More on St. Francis Animal Hospital

So… I wanted to give a little update on the awful, horrible, rotten, worse-I’ve-ever-experienced customer service I received from St. Francis 24 Hour Animal Hospital

Last week I posted that East Padden happened to have the notes I needed from St. Francis. Unfortunately it turned out they did not. They had notes from the Humane Society instead. 😦 I know they told me they requested the notes from St. Francis, but surprisingly (haha) they never received them. 😦

So that meant I was back to square one with St. Francis. I called them on Friday to follow up to see where we stood. I got a very helpful receptionist who this time actually listened to the issue. She agreed I was treated horribly was very apologetic about it and promised she’d pass along a message to management. So I thought we were getting somewhere. It turns out she’s the only one working at St. Francis with a decent bone in her body.

She called me on Monday to say that the chart notes I requested were ready but management had closed my account after what transpired the prior week. Since the account was now closed, my request was converted to a “inactive records request” or something and they don’t copy notes/medical history from closed accounts for free. She said there would be a fee if I wanted the chart notes. When I asked how much she said she didn’t know but I needed to agree to it before they’d release the notes.

Um… I’m not sure that’s even legal?? I told her that. I also burst into tears… I felt like an idiot but seriously.. the whole thing was just so beyond stupid that it broke me. I just really don’t understand how the three other vets involved in this could be so helpful… ALL OF THEM. But St. Francis was dangling me over a barrel and now extorting money out of me over ONE page of handwritten chart notes. Chart notes they KNEW I had to have in order to get my insurance claim approved. And while I’ve experienced crappy customer service before, NEVER at THIS level. Never THIS bad!

When I asked why they closed my account, she said “they” (her managers) said it was because I was “abusive”. … … … *I* was abusive? I asked her if I sounded at all unreasonable to her or if I was even slightly abusive to her. She said “no, not at all”. There was an awkward silence after that and she said it was probably due to the multiple phone calls from me and my insurance company. I explained to her that NONE of that would have been necessary had they taken the time to listen to the issue, listen to the fact that this was technically a SECOND request for records, and that their delays were costing me almost $1000.00!

I told her I agreed to the ‘unknown charge’ as long as it was reasonable and I made it clear I was agreeing to it under duress. She called back later and said the charge was going to be $20.88.. NOT reasonable at all! But… I drove down there and I paid it. What choice did I have? I walked out of there in tears saying I’d probably dispute the charge when I got home.

I then updated my BBB claim (yes I filed a complaint with the BBB. Have never done that before) to say that they closed my account AFTER I requested the chart notes (when the account was still open) only so they could charge me and I wanted to be reimbursed to resolve the complaint. No I’m not disputing the charge. I’ve had many tell me I should but they’d likely send it to collections, tack on a fee, and add interest or something.. and it’s really not worth it. THEY aren’t worth it. (My insurance claim was approved for the full amount two days after submitting those damn notes!!!)

The main doctor at St. Francis (the owner) replied to my BBB complaint that night and ADMITTED they closed my account AFTER I requested the notes. He also rambled about my one and only vet visit with them (which had nothing to do with my complaint.. my dog was never treated there.. only seen for 20 minutes then I refused their treatment and left!). He also stated he did nothing to hinder me in getting the notes for my insurance claim.

That made me LOL.

Making me wait beyond the LEGAL time period for a records request, then closing my account (how does one close a veterinary account anyway? what does that mean??), then charging me almost $21.00 for a one page photocopy is hindering. It was akin to extortion and was immoral and unethical.

I filed a complaint with the state department of health veterinary board as well. Fee disputes fall under their threshold of things to investigate but they were in violation of not providing me the records within 15 days as the law states they are supposed to. The catch is whether my verbal request when I asked them to fill out the insurance claim was going to count as a “written request” (the claim form asked for the medical history and notes.) They (the dept of health) were also very familiar with them even though the physical location of their office is a few hundred miles from St. Francis. They get a lot of complaints about St. Francis. A LOT. Had I taken the 2 minutes to look them up on Google, I wouldn’t have made the horrible mistake of going anywhere near that place.

