Call Kurtis: How Well Do Pet Amber Alert Services Work?
MODESTO (CBS13) — The Verver family hired a pet amber alert company to get the word out about their lost dog.
When the company wouldn’t stop billing them, they called Kurtis.
There are a lot of companies advertising pet amber alert services online, usually offering to robocall everyone in your neighborhood with a recording that describes your lost pet.
It didn’t find Soquel Verver miniature pinscher Twiggy, however. And she found her family was still paying for it seven months later.
Twiggy ran off from home in April.
“She was like a partner in crime to me,” Verver told Call Kurtis.
Her mom Pamela Gibson was equally upset, she said.
We were devastated,” Gibson said.
After posting flyers, Verver and her mom found PetAmberAlert.com. For $89.95, it would call “every house in the neighborhood” with a “recorded message about your pet.”
“This is a lost pet amber alert,” the sample recording on the company’s website begins. “There is a missing dog in your area.”
The family paid extra for weekly posts on Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist, and for the company to contact area animal shelters and vet hospitals.
The family initially got some calls, but after a month when Twiggy wasn’t returned said they canceled the service.
Six months later? Their PayPal statement showing after canceling they were charged monthly, totaling $500.
“I was shocked,” Gibson said.
The BBB claims others have complained about that too, leading to PetAmberAlert.com’s F-rating.
The New York-based company brags of an 85-percent success rate if their alert goes out within a week.
But the Sacramento SPCA thinks the advertised success rate seems high, and said its not aware of a single pet found after one of these services contacted its shelter on behalf of a devastated family.
“They’re a good add-on service to the work you need to be doing yourself,” spokeswoman Tracie Popma said.
When we called PetAmberAlert.com about this family’s extra charges, they blamed a cancelation issue on “an intern” and “a glitch with the old website.”
The company eventually refunded the family the amount overcharged.
It solves the family’s consumer problem, but what happened to Twiggy remains a mystery.
“I would not recommend them,” Gibson said.
The company did not respond to us when we questioned their success rate.
The company claims communication issues with the BBB explain its F rating.