October 6th, 2013

Bad Grooming Experience

I have a 4 year old shih-tzu named Charlie. I usually take him to a great groomer who I recommend left and right, which backfired when I couldn't get an appointment booked for almost 2 months. LOL I know, I should have pre-booked....shame on me.

Anyway, so I called around to see who had an opening and I got an appointment with a local groomer.
I asked what she charged for a shave-down, nail clip, ears cleaned, and of course, bath. She said "I charge about $50 for that, but the price may go up a little if he is very difficult to groom or is severely matted. "

Ok, so about my dog:
-Not matted, but a few knots forming on his belly that I didn't want to attack because I know how sensitive that area is. I brush him very regularly, and he's never formed "mats". I keep his coat pretty short to prevent it.
-He's EXTREMELY docile and easy to handle. I've shaved him down myself and he literally slept through almost the entire thing. It made such a mess and took a while so I decided not to do it again. He LOVES getting baths, and even lets me blow dry him. He barely even flinches at the VET. He's very calm. The only thing he doesn't like is getting his nails clipped, but he doesn't growl or anything. He just keeps pulling his paw away and sometimes he whimpers a bit. I've taken him to 4 groomers since I've gotten him as a puppy and I've never once gotten a bad review on his temperament.

The day he got groomed, I had to work. I sent my mother in to pick him up and gave her a blank check to pay for the grooming.
My mother called me at work and told me I was charged...wait for it.... NINETY DOLLARS. $90. Uh, WHAT?! My mother said the groomer claimed Charlie was very aggressive, snapped at her, and growled through his entire session.

I called the groomer and asked what she based this high price on.
She repeated what she said to my mother, and I explained that I'd never heard of this kind of behavior from any of the other groomers. I asked if she had another staff member who could confirm that he behaved badly, and she said no. She was working alone. She then went on to say " I understand that people all think their dog is a perfect angel, but while Charlie is cute, he's very aggressive. I explained my pricing to you when you made the appointment."
So I said "Right. You said the price may go up A LITTLE.... Almost doubling it is not 'a little' ".
She said "That's my price. Sorry" and rushed me off the phone claiming she had another appointment.
I get home and while Charlie looks cute, I discovered his ears weren't cleaned, and his nails weren't even touched.
And then, I noticed he has a small nick on his belly from the clippers.

I tried to call again, and there was no answer. I left a message explaining that I felt I was entitled to AT LEAST be able to come back with him and have the job finished without being charged again, since that's what I'd asked for originally. I also mentioned the nick.

She called back a little while later and said "Look, I get that you're upset because you have to pay more for your dog because of  his temperament, but I'm not giving out free grooming services."
So I again mentioned that I requested these services originally and they weren't done, and I paid almost double for half the job. I told her I felt this was extremely unfair, and that I found it a little sketchy that she raises her prices so dramatically based on temperament, especially when that's something no one can confirm. I'm being asked to pay for something based on her word. I told her that I understood that sometimes dogs don't take kindly to new groomers, but I found it very hard to believe he was as aggressive as she reported.  I could see paying $10 or maybe even $20 in an extreme case, but to charge $40 more than you estimated was absolutely ridiculous.

She said she wasn't giving me a refund (I never asked for one.. I simply asked that the job be finished) and that I had to accept the fact that I may be charged more for services for such an aggressive animal. She said that if I was unhappy with the pricing or service, then maybe I should seek grooming services with someone who is "more in your price range"  She then told me she had to get off to finish another appointment stating "Her other client's time is just as valuable".

So. I'm not really sure what to do. I feel calling her again will not benefit me, but I would like to give one more chance, since I really feel this is unfair and I want to believe that people want to run a good business especially since she is relatively new to the area. All I want is the job finished, and I don't feel I should have to pay all over again. Should I call again? Or should I just write a review on her FB page/yelp/etc.????