A Montgomery County Republican wants to end the practice of taking out a loan to pay for a dog or cat.
Rep. Tracy Pennycuick, R-Montgomery, sponsored House Bill 2311 to amend Title 12 of the state’s Commerce and Trade Acts to prohibit the financing of a dog or cat. She said a pet owner in her district had issues with a funded pet purchase.
“Pet stores and online sellers often push financing on those who can’t afford a puppy (many sell for thousands of dollars), leading to financial hardship for borrowers who unknowingly found themselves with extremely high interest rates and hidden fees”, Pennycuick wrote in his legislative memorandum. “A Monroeville pet store customer told the Better Business Bureau that she unknowingly took out financing with a 151% interest rate and would end up paying $6,055.40 for a puppy. of $1,888.31.”
Illinois enacted the Holmes Act (HB 572) in September, with the law taking effect January 1. and offer loans with high interest rates and hidden fees. Customers at an Illinois pet outlet have complained to state lawmakers that interest rates have reached 188%.
“This doesn’t just happen at payday loan shops, they get away with predatory interest rates ranging from 30% to 150% and more,” said Illinois State Senator Linda Holmes, sponsor of the legislation. “Most pet stores have issues with their animals from unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills – some in poor condition – so those consumers can end up with thousands in debt and grief as well.”
Pennycuick said the problem was not just one store in Monroeville. She noted at least 20 pet stores in the state and several online brokers that ship puppies to Pennsylvania customers with financing through third-party lenders. Pennycuick’s legislation does not prevent pet stores selling puppies and online puppy brokers from selling pets, simply offering loans to pay for them. Those who buy expensive dogs or cats might pay for them with credit cards.
“For example, the 20 pet stores that offer financing use Easy Pay Finance, a company with nearly 400 complaints to the Better Business Bureau and a warning from ScamFinance.com that the company does not disclose terms and conditions, a”horrible customer service” and “outrageously high loan rates“(between 129 to 200% on average)”, Pennycuick wrote.