U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson requested the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigate websites that sell assistance animal medical verifications, aka “letters sold for a fee.”
Read: There's an excellent reason "why we're not cheap.”
From HUD, "Not only do these companies offer unnecessary certification and registration documents, they often provide the required attestation after completion of a simple online form and payment. Most consumers do not realize that these practices are illegitimate. An online form evaluated by a mental health provider or a single consultation alone does not constitute a legitimate treatment relationship."
HUD also recommends the treating provider having personal knowledge of the client's disability.
HUD General Counsel Paul Compton states, “These websites are using questionable business practices that exploit consumers, prejudice the legal rights of individuals with disabilities, dupe landlords, and generally interfere with good faith efforts to comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.”
Our good faith understanding of these Fair Housing principles calls into question many vendors in this market space.
Experts Speak Out About Certapet.
In an article published on his blog at the Psychology Today website, Western Carolina University emeritus professor of psychology Hal Herzog concluded, “There are a couple of ways you can get one of these letters. The wrong way is to purchase it from a bogus outfit like CertaPet. The right way, on the other hand, is to obtain an emotional support animal letter from the doctor or therapist who is treating you.”
Quick Tip to Avoid Running Into Problems.
Avoid the following:
- Registering your animal.
- Certificates of any kind.
- Letters sold for a fee.
- Instant anything, get an approval in minutes.
- Engaging in a single session/assessment.
Our Vendor-Suggested Blacklist.
|American Service Pets||"Over one million qualified."|
|Animal Companions||"Signed letter in less then 10 minutes."|
|Certapet||Sells $149 letters.|
|Chilhowee Psychological Services>||Appears not to comply with HUD FHEO 2020 guidance.|
|Emotional Pet Support||Sells $99 letters.|
|Emotional Support Animal Center||Sells certificates.|
|Emotional Support Animal Co.||Misleading information.|
|ESA Letter||Sells $99 letter.|
|ESA Amimals||Sells $99 letters.|
|ESA Doctors||Sells $149 assessment.|
|ESA Registration||"Hassle free emotional support animal registration."|
|Express Pet Certify||Sells $99 letters.|
|EZ Care Clinic||Appears not to comply with HUD FHEO 2020 guidance.|
|Federal Service Dog Registration||Offers free registration.|
|Free My Paws||Sells ID cards.|
|Get ESA||Sells $99 letters.|
|Instant ESA Letters||Pet registration, certificates, etc.|
|Mango Clinic||Appears not to comply with HUD FHEO 2020 guidance.|
|Moosh Me||Misleading information.|
|MyESADoctor||Sells $98 letters.|
|NSARCO||National registry database.|
|Official Service Dog Registry||Sells "instant" registration letters.|
|Online Dogtor||Misleading information.|
|PDS Center||Sells $98 letters.|
|Pet Psych Center||"Each questionnaire followed up with an opt-in call."|
|Prescribe My Pet||$45 prescription letters.|
|Real ESA Letter||Misleading information.|
|Service Dog Certification||Misleading information.|
|Support Pets||Misleading information.|
|The Dogtor||Instant letters.|
|Therapy Pet||Sells certificates.|
|Touch ESA||Misleading information.|
|United Support Animals||"Official" ESA registration.|
|US Support Animals Registry||The Official (ESA) Registry|
|US Dog Registry||Sells certificates.|
|Working Service Dog||Will "register" your assistance animal.|