St Francis Animal Hospital = Horrible Customer Service

So remember all the vets and issues, etc we had to deal with two days after we adopted Mia? We were so fortunate that everyone we saw treated us wonderfully, kindly, with compassion, and understanding.. EXCEPT: St. Francis 24 HR Animal Hospital. In my experience, they have the most unprofessional people working for them than I’ve ever encountered in my life. And they saw Mia only once. For about an hour.

They tried to get me to pay them a thousand dollars claiming my dog had parvo. (She didn’t). They apparently don’t even know that a modified live parvo vaccine can cause a false positive and that there are varying degrees of “testing positive” for parvo. A weak positive, which Mia’s was can just be the vaccine.

Apparently this is common knowledge. Don’t take my word for it, though. Google it. The links above all describe it.. and I’ll quote another website:

False negative results can be obtained because parvovirus is shed for a few days only. Test results are most accurate if taken the first few days after infection, or within 5 days after clinical signs appear. False positive results are often a result of recent vaccination with a modified live vaccine (within 5-12 days of vaccination).

St. Francis forgot to bill me for the parvo test so they called and asked that I come down right away to pay for it. I told them I would but then as you know, Mia got sicker and it was a crazy week, so I didn’t get to it right away. Not even a week later they sent me a letter stating I better pay them for it or they would send it to collections. They used a yellow highlighter to highlight the part about it going to collections. I thought this was rude, and tactless, but hey, I did say I’d come down there and didn’t… and sure it’s only been a few days.. but sheesh.

I called them to let them know I’d be paying it soon and explained how Mia got sicker. While on the phone, I mentioned to them the ‘false positive’ and was happy to report Mia did not have parvo and was doing much better. I didn’t tell it to them to be rude or rub it in their face. My tone and attitude was “hey guess what?! She’s better and doing great and didn’t have Parvo.. isn’t that awesome?”… Their reply was, and I quote:

A positive result is a positive result. There is no such thing as weak or false parvo test.

I replied that the other vets told me about the weak positive / not parvo thing, and that she never actually had true parvo symptoms so it probably wasn’t parvo.

Their reply:

A positive result is a positive result. There is no such thing as weak or false parvo test.

Yes, they just repeated themselves. They didn’t even comment on the fact that I just told them Mia was all better. They were just right, everyone else was wrong… where’s their money?

I paid them on Monday as promised but guess what? I got another letter, the same one, yellow highlighter and all on Tuesday. So they were sending me letters weekly apparently to be sure they got their $36 bucks.

A couple weeks later I had to go back there to have them fill out the pet insurance claim for the visit. East Padden Animal Hospital filled out the forms while I waited. Columbia River Veterinary Services tried to fill out the claim forms while I waited and were also very friendly about it, but they had an emergency come in and didn’t know when they could get to it and hated to keep me waiting. So they offered to fax over all the claims (even the ones not pertaining to them) if I left the docs with them. I said sure. They faxed them in that night as promised and called me to let me know it was done. Very nicely done.

St. Francis on the other hand took the forms and told me they’d get to it whenever. Maybe Sunday. This was mid-week that I was there. When I inquired about the wait, they said only their administrative office handled those forms. They acted like it was a major inconvenience and practically shooed me out the door. I was dumbfounded but I thanked them and left without so much as another mumble.

I thought I was done ever having deal with them until the pet insurance needed more info ….The NON-PROFIT humane society got me the information within minutes and had it waiting at the front desk for me. They offered to fax it too but I have no way to receive a fax. East Padden emailed me the information within an hour. CRVS emailed it to me within 5 minutes of my phone call. All easy right?

St. Francis told me they’d call me when they had the information I requested. When I asked when, they said they didn’t know and couldn’t give me a time frame. I explained the situation ($1000 claim, kinda hinging on their information the most because they were the first to see Mia for the issue) and that it would be helpful if I knew when I could expect the information. They said it could take up to two weeks. I was thinking a couple hours. Or maybe a day. But TWO WEEKS?

