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I Won't Be Shopping At Petco Anymore

March 4, 2013
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Why I won’t be shopping at Petco

I loved Petco. I spent a ton of money there each month because we have two dogs, two guinea pigs, one rabbit, one cat and one hamster. I buy premium dog food and gobs and gobs of dog toys and chew sticks because I have a puppy that really likes to chew and we have run out of Barbies.

I loved Petco because they were conveniently located in Highland Park and the sales associates there were usually pretty helpful and always friendly. They are a tad overpriced, I can find everything I get for quite a bit less (except for the premium dog food) at Walmart. But I preferred shopping at Petco over Walmart because it isn’t Walmart.

Why won’t you be shopping at Petco anymore, Jen?

I won’t be shopping at Petco anymore because they ended up costing me $137.00 and are unwilling to do anything about it.

So here’s the story. I bank at a local bank that is currently used by University of MN students. I bank there because my son has to bank there and I can transfer money to him easily this way. I keep it run down as low as possible because I don’t use it much and I don’t really trust banks anymore.

I went to Petco in January to pick up some of that premium dog food and had left my wallet at home. I had my checkbook so I wrote a check. I never write checks anymore because no one takes them and I don’t usually carry checks but props to Petco for still taking them because it would have been a wasted trip otherwise and my dogs were getting hungry.

I made a mental note to myself to transfer funds from one account to another and continued on my way.

As you have probably guessed I forgot all about transferring funds.

Life goes on and about a week later I get a notice from the bank saying that my check had been returned and I better cover the check. I promptly transferred the funds I meant to a week earlier and figured the check would be represented and all was good.

Ten days later the check was presented for the second time and paid. Since that time I have spent over $100 on pet food and dog chews.

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End of story.

Or so I thought.

Ten days after the check was paid my bank account was pinged for $30. from Petco. Apparently they charge a service fee on checks returned. Not bounced checks but checks returned once but still paid.

Because I don’t use the account, and I had seen that the check had finally been paid on the second presentation I didn’t have more than $10 in the account so when it was pinged for the $30 fee from Petco my bank rejected it. In the process, because they are a bank and are all about making money on their free accounts, they charged me $37.

My bank sends me a notice of this overdraft but they send it through the old fashioned mail because I haven’t set up an electronic alert on my account. I get the notice about a week after the first overdraft. By the time I get the notice Petco or Telecheck  has attempted to collect this $30 fee two more times. Each time causing my bank to reject the payment and charge me $37.

When I get notice from my bank I head on over there and talk to a very nice manager who tells me that I need to talk to Petco. My banker states that she has never seen a company charge a service fee on a check that was paid. She goes on to say that if a company draws an electronic service fee they do so right away. They don’t wait ten days to pull the fee.

Which is nice. My banker understands that I had covered the check, left a few extra bucks in the account and that was it. I was ahead of the game for ten days when they tried to pull this fee that my bank rejected.

My banker suggested that I talk to Petco because she was unable to do anything about it. Policy, you know.

I called Petco, corporate Petco from their website, and got India. After yelling in the phone for half an hour the nice Indian woman told me to call the Highland Park, MN Petco. She was still unsure why I was calling, she couldn’t understand why they would charge me when the check had been paid.

Think about that. The nice outsourced, customer service rep from India understood that the check had been paid and therefore there should be no service fee.

I called the Highland Park, MN Petco and talked to Carla, the store manager who was very nice. She listened to my story, remarked at how strange it was that I was charged a service fee when the check was honored and then went on to tell me how she bounced a check to McDonald’s for $25 that turned into $500 worth of bank fees.

Carla said she would contact corporate and get back to me in the next day or two. I mentioned that I had a bit of a time constraint because my bank was threatening to close my account if I didn’t bring it into the black. I would have done so when I spoke with my banker but she was concerned they would continue to try to take the service fee and suggested I stop payment, which we did, and not deposit anything into the account until all was settled.

Carla called me back right away and told me that Petco uses Telecheck and that I must talk to them. That it is their fee that they are trying to recover.

I’m exhausted just retelling this story.

I explain to Carla that Telecheck doesn’t care about any of this and because Petco has sold my supposed debt to Telecheck they aren’t likely to help me. They, Telecheck, want their money and will most likely do whatever they can to collect it.

I ask for a number or email of someone at corporate to contact. I tell Carla that I don’t want to drag her into this mess and that I was sorry for getting her involved (because we live in MN and default to apologies). She says she understands and would do the same thing if she were in my shoes.

Carla tells me to call her back after I call Telecheck and let her know what happened. She seems to understand that they aren’t going to do anything and is trying her best to help out even though Petco corporate isn’t supporting her at all. Carla wants to help.

I call Telecheck and get a woman who, while residing in the US, hasn’t quite mastered the English language yet.


To make a long story short I am told by Telecheck that they can’t do anything. It is there policy – which may or may not have been posted at Petco. She then tells me that they are reporting this to the credit bureaus and how did I want to pay the $30 fee?

I called Carla back and told her what had happened. I again asked for a contact at corporate to help resolve this because while it may have been their policy, and it may or may have been posted, the debt was paid long before the fee was charged and the fee was applied without notice which caused me to be charged over $100 by my bank.

Grrr – I’m getting frustrated just trying to retell it.

Carla said I shouldn’t have bounced a check and that I needed to pay the fee. Carla didn’t care that I visited the store at least three times a week and that now Petsmart or Walmart or Chuck and Dave’s would be getting my business. Carla may have but corporate didn’t. It’s hard to tell because Carla was the go between. I don’t envy her position because she truly was stuck in the middle. I’m not thrilled with her condescending attitude at the end — especially in light of her large overdraft due to a $25 check to McDonald’s — but what do I know?

I spent more than these fees each month at Petco. I won’t even go into the whole story about the dead guinea pig. I am a Petco Rewards card holder and usually earn two rebates a month. Petco had a good customer in me until today but were not the least bit interested in working with me to make this right. I expected a little more from Petco than this.

So, I won’t be shopping at Petco anymore.


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