A couple seeking quality sitters for their pets sadly ended up with a murky fish tank, a mischarged bill and now a legal lawsuit.
Robert and Michelle Duchouquette, of Plano, Texas, used business rating site Yelp to help them choose quality pet sitters to care for their two canines and fish while they were out of state. According to KTVT-TV, the couple ultimately chose the company Prestigious Pets in Dallas based on their positive reviews on Yelp.
After reading through some of Prestigious Pets’ business policies, Michelle had some concerns. She wrote in her review on Yelp:
“The walker would not share her phone number and said any communications had to be emailed through the company. Since their hours are M-F 9am-4pm or Sat. 11 am-3pm and closed Sunday, this leaves a lot of time where you cannot contact your walker if needed.”
Desperate to find a sitter, Michelle signed the contract anyway as she needed to find someone to care for her animals while away on their trip. While traveling, the Duchouquettes were able to see their fish tank on a video feed and noticed that the water in the aquarium was cloudy. The quality of the service was a bit of a disappointment for Michelle who also noted that their billing was incorrect.
The couple went on to write a negative review for the business, giving them a one-star rating on Yelp. Prestigious Pets was not happy and cited their efforts to communicate company policies when pet owners meet the sitter. The owner of the company wrote:
“Transparency is extremely important to us. We would much rather be turned down initially, than accept business that may potentially disappoint our customers.”
Consequently, the Duchouquettes received a cease-and-desist letter and were slammed with a lawsuit by Prestigious Pets soon after. The pet sitting company is seeking over $6,700 in damages and claim that the couple violated a non-disparagement clause in their contract. The owner of the company wrote in an email to the TV station:
“We are honest people seeking protection from dishonest individuals, not other honest ones. Fair and honest feedback is not the issue here.”