All the insurance company wants is the chart notes they took for the visit. That’s IT. So it’s not like we’re asking for major stuff here. Just the notes… Like I said, the three other vets managed to have that to me within minutes, or hours. Apparently St. Francis 24 Hour Animal Hospital has to go through their administrators to provide their clients with information. I kinda jokingly asked “well what if Mia was dying and I needed those notes to take to a vet so they’d know her history?” She replied “this is hospital policy”. I asked if THEY had access to their own notes if a patient comes in during an emergency. They said “This is hospital policy”.

So I asked if there’s any way to speed up the process, if there was someone I could call and I again explained why.. They replied it was hospital policy. I asked if I could have their admin office’s number. They said they weren’t available. So I told them in a “ya know…” type of voice that I’d probably not ever come back there and this is why. They said “whatever” and hung up on me.


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I called back and got someone different. I figured SHE wasn’t the rude one so I wouldn’t bother her with the issue. I simply asked for a supervisor. . She said without even a moment’s hesitation that the supervisor wasn’t available. So I tried to explain the whole story, nicely, calmly, but she kept cutting me off saying “it’s hospital policy and you were told that”. I kept trying to say “I TOTALLY WITHOUT A DOUBT GET that it’s HOSPITAL POLICY … but the issue has turned into horrible customer service” but she wouldn’t let me talk .. AT ALL. She just kept repeating that I was already told about HOSPITAL POLICY .. and I kept TRYING to say “I KNOW, I GET IT” but she repeated herself so many times I finally said “Look, just let me talk to your supervisor”. She HUNG UP ON ME.

I would totally understand if I was being irrational or rude, but I wasn’t. And now I’m not even sure they are going to “forward my request to the administrators per hospital policy” because both had hung up on me!

So I waited a while… then I called back and simply asked for the administrator’s office. She said they were unavailable but could take a message. I asked if I could leave a message myself (why would I trust them to leave a message at his point?) and she asked my name. I told her and she WENT OFF on me saying that if I kept calling she’d make my request take longer to process. What the? I told her I didn’t appreciate the threat, I just wanted to talk to the admins myself, leave a voicemail, anything to ensure my request was even processed. She hung up on me!!!

At this point I was pretty ticked off. Instead of calling them back I called the insurance company and explained what just transpired. I explained that I wasn’t confident they would even put my request through. No one ever said at that point they would, they just kept hanging up on me.

The insurance girl was baffled and said she’s NEVER heard of a vet taking weeks to provide chart notes, or having to go through weird administrative red tape for something so simple. I asked if it was absolutely necessary I have the info from St. Francis. By then I had all the other vet’s notes, it was only St Francis holding things up. She said they must have it but offered to call St. Francis herself and see if she could get anywhere. I told her go for it and wished her luck.

She called me back only a few minutes later and guess what? St. Francis gave her the proverbial finger too.

I really don’t think these people should have named themselves SAINT anything.

To sum it up, St. France 24 Hour Animal Hospital:

  1. Doesn’t know much about parvo tests or the vaccines and how they work — “a positive is a positive”. They need to learn how to use Google.
  2. HARRASSED and THREATENEND ME for payment not even a week after THEY forgot to charge me.
  3. Didn’t care about my dog. Just wanted my money NOW.
  4. Gave me nothing but horrible, rude, and unprofessional customer service
  5. Have weird policies no other vet I’ve dealt with has that make it impossible to get information in a timely manner.

The whole thing was like an episode out of the Twilight Zone.

Just as I was about to hit publish on this post, East Padden Animal Hospital called me. Not only did they already send me their chart notes, they also happened to have the chart notes from St. Francis because they requested them for THEIR records when Mia was first admitted to them (I told them the story about St. Francis and their weird policies). So they are sending me the ST. FRANCIS notes now via email. They didn’t have to do that… but they did.

THAT is good customer service. And St Francis will never get another dime from me again.

