The Fake ESA Letter Era.

The dangers of buying counterfeit emotional support animal letters aren’t always obvious. There are economic impacts, legal implications, and other risks that are important for you to know before making a purchase. Counterfeiters don’t care about your well-being. They just want to make a profit.

"Many consumers are ... unaware of the significant probabilities they face of being defrauded by counterfeiters when they shop on e-commerce platforms,” reads a January 2020 Department of Homeland Security report (PDF).

Says HUD, "Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee. Under the Fair Housing Act, a housing provider may request reliable documentation when an individual requesting a reasonable accommodation has a disability and disability-related need for an accommodation that are not obvious or otherwise known.35 In HUD’s experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.

"By contrast, many legitimate, licensed health care professionals deliver services remotely, including over the internet. One reliable form of documentation is a note from a person’s health care professional that confirms a person’s disability and/or need for an animal when the provider has personal knowledge of the individual."

In 2020, these brazenly counterfeit documents are being outrightly rejected by housing providers.

On The Rise

Though long an issue, the Internet, and e-commerce in particular, has exacerbated the counterfeiting problem. With so many sellers competing for clicks, one way to win the customer is by offering the lowest price, and it’s often easier to bring the price down if you’re selling a fake ESA letter.

Smarter About Fakes

You can take steps to protect yourself. Start by taking a pause before you buy. Apply the same skepticism you'd use when purchasing something at the flea market. Read any reviews  — but read them all with a grain of salt.

Next, pay attention to the price.

With HUD now demanding an "ongoing treating relationship." can you honestly secure multiple clinical sessions with a licensed therapist for $79?

f you think you’ve already purchased a fake, give us a call and we'll be happy to help. The burden of discerning authenticity should not be yours alone.

Need More Information?

An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a “reasonable accommodation” for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act.

Getting qualified for an assistance animal is as simple as 1-2-3.

1: Place an Order.

Shop now and enjoy 90-days of McAfee's $100,000 Identity Protection and Stripe's state of the art payment processing technology.

2. Complete an Assessment.

After you place an order, you'll complete our proprietary HIPAA-compliant comprehensive online assessment.

3: Engage With an Expert.

Finally, you'll engage in therapeutic care with a local, licensed health care provider via secured video technology

Being Approved.

An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a “reasonable accommodation” for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act. An emotional support animal is not a pet. An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability.

New HUD Guidelines.

HUD's new rules are an update to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) that sought to equalize the ability of people with disabilities to enjoy housing. Under the law, housing providers had to exempt those with disabilities from “no pet” rules and pet fees. But some of the gaps in the rules have been abused by those simply trying to bypass pet rules and fees. Others who are providing the letters have exploited uneducated consumers To comply, Housing Pro 2020 provides multiple clinical sessions between client and an in-state licensed provider.

Therapeutic Relationship Required.

Documentation submitted in support of an assistance animal request must come from a person who has a “therapeutic relationship” with the resident seeking the accommodation. A therapeutic relationship is “the provision of medical care, program care, or personal care services, in good faith, for and with actual knowledge of, an individual’s disability and that individual's disability-related need for an assistance animal by:

  1. a physician or other medical professional;
  2. a mental health service provider; or
  3. a non-medical service agency or reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual's disability.”

Because a therapeutic relationship requires that care services be provided, in good faith, for an individual’s disability, documentation submitted on the basis of a single visit to a health care provider solely to obtain a “doctor’s note” will generally not be legally sufficient.

Emotional support animal letter for travel.

An emotional support animal provides comfort to support a customer’s diagnosed mental or emotional disorder. Emotional support animals need not have specific training for that function. All must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting. Acceptable ESAD Int'l emotional support animals are limited to dogs and cats. Your animal must behave appropriately in a public environment. If your 10-pound Chihuahua acts like Cujo, running around the airport on attack mode, the "best ESA letter in the world" won't matter. To qualify, an individual must have a health professional verify:

  • A mental health-related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM IV).
  • A need for the emotional support or psychiatric service animal to remedy the disability’s effects during air travel and activity at your destination

The passenger/client must be currently under the care and treatment of a licensed professional. To comply, Travel Pro 2020 provides a clinical session between client and an in-state licensed provider. Read: ESAD Int'l's service dog fraud policy.

Learn more about qualifying for an assistance animal.