Kiley Loewenstein enjoys playing with her puppy Roxy. The purebred Shiba Inu pup is now 18-year-old Kiley’s college fund running around on four legs.
It all started with what turned out to be a very costly visit to the Topeka Petland with her boyfriend just to look at Husky puppies.
"I understand we messed up, but I kind of feel like we were talked into it a lot,” said Loewenstein.
Instead of just looking at puppies, Loewenstein says she signed an application to finance Roxy. And she says at the urging of the store clerk, she bought $300 of extra items for the pup.
"When she purchased it, they did not give her any paper work,” said Jodi Loewenstein, Kiley Loewenstein’s mother. “They didn’t give her a receipt, she had nothing to even say she bought the dog."
When Jodi Loewenstein tried to return Roxy, she was told she could pay $1,250, return the dog and walk away.
And it was only after she called that she discovered Kiley Loewenstein was being charged 69.99 percent interest over two years of payments for the puppy and for items the dog didn’t need, like joint supplements for older dogs and a sweater three sizes too big.
"They even went so far as to make it an even $2,500, they financed a $10 gift card,” Jodi Loewenstein said.
When the 41 Action News Investigators asked Kiley Loewenstein if the interest rate and the total amount she would pay over two years was made clear to her in the deal, she said, “None of that was ever discussed.”
Instead of facing that financing or returning the dog for $1,250, Jodi Loewenstein negotiated a deal to pay $2,200 out of Kiley Loewenstein’s college fund to pay for Roxy and some non-returnable items.
"Two teenagers made a mistake I guess, you know, I think it’s wrong you sell a dog to two teenagers with part-time jobs,” Jodi Loewenstein said.
Topeka Petland owner Staci Williams declined an on-camera interview. But she told the 41 Action News Investigators, “We went above and beyond for this family.”
"I would say they ripped us off big time,” Jodi Loewenstein said.
A company called Red Apple brokered the financing deal for Roxy. Owner Jim Woodman says there’s a place for this type of consumer financing because 62 percent of Americans can’t come up with $1,000 within 48 hours.
Woodman says these loans can help rebuild people’s credit and pay for problems like car repairs, dental or home improvement work. He also says there’s full disclosure with those high-interest loans and early payoffs are encouraged without penalty.
The 41 Action News Investigators have been looking into dog financing deals, including one company doing lease agreements for dogs.
Andy Alcock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.