Americanservicepets.com describes itself as website that is home to one of the nation’s leading all-in-one solutions for people interested in getting their emotional support animal (ESA) properly approved and accredited. According to the website, potential customers are able to fill out a simple questionnaire in minutes and potentially receive a letter that is accepted across the nation without any prior documentation or diagnosis.
According to Americanservicepets.com, an ESA letter gives people the opportunity to save hundreds of dollars each year in pet deposits with housing or save money while flying on pet fees and additional charges – since an ESA is allowed to fly for free. The website also notes the number of ESA letter scams that currently exist, which include the promotion of extra items, requesting of extra documentation, or the issuance of fake letters that are not able to be used.
The website says customers just have to go through a three-step process to receive an ESA letter. First, prospective ESA letter holders just have to answer a few questions about ‘emotional struggles’ in order to then come to a payment page so an ESA doctor can review the answers. Next, a medical professional purportedly reviews the answers and will make a decision to see if a customer is able to qualify for a letter.
Americanservicepets.com says 95% of those who apply eventually get approved. Next, Americanservicepets.com will inform the customer if their letter is approved, giving people the option to print out their letter or pay for a hard copy to be sent through the mail.
There’s a few red flags here. Americanservicepets.com writes on their website how some illegitimate websites try to ask people to purchase special collars or ID cards for their ESA that are not necessary. However, the website says customers have the option to buy custom ESA cards and are able to obtain an ‘official certificate’ of ESA registration. Accessories like custom ID cards or collars are not needed for ESAs.
All an airline or landlord needs is a legitimate letter signed by a properly certified medical professional to deem an ESA as valid. Additionally, there are no current legitimate registries for ESA animals. Any registry that says it is a legitimate clearinghouse is lying. Americanservicepets.com also claims that a purchase will enter pets into the ‘American Service Pets Sweepstakes’ – a competition that does not exist. The above should raise questions about the entire operation found on Americanservicepets.com.
Additional problems are seen when it comes to pricing. The basic and standard packages offer ESA letters for housing or travel, while the Deluxe ESA Starter Kit offers letters for both housing and travel, alongside a ‘platinum membership.’ Legitimate ESA letters can be used for both travel and housing. Services that offer separate letters, or a package for one that covers both, are offering a service that does not exist, potentially leading to the creation of letters that would not be accepted.
On Americanservicepets.com, medical professionals contracted by the website allegedly review answers customers give and then render a decision about if the letter should be approved. However, the website does not go into detail about if the customers are actually going to speak with the medical professional. A legitimate ESA letter only comes about after a person speaks with a qualified medical professional via teleconference or in person. The lack of details on Americanservicepets.com about the approval process, and the background of the contracted medical professionals, should raise questions. All letters must be signed by a medical professional in the same state a person lives in, and Americanservicepets.com does not offer details about the location of their ‘ESA doctors.’
While the website does list a phone number, email, and address – there’s still a few questions. A search of the snail mail address does not bring up a listing for American Service Pets. The lack of transparency surrounding the physical address could be problematic in regard to the services offered since medical professionals need a legitimate physical address to work from. Sometimes, ESA letter providers who have a physical address that can’t be confirmed are actually working with doctors who are outside of the United States who are not properly licensed to work with those seeking an ESA letter for their pet.
Claims about a replacement guarantee for an ESA letter are listed on Americanservicepets.com. There is no further details about this guarantee, as legitimate ESA letter providers often issue a refund if a person is not approved or if a letter is not accepted by a landlord or airline for some reason. Additionally, real ESA letters are not issued on a ‘prescription’ basis, and must be applied for each year before the last one expires.