Dispute over service recieved

I have had a rather bizzare experience over the last 2 weeks which I am having great difficulty getting my head around and wondered if anyone has had a similar problem.

My old horse developed an eye ulcer which was not responding to antibiotics and my local horse vet recommended i went to a specialist just outside Versailles for a minor operation which i agreed to and it was duly arranged.

4 days before travelling my horse slipped on the muddy field and hurt his hip, not badly but enough to cause him to be lame. I had him checked out by both our vet and out master farrier who both agreed it was his hip. The vet game him anti inflammatories.

By the date of travel to Versailles he was much better and off we went on the 5 hour drive with him in a trailer.

We duly arrived and the specialist performed a fairly simple eye scrape to remove the ulcer and we were delighted.

We then went to return the horse to the horse box to return home and the journey had clearly aggravated the injury and he was lame again.

We asked the vet if we could either leave him overnight (they have facilitation as its a small hospital) or if he could have a pain killer to help him during the journey.

At this point things started to go badly wrong!

He demanded that if we were to have him administer painkillers he would have to examine the horse again. We agreed as we wanted the best for the horse.

He then proceeded to undergo a 2 hour examination including several (about 15) xrays, ultrasounds and other procedures. He appeared determined to find an abscess which we know he did not have.

At the end of it he pronounced that he had detected arthritis in his feet (quelle suprise - he is a 22 year old eventer) but conceded that even this could not account for the lameness and that the shoulder was probably the cause.

We were finally told to take him home and that he was not prepared to administer any pain killers as is may mask the real cause in any subsequent investigations!

5 hours later we finally arrived home, put him to bed and declared the next day a duvet day for him.

Now things turned really strange. We received the bill on the Tuesday before Easter and were pretty horrified to find the cost of the foot examination far exceeded the eye operation with the bill totalling 780 euros.

We emailed him to express our displeasure at what had transpired and asked for an explanation as to what he was trying to achieve with the battery of tests (which found nothing).

The reply was swift but not what we expected. He did not reply to our concerns (although he did speak to our vet) but we received a threatening call from his solicitors stating if we did not pay the bill by the end of the day there would seek to freeze our bank account the following day, and as it had remained unpaid for 9 days they were adding 90 euros charge to the bill. If we did not pay by the end of the day they would take the matter to court adding a further 2000 euros to the bill.

It is not 3pm, i am frantically seeking advice. I have no issue and never had with paying the original bill but cant believe what is transpiring over a bill outstanding for 8 working days and really think the 90 euro surcharge is ridiculous. The whole situation is just total overkill in my opinion, i'm guessing caused by a guilty conscience

Has anyone else experienced something like this?

Brain, your poor old horse and you did good! That the vet was behaving abusive (there is not need to do such screening that is intended to prescribe a pain medication only for the purpose that makes it easier for the horse to have less pain during a 5 hour ride in a trailer) My first reaction would have been surly similar, guilty conscience. But the diagnosis must be in relation to the cause and should not be a means of enrichment. In this respect, you must make your point! This goes too far! Good luck, and keep the "oldie" under a nice warm blanket ;-).

Nothing like this, but I recently consulted our Mairie about "help" in settling a dispute.

They referred me to "le Mediateur de la Republique" - sometimes this person is called "Defendeur des Droits Publiques" or similar.

There is one in each department and they can be a port of call if a situation looks like it may be heating towards litigation.

I am sure your Mairie will supply you with the number for your dept.

It may offer you an avenue of mediation if the situation cannot be rectified.

Hi Brian, If you didn't ask you to sign a 'devis' accepting the cost before doing the work then he has no legal right in the matter. It's as simple as that, and he can't do anything about it. He's obviously just trying to scare you .. the crook!

I would be surprised if they could do anything to your account especially not in such a short amount of time and with only a verbal warning. Sounds like a load of hot air to me.

I would write to them LRAR in the first instance asking them to itemise the bill and ask them on whose instruction did they complete all of these tests.

Hi Brian,

Very sorry to hear your story. Shows how professional the vet is. I have horses too and the vet demand their money nearly immediately. They charge for everything and they issue the invoice faster than they see your horse.

Maybe your local vet could intervene and ask for some reasonable solution to the case. The fact the animal was left in discomfort for the journey home is neglience and this should be brought to his attention. He is a vet not a banker!!

I hope things work out for you. John

And tell the story on all the websites concerning vets & horses. Sorry for you for this bad story.

I would complain about this vet to the Ordre of Veterinaires, Brian and copy to the vet - may make him think again?

yes. unexpectedly huge bill from syndic (5000 euros). I asked to pay it over several months. They said no. We wrangled, and both sides incurred legal costs, and then it was agreed that I would pay it at 800 euros a month. Which was what I had asked for in the first place. They threatened me with all that stuff too.