Show Top Comments
If I were in your situation I would:
* Ask your parents once more to pay the vet bill. Tell them it has gone to collections and that it is affecting your credit.
* If that fails, pay the vet bill if you have the $500 available in your savings (to get it off your credit report).
* Contact the vet and ask to close your account so your name is no longer tied to their dog (so they can’t rack up further bills in your name in the future)
* Never trust your parents with money issues in the future, and treat this as an expensive lesson.
* Move out as soon as practicable.
Current debts aside, your parents shouldn’t own a pet they are unable or unwilling to pay for routine vet care for. You can choose if/how to tell them that, but that is the hard truth.
Dogs can be expensive and even when perfectly healthy visits of $250-$600 are not unusual. Just a routine dental cleaning can be $800+. Six months’ heart worm and flea/tick is $125+.
This is by no means ordinary but when one of mine was hit by a car, it was $12,000 over 14 months to get him back to normal. He was hardly in any real risk of death but costs add up.
Shit happens, which is why I keep an emergency fund savings account strictly for my two dogs that is separate of personal and auto emergency fund accounts I have.
Dogs will get sick, have ear infections, cysts, skin infections, swallow things they shouldn’t, step on broken glass, chew on something hard and break a tooth, and get stung by bees. These kinds of things are inevitable and the costs should be planned for and considered par for the course for any responsible dog owner to deal with every 2-3 years on top of preventative care like vaccines, flea/tick, dentals, and annual check ups.
As others have said, plan to move out and distrust your parents in future financial decisions. Put credit freezes with each scoring agency because someone who will stick you with a debt like that may be prone to doing it again if they have easy access to your social. Your parents probably don’t rise to that level of fraud but they have certainly betrayed you here.
You can try to contact the vet. Their options may be limited after it’s gone to collections but some vets will work with people on a case by case basis to at least offer payment plans, though they may have their hands tied by the collection agency.
Ultimately it’s your parents’ responsibility to you, as well as a hard lesson learned about your responsibility for debts in your name. You should’ve received notices/bills prior to this going to collections and should’ve known it was outstanding in your name.
Yes. It will affect your credit score negatively when the collection agency reports it to the 3 credit bureaus.
Also, that negative remark will stay on your credit file for upto 7 years.
You should try talking to the collection agency and see if they’ll settle for a lower amount. I know you don’t have a job or any savings. But, try and get your parents to pay the lower amount (if agreed to by the collection agency.)
I have never done this before, so I don’t know if this works. But, I have seen this being recommended on other similar questions.
All the other answers are worth listening to, especially getting your name off the records at the vet and, if nothing else, seeing if you can make small monthly payments.
Since you are 19 and an adult, you should set up a bank account or, preferably, a credit union account, far removed from your parents. Get a PO Box if you can’t move out. Do this carefully, perhaps using your student address. Don’t tell your parents about either.
Get a job and don’t tell them. Save money. If they find out and it means they don’t pay for your education, that doesn’t mean you have to end school. You can get a lot of financial aid if you are financially independent of your parents.
Your school probably has counselors that can help. Or maybe a trusted professor.
Your parents can’t be trusted. It is difficult to not be honest with them, but, they are not being honest with you.
`full time community college student that doesn’t have any income because my parents don’t want me to have a job so I can “focus on school”`
Maybe but it has the side effect of making you dependent on them and forcing you to put up with their bs such as …
`My dad recently got a puppy without telling anyone about it and kind of dumped all of the responsibility on me to take care of it.`
Nice >.< – You could just say no but since you live at home and have no money, you’re kinda stuck aren’t you? Get a job, keep it secret, set up a bank account at a bank they don’t use and sign up for paperless billing so stuff doesn’t get sent to the house (maybe set up a po box for yourself or have the debit card sent to a trusted friend or relative) .
`Next thing you know they do some lab work on the dog that ends up being around 500 dollars and my parents refused to pay it because they “only wanted to pay for the treatment and didn’t approve of the lab work”`
Sigh. The labwork was likely needed to determine what exactly the infection was so they could administer the proper treatment. They can’t give you a treatment unless they diagnose the problem. That should be obvious, but I’ve seen pet owners like this aplenty to know that they want a dog but none of the responsibility. I’d see if you can rehome it. I hate to suggest it but it’s likely in doggos best interest if they won’t care for it properly and you can’t.
`I don’t have a credit card, so will this affect my credit score?`
You don’t need a credit card to have a score. Everyone has to start somewhere … and it sounds like you might be starting with an account in collections. Yikes. Even once paid off it will stay on for 7 years and can make getting any other credit to build up your profile really hard, especially if that’s all you’ve had.
`Is there a way that I can get out of this situation? What should I do?`
Lots of good advice here but one thing that hasn’t been mentioned is if you signed anything assuming financial responsibility. Your vet may differ but when I got my pets signed up with the vet, there was a form to sign where I stated I acknowledged I would be responsible for treatment. This was separate from their profile and the “owner” on file. Try disputing the debt, it might be that they’re going after anyone they can, especially if you don’t recall signing any such paper.
Of course, if the validate it you do owe it. For future reference the way your parents “disputed” it isn’t how it works … a dispute is a challenge to the verifiable status of the debt (whether or not the charges are real, not if they’re wanted). Not wanting to pay it doesn’t mean you don’t owe it.
`I feel like I really got screwed over because my parents constantly told me they’d take care of it when I told them that they needed to pay it off but they didn’t.`
Don’t rely on your parents to uphold their word. In the future do not do these things for them. Freeze your credit with all 3 bureaus btw to keep your report safe from any unsavory activity in the event of identity theft.