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> Vet Estimates Ex V.a.t., Is this unfair practice?
bullybeef
post 20th Sep 2017, 7:55 am
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I was referred by my vet to North Downs Referral Centre in Redhill for further tests for Herbie after his dizziness to rule out anything sinister. I signed the forms when I was in the surgery (in a real state I might add) to say the quote for MRI scans etc was between 2,000 - 2,500 and did state to the vet that only a small portion of that was covered by my insurance and I also had to pay 20% of the costs (we had already done a pre-claim with insurance company).

He was down all day for the tests, I spoke to the vet at lunch time who said they were carrying on with the tests, nothing had shown so far and they would be doing an abdomen scan. When all the tests were finished and he was diagnosed with Geriatric Vestibular (which is what I said from day one) and not a tumour, we were the last ones in the practice and the bill hadn't been written up so I paid around what I thought and then said to send it to me.

Imagine my horror when a final bill came through for over 3,500! Apparently, the estimate they give you does not include VAT and also the abdomen scan was extra which came out at 465 excluding VAT!

My question is, surely for complete transparency, the estimate should be set out with the actual costs including VAT as well as excluding VAT, I have looked on the RCVS site and this recommends that it is? I have already put my complaints in writing and had a response yesterday that they only quote the actual figure ex VAT so people can see what their actual charges are hit.gif As an estate agent, the Ombudsman advises that we need to write both actual figures of the fees so there is no confusion, surely this should be the same?

They have offered to knock me 100 off the bill which is nothing so I need to reply to them today. Any advice much appreciated
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Annieskel
post 20th Sep 2017, 8:15 am
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My vets are referral vets and they have the total cost, including VAT when giving an estimate, in some cases it is the full amount you pay and not an estimate.



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Dalsmum
post 20th Sep 2017, 9:05 am
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My vet always show VAT as an extr at the bottom pf the bill but the only time I was given a verbal estimate the actual bill was less than the estimate so I don't know if it included VAT or not.

Is there any practice information that states the estimate is ex VAT?

Was it mentioned on the consent to surgery form?

If not , I would quote the RCVS practice information as of 19 June 2017 which does state estimates Should include VAT.

I would expect the abdominal scan to be extra if that was not included in the original action plan.

Be firm but not arguementative, keep to the facts only, brief and to the point is better, and state what you want to happen to resolve the issue.

Good Luck.


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AnnS
post 20th Sep 2017, 11:05 am
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Did they ask you if you wanted the abdominal scan, or did they just go ahead. An awful lot to pay if not expected. I wouldn't be happy with this. Think our vets give total price to pay. Hollys eye op was expensive and price written down was what I paid.
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Ianr
post 20th Sep 2017, 12:20 pm
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Whilst I think they ought to make clear whether this is plus or inc vat I still don't think you have much of an argument for a large reduction here I'm afraid. Seems to me they gave you an estimate - which the vat issue apart - appears to have been about right. They then did an extra scan (you're not saying they ever suggested this was included in the estimate are you?). When you add that & vat to the original estimate they appear to have been well in the ball park to me.

You say you told them you had to pay 20% of what was covered & that only a small part of the bill would be covered anyway but as far as I can see didn't give them any limit to the costs you were prepared to incur / could afford to pay?
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bullybeef
post 20th Sep 2017, 12:47 pm
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the vet mentioned during the day he was having an abdominal scan but he was having so many different tests, I didn't realise it was extra and no costs were discussed with me at all of the extra charge. I was very distressed at the time of signing the paperwork on the day and yes, it did say excluding VAT now they have sent me a copy, but she did say the vet normally points that out, which of course, he didn't.

