a lick of difference to her thought process.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Whew, several points

                        #1 - Almost every dog has the sanitary area shaved in every salon by every groomer. It is standard procedure, and this owner going wacko about "you should have told her you are shaving the dog" is WAAAAYY out of line. So any talk about a 7F not causing irritation is beside the point, since it is not what was used on the sanitary area that became irritated.

                        #2 - The woman called to find out what was going on, but allowed the situation to get worse before finally ending up going to the vet on a day that would require an emergency fee. Her fault, not yours. If she had ended up going at a regular time, the bill would have probably been less than half of what she incurred.

                        #3 - Yes, see if you can get a letter from the vet stating what was told to you on the phone.

                        #4 - Never, ever say "clipper burn" again. Call it "clipper rash" or "clipper irritation". People always freak when they hear "burn".

                        I would not pay the bill. You have made a more than fair offer that would save her almost half of what she has paid out, which she is being very cantankerous and unreasonable about. So this owner is showing you that she is reasonable and pleased as long as everything goes perfectly well, but she reacts unreasonably and belligerently and nastily when there is a problem. She has blown this out of proportion AND threatened you with court!! Goodbye, wacko! Get the letter from the vet and tell the woman that if she feels the need to take you to court, she can go ahead, but she may have court costs and still not be paid anything, so she should consider that possibility. Apparently she did not really hear what her vet explained to her...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I very much agree w/ Five, and as unfortunate as it may be...also agree that good chance you may have lost this client.

                          If it were my client, and I felt they were approachable...I would draw the line at the good-will offer of $80.00...cash or a grooming credit if she chose to come back.

                          She is completely responsible for exacerbating the situation by waiting a week before she got the dog to the vet and I think the offer of $80.00 towards the vet bill is more than adequate for any share of responsibility on your part.

                          And it's a free country...so she is certainly entitled to take you to Small Claims if it means that much to her....just as you are entitled to counter-sue for loss of wages from having to sit in a courtroom all morning waiting for the case to be heard.
                          It is unlikely she will prevail, especially if the vet repeats what they said to you.
                          It's hard when the owners are so completely convinced that they are right, you are wrong, and they refuse to accept one iota of responsibility. ...but that's what the courts are all about determining. Good luck w/ the situation.
                          Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree that it sounds as though you handled yourself in a professional manner.

                            The only no-no to me would have been advising her how to treat it at home. You assessed the situation and recommended treatment without seeing the pet, and you are not a licensed veterinarian. I think it is always best to tell the owner that they should call their vet. They do not have to make an appt, but the ball is back in their court and if they don't go to the vet as recommended by their vet, it is their fault. It costs them nothing to CALL and ask. If she had gone immediately to be proactive, they would have given her an e-collar and something topical to use with PROBABLY a much lower bill. Around here (and we are a pricey area), I would imagine a vet visit $50, E-Collar $10 and meds $20 ish...I would have been happy to pay for half of that and keep the client.

                            Even though the dog has been groomed the same way over and over, they are raising a stink because they had to pay $190 to fix something caused by grooming, even if it wasn't a problem until AFTER the dog started licking, the initial irritation most likely was caused by grooming. It probably isn't anything personal, it's the $190.
                            Last edited by PAWS; 01-26-10, 10:02 PM. Reason: reworded to make more sense

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Pay the vet bill- if this were a first time client I would say different but the lady has used your services for 3 years without a problem. I would give her the benefit of doubt and pay the bill.. it shows good business sense and will give you a better name for yourself. Sometimes we have to bite the bullet!!!!
                              Tip I got from school – after clipping face or sanitary area close take a little witch hazel on your hands and rub over the area that you just clipped. It cools the area and will prevent irritation that will cause the dog to lick and chew at it.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X