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.” Documentation submitted on the basis of a single visit to a health care provider solely to obtain a “doctor’s note” will generally be rejected.
In addition to letters sold for a fee being banned, HUD recommends along with an ongoing treating relationship, the treating provider must have personal knowledge of the client's disability. Our good faith understanding of these Fair Housing principles calls into question many vendors in this market space.
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.”
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.
The Vendor-Suggested Blacklist.
|American Service Pets||American Service Pets||"Over one million qualified."|
|Animal Companions||Animal Companions||"Signed letter in less then 10 minutes."|
|Certapet||Certapet||Sells $149 letters.|
|Chilhowee Psychological Services||Chilhowee Psychological Services>||Appears not to comply with HUD FHEO 2020 guidance.|
|Emotional Pet Support||Emotional Pet Support||Sells $99 letters.|
|Emotional Support Animal center||Emotional Support Animal Center||Sells certificates.|
|Emotional Support Animal Co||Emotional Support Animal Co.||Misleading information.|
|ESA Letter||ESA Letter||Sells $99 letter.|
|ESAAnimals||ESA Amimals||Sells $99 letters.|
|ESADoctors.com||ESA Doctors||Sells $149 assessment.|
|ESARegistration.org||ESA Registration||Sells "hassle free emotional support animal registration and supplies."|
|ExpressPetCertify.com||Express Pet Certify||Sells $99 letters.|
|EZCareclinic.com||EZ Care Clinic||Appears not to comply with HUD FHEO 2020 guidance.|
|Federal Service Dog Registration||Federal Service Dog Registration||Offers free registration.|
|Free My Paws||Free My Paws||Sells ID cards.|
|GetESA||Get ESA||Sells $99 letters.|
|InstantESA||Instant ESA Letters||Pet registration, certificates, etc.|
|Mango Clinic||Mango Clinic||Appears not to comply with HUD FHEO 2020 guidance.|
|Moosh Me||Moosh Me||Misleading information.|
|My ESA Doctor||MyESADoctor||Sells $98 letters.|
|NSARCO.com||NSARCO||National registry database.|
|OfficialServiceDogRegistry.com||Official Service Dog Registry||Sells "instant" registration letters.|
|OfficialServiceDogRegistry.com||Official Service Dog Registry||Dog registration.|
|Online Dogtor||Online Dogtor||Misleading information.|
|PDS Center||PDS Center||Sells $98 letters.|
|Pet Psych Center||Pet Psych Center||"Each questionnaire followed up with an opt-in call."|
|PrescribeMyPet.com||Prescribe My Pet||$45 prescription letters.|
|Real ESA Letter||Real ESA Letter||Misleading information.|
|Support Dog Certificates||Service Dog Certification||Misleading information.|
|Support Pets||Support Pets||Misleading information.|
|Thedogtor.net||The Dogtor||Instant letters.|
|Therapypet.org||Therapy Pet||Sells certificates.|
|Therapypet.org||Therapy Pet||Appears not to comply with HIPAA or HUD FHEO 2020 guidance.|
|TouchESA.com||Touch ESA||Misleading information.|
|United Support Animals||United Support Animals||"Official" ESA registration.|
|USA Service Dog Registration||USA Service Dog Registration||Wants to register your dog in three steps.|
|USA Service Dog Registration||USA Service Dog Registration||Wants to register your dog in three steps. Bogus.|
|USA Service Dogs||USA Service Dogs||#1 Online ESA registry.|
|USA Service Dogs||USA Service Dogs||#1 Online ESA registry. Bogus.|
|USDogRegistry.org||US Dog Registry||Sells certificates.|
|Working Service Dog||Working Service Dog||Will "register" your assistance animal.|