How to choose the best ESA letter for your needs
We get calls nearly every day from Irvine, California customers looking to purchase their first emotional support animal letter. Many of them have the same goal in mind: “I would like to get a good and cheap ESA letter.”
“Good and cheap.” Those two words actually contradict themselves. After all, in today’s market, you get what you pay for. And if you focus solely on the price tag – and do not research what you’re purchasing –you willmore than likelybe disappointed with some aspect of your emotional support animal letter.
Before you shop for an emotional support animal letter
At the end of the day, we’re all consumers, and no one wants to spend more than is necessary. But as ESA professionals, we urge anyone interested in their first emotional support animal letter to do some homework.
So, now that you’ve decided you can’t live without Fido or Fluffy, a legitimate ESA letter has many great benefits. But with so many choices and options available, how do you know which online ESA company is right for you?
We’ve shopped around and honestly would not buy an ESA letter from another online vendor. Why? On a dare, we got one company to go along with certifying our emotional support animal, Bigfoot, an 11-ton elephant, and have received downright fraudulent letters written by out-of-state therapists.
Frankly, some of these letters would not get your ESA past the doorman.
We’ve reviewed those ESA ads that show up next to your Google search and determined that nearly every ESA vendors engaged in pay-per click advertising is suspect — bogus information, fraudulent practices, sketchy letters.
We feel your pain, we do.
So, before you begin to shop, read our top seven mistakes to avoid when buying an ESA letter. Sometimes knowing what NOT to do is just as important as knowing what TO do!
MISTAKE 1: Buy a Irvine, California emotional support animal letter based on price alone
We know your budget is important, but make sure you get letter that will be recognized and accepted is key. While an entry-level ESA letter might be better on your budget now, there’s a very good chance it will be denied, likely resulting in costly expenses right around the corner.
If you think you can spend $22 on “quality mental health care,”like those dirt cheap letters you can easily find online, we wish you the best of luck. Once you submit a bogus dirt-cheap letter readily found online, and that accommodation request is (rightly) denied, you just raised one heck of a big red flag — and one tough obstacle to overcome.
MISTAKE 2: Make sure to know who you’re dealing with
Examine the company’s website. Do they list an address? Be sure to Google that address and you’re likely to find many ESA vendors operate from a Post Office box in a UPS store.
- Did you Google Map the location?
- Was the location an actual office?
- Actual corporate identity listed?
- Can you determine the corporate ownership?
- Who owns the company?
MISTAKE 3: Hello, is anyone there?
So, if I was shopping online, I’d make sure I could speak with someone. That’s the number one rule — talk to someone, and when (if) you get them on the phone, ask the following:
- The location (city) of their clinician(s). Make sure your referring therapist is based and licensed within your state.
- Ask for theESA vendor’s business address. I would verify their location andclosely examine their reviews.
- Do they list a telephone number?
- Did they answer the phone?
- Was the call center U.S.-based?
MISTAKE 4: Security and privacy matter a lot to us, and it should to you also
The last thing you need to hear is that your credit card information has been compromised. That’s why we’ve gone through the time-consuming and costly process of being vetted and certified with Norton Secured. Our service meets the highest standards for protecting consumer information.
Unfortunately, most all other ESA vendors will just illegally include the Norton Secured Seal logo (making you believe they’re certified).
So, how do you know the difference? Simply click the logo. Does it do anything (i.e. take you to the Norton site and show the vendor’s information)?
- Are third-party security logos (Norton, McAfee) clickable?
- For California residents, does the vendor have a California Privacy Rights policy?
- Have you run a "Who IS" on the domain, determining ownership and location?
- Is the domain privacy protected?
MISTAKE 5: Know your therapist
We offer access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC).
Our therapists are licensed and reside in Spain.
- Does the therapist practice and reside in Spain?
- Is the therapist located within a reasonable distance from your residence?
- Does the vendor offer additional counseling services?
- Did you Google your therapist and find unfavorable media reports?
MISTAKE 6: Ignoring HIPAA requirements
We are obsessed about securing your privacy and confidentiality. We have built a state-of-the-art technology, operation, and infrastructure with one thing in mind: protecting your privacy and safeguarding the information you provide.
According to HIPAA, the law that governs patient information, businesses that handle EPHI (electronic personal health information) are required “to have contracts or other arrangements with business associates that will have access to the covered entity’s electronic protected health information (EPHI).”
In short, this means vendors MUST have a signed Business Associates Agreement (BAA) with every organization that comes into contact with EPHI data for which you are considered a “covered entity.”
- Do they have a published HIPAA compliance statement?
- What are their policies in case of a data breach?
- Who has access to your protected health information?
- What kinds of physical security safeguards are in place?
- What cybersecurity solutions have been implemented?
MISTAKE 7: Taking reviews at face value
Most review sites like TrustPilot and SiteJabber allow fake reviews to be posted all the time. This means that anyone can post a 5-star review with no validation or verification.
The incentives for allowing these fake kudos go beyond making a company look good. For each review and each additional comment, ESA vendors can claim more visits, more traffic, and more sales, which means more money for them.
Here are some dead giveaways that the reviews you’re reading is not real:
- A deluge of reviews posted in a short amount of time.
- Look for overuse of “I” and “me” and a lot of verbs.
- Look for phrase repetition.
- Watch out for generic names and/or photo-less profiles.
- Dig deeper into the reviewer profile.
- Look at the middle-of-the-road reviews.
- When in doubt, reach out.
BONUS MISTAKE! Choose a company that doesn’t offer support
Take these common mistakes into consideration to ensure you choose the best emotional support animal letter for your current and future needs. You can also lean on the professionals at ESAD. We ask the right questions to get to know you and your needs before we make recommendations. With this, you can be confident that you’ve made a wise investment.
- We employ cutting-edge technology to protect your financial and mental health information. Your purchase is protected by Norton and we use Stripe (the best in the biz) as our credit card processor.
- Our intake exam is comprehensive … there’s no shortcut. If you’re not in need, trying to save a few bucks on rent deposits, or the such, you probably should shop elsewhere.
- We empower our therapists to say no. Highly trained and familiar with ESA laws and requirements, our clinicians are compensated regardless of the assessment outcome, so there’s no financial benefit to pump out letters.
- Developed by attorneys and fair housing experts familiar with federal law, our ESA letters are recognized as being the best in the business.