Lawsuit against popular Wag! pet service alleges false advertising
by Connie Thompson | KOMO News Wednesday, August 14th 2019
New York attorney Susan Lask initiated the lawsuit in court last month, but officially served the company an amended complaint on August 13.
“They can’t distance themselves. They can’t say these people are trustworthy, vetted and investigated,” Lask said.
The California company behind the popular dog walking app Wag! was formally served a lawsuit Tuesday, claiming the fine print in its Terms of Service contradicts everything the company advertises.
The suit, filed in the Eastern District of New York, goes after Wag Labs, Inc. for it’s website marketing that promotes trusted dog walkers, trusted dog sitters, and trusted dog boarders, who are both pre-screened and insured.
Pet owners use the Wag! app to connect with nearby strangers offering to take the job. But, Lask says based on consumer complaints, many of which have been publicized in news reports and social media, many of those strangers are not nearly as vetted, trained or trustworthy as consumers are led to believe by the marketing.
The lawsuit points to fine print in Wag’s! terms of service, stating that Wag! has no control over the conduct of it’s dog walkers and disclaims all liability for anything that occurs by the pet provider.
‘We have nothing to do with these walkers! We are not liable if anything happens! You’re at your own risk’!” Lask said.
The lawsuit documents complaints from pet owners whose say their damage and compensation claims were rejected after their pets were mishandled, neglected or killed while in a Wag provider’s care.
Lask says when consumers persist and make noise, they’re contractually bound not to discuss it, or give negative ratings to the dog walker or sitter on the Wag! website
“In the lawsuit, we’re asking for Wag! to be responsible to every consumer that’s been misled,” Lask said. She also wants Wag! to change it’s marketing and make it’s terms of service more transparent. “I want that terms of service front and center,” said Lask. She’d also like to see cities and state laws start requiting gig-economy dog walkers and sitters to be trained, licensed and bonded.
“If you’re making a business out of this, you’d better be licensed, bonded and insured, part-time or full-time, before you knock on someone’s door and take their live animal into your hands,” Lask said.
When reached for comment, a Wag! spokesperson replied by email with the following statement:
“While we don’t comment on pending litigation, ensuring the safety and security of all those who use the Wag! platform is of utmost importance to us. Every day, thousands of pets are cared for using the Wag! platform. Accidents and incidents are rare, but we know the impact even one can have on the family involved. We are committed to the safety and security of our platform, and you can learn more about our Trust & Safety measures here.”