Update: LOL the BBB gives St Francis Hospital an F rating… 27 complaints. For a little city Vet who hasn’t been around all that long, that’s pretty bad!

Pat Moore Quality Cars

Just over a month ago I promised I’d post my good customer service story sometime that week. So I’m a little late…

Before I begin this post, I want to provide a little disclaimer. I’m NOT being paid to write this post. Nor am I receiving any products or kickbacks. No one even asked me to write about this. I want to share what I felt was an awesome car-buying experience, something I feel is rare nowadays. It’s hard to find a GOOD car dealership who will treat you right. Pat Moore went above and beyond what I feel most dealerships would do.

At the end of May this year, we bought our Chevy Suburban at Pat Moore Quality Cars

New Suburban

I posted the horrid story of the dealership we dealt with before we found Pat Moore and I already posted about how awesome Pat Moore was, but their memorable service didn’t end there.

A few days after we brought home our ‘Burb we found the battery dead. We became a bit concerned because the battery was dead when we went to test drive it the day we bought it. The dealership had left the hatch up all day so the lights were on. We figured it might not have received a good charge so we charged it.

A week or so later it was dead again. By then I was beginning to think it was my cell phone charger. The lighter in the ‘Burb runs even if the car is off and the charger has a light on it that lets you know it’s plugged in. So it’s constantly drawing power. I made sure it wasn’t plugged in when not in use. I charged the battery again and it ran fine for several days.

Then I found it dead AGAIN. What made it worse is every time I found it dead, it was when I’d be heading out to take Miss H. to an appt. I had to call and reschedule that appointment THREE times due to the battery being dead all THREE times! I couldn’t decide if my new ‘Burb just wanted to mess with me, or if this was some sort of omen that Miss H. shouldn’t GO to these appointments, lol.

Technically we bought the ‘Burb as-is, but I called Pat Moore anyway just to see what they had to say after I had explained what was going on. Especially since they had killed the battery too before we bought it. I was surprised at their reaction. I fully expected them to tell me “too bad so sad”. (AS-IS!!) and I was ready to meet them halfway on a new battery or having a mechanic look at it. Instead they asked me to bring it in as soon as it was convenient for me and they’d replace the battery at their expense. (!!!) I went over there on my lunch break and they sent me down the road to a battery place. They had already called ahead for me and purchased the NEW battery. All I had to do was show up and get it replaced. The only cost to me was the gas to get there.

Things were fine for a month or so then the battery started dying again. So, I called Pat Moore back. Once again, they shocked me. They asked me to bring the ‘Burb in so they could have their mechanic look at it. They also offered me a loaner vehicle because it might take a few days. If I couldn’t get it running to get there, they even offered to come get it FOR me. But since we have a charger I was able to deliver it. True to their word, they gave me a mini-van as a loaner. FREE of charge.

It turns out there was nothing wrong with it other than operator error. If the doors don’t all get shut tight, the door light stays on. It’s got such good seals that the last door to get shut sometimes doesn’t latch all the way if you don’t shut it hard enough. And it’s hard to tell a door isn’t shut all the way if you’re not actually looking for that to happen. Ever since we’ve been diligent about making sure all the doors are shut 100% and haven’t had a single problem.

So in reality, the whole thing was our fault yet they went out of their way to buy us a new battery, give us a loaner car, and have it checked out all at their expense.

The tip of the iceberg? When we went to bring back the loaner and pick up the ‘Burb from Pat Moore, we arrived about 45 minutes before we said we’d be there. We were a bit stunned at what we saw when we arrived. We caught Pat Moore in the act of… washing our dirty suburban by hand. He was about half way done when we arrived and he looked a bit sheepish. He said “ah you caught me! It was a bit dusty so I thought I’d get it cleaned up for ya” … It was filthy because one of the roads on the way to the dealership was under construction and nothing but gravel for a mile or so. It got covered in dust when I brought it there to be looked at.

That … is what I call … Exceptional Customer Service. And from a car dealership no less! *Two thumbs up*