My argument is, they should give you the total cost of both figures for complete transparency. I am not asking for a large reduction but I just think people should be aware and have informed my own vets also of the issue.
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Jeffrey's Mummy
post 20th Sep 2017, 12:52 pm
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I also think that they should have given you the estimate and said whether it included VAT or excluded it. I also think that they should have made it clear which MRI scans you were paying for. That way you would have known the extra scan wasn't in that price. From the way you describe it the paying for the extra scan wasn't mentioned to you but rather it was part of the treatment. If you had been shopping around for the best price it could have swayed you to use this vet. When Jeffrey had an MRI scan, operation and drugs I was quoted 3.5k and this included the VAT. When the blood test appeared to indicate cancer but the scan didn't pick it up the consultant rang, said what he needed to do - ie another scan with a dye that would show if cancer was present he told me it would be another 1k on top of the original quote. Did they give you the quote in writing if so does it make it clear whether it is with or without VAT and what that price was for.
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bullybeef
post 20th Sep 2017, 1:07 pm
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The quote I signed on the day was for blood examinations, MRI and possible spinal tap then it had some medical abbreviations written in pen underneath. I know I will have to pay the bill but I feel completely stupid that I didn't ask all these things and study the paperwork now but I was a mess thinking my Herbie had a brain tumor. It is not like me at all, I always double check everything but I just went to pieces !
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mokee
post 20th Sep 2017, 1:49 pm
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QUOTE(bullybeef @ 20th Sep 2017, 2:07 pm) *

The quote I signed on the day was for blood examinations, MRI and possible spinal tap then it had some medical abbreviations written in pen underneath. I know I will have to pay the bill but I feel completely stupid that I didn't ask all these things and study the paperwork now but I was a mess thinking my Herbie had a brain tumor. It is not like me at all, I always double check everything but I just went to pieces !


Personally I don't think you were stupid at all - vets, the same as any other business, have an obligation to be clear and transparent about their charging and they've clearly failed on this occasion as you had absolutely no idea how high the charges were going to be. You're not a business, so why on earth would you expect that they'd give you the prices minus VAT, then not to even bother to make it clear that the quote was minus VAT when they gave it to you... In my opinion they've been sloppy at best, underhand at worst, very, very poor business practice. If I were you I'd be furious and complaining to the RCVS.

Edited because I forgot to say ANY time one of my dogs has needed extra work at the vets, and I've used several different practices over the years, they've always told me something like "we could do this procedure, but that will add approximately x to the bill" at the time of the procedure.

This post has been edited by mokee: 20th Sep 2017, 1:51 pm
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Ianr
post 20th Sep 2017, 3:23 pm
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QUOTE(bullybeef @ 20th Sep 2017, 2:07 pm) *

The quote I signed on the day was for blood examinations, MRI and possible spinal tap then it had some medical abbreviations written in pen underneath. I know I will have to pay the bill but I feel completely stupid that I didn't ask all these things and study the paperwork now but I was a mess thinking my Herbie had a brain tumor. It is not like me at all, I always double check everything but I just went to pieces !


I don't think you've been stupid - you've simply cared more about getting your boy sorted than the detail of costs - vets generally rely upon this in my opinion (we don't tend to shop around when we need a vet) - who here would criticise you for that?

Unfortunately, that doesn't help you with paying the bill, which I suspect any complaint to RCVS or whoever will only support as having provided what you signed for at broadly those costs. Your best hope is probably to put it down to experience & negotiate time to pay if this bill is an issue for you. Good luck with that and your boys recovery.
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Lab Lady
post 20th Sep 2017, 3:39 pm
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I think Mokee has hit the nail on the head here - why would you expect the quote to exclude vat? Seems odd to me and I've never come across it before. Have been to three different referral centres and all have been absolutely transparent about the costs up front, VAT issue has never even come up !

I think you will have to pay the bill in full but I would complain to your GP practice about what has happened so they can think twice about referring any more clients. Won't help you now but will maybe save someone else from a nasty shock.

Feels like a shoddy way to treat people who they know are not at their best.
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Athel
post 20th Sep 2017, 7:35 pm
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I've never had an estimate without vat included. Fleet had lots of tests when she was in the rvc and they called me and checked about each extra one they did.
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ceri1
post 20th Sep 2017, 8:28 pm
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I've also never heard of estimates being without VAT. That is confusing to me sad.gif
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bullybeef
post 22nd Sep 2017, 4:37 pm
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Thank you for your kind words, I am waiting to hear back from them again, I know I will have to pay the bill but I will still put up a fight !
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