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Is it theft of service to walk out of a business (contract) for service without paying for something?

Seattle, WA |

Is it theft of service to walk out of a business (contract) for service without paying for something they should have already performed? (Sorry I had to write that a bit weird for Avvo to pup up correct categories to choose). A month ago I took my dog to a vet due to a problem with the dog choking. The vet couldn't do anything but prescribe a drug. She didn't ask me if I have any additional concerns about the dog and just walked away. They made me pay for a full exam, but she never looked the dog over and missed something. Now they say for me to come back for the doctor to see what she missed, they will charge me for another exam. If I show up and have the doctor look at what she missed (balding spot on tail), what can they do if I just walk out without paying with the argument I already?

Attorney Answers 4


I agree with the previous answers and you would also most likely be charged for the service and your past due account sent to collections when you refused to pay.
A much better solution would be to voice your concerns about charges and the quality of service when making the next appointment. I would expect a vet or assistant to explain to you that when you were there last time the appointment covered a certain amount of time and the charges reflect the time. If your dog still has issues then more time may be necessary to treat the dog and you can expect more charges. In the alternative you could just go to another vet.
Good Luck

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Walking out of a restaurant after eating without paying likely would result in the person being arrested.

Walking out of a veterinarian's office without paying and without causing a disturbance likely would result in a police officer telling the office personnel to sue the person in court. It is doubtful that a police officer would arrest the person or forward the information to a prosecutor for a criminal charge to be filed against the person.

If you know beforehand that you are not going to pay the vet, why are you wasting everyone's time taking the dog back to the vet? If the vet really want to examine the dog (perhaps to learning something new), you should come to an agreement with the vet that there would be no charges for this particular visit before you come.

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You'd be taking a risk. Your best option is probably to pay, and later sue in small claims court.

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I would agree with the opinion that the best way to deal with this (and avoid disputes, lawsuits or police) is direct problem-solving with the business. Tell them what happened and what you expect on the next visit. If they can't swing you a free visit to make up for the mix-up or at least make you happy in some way that they are being fair... then vote with you feet and go to another vet.

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