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Pet Microchip choices
August 7, 2012 3:13 PM   Subscribe

My veterinarian offers HomeAgain pet microchips. The company wants a $17.99 per year fee. I find that there is also a site: RFID-USA that offers registration at a one-time expense and no yearly maintenance fee. Is this a good option in lieu of the HomeAgain continuing yearly fee.

The RFID_USA site says the charge is a one-time $21.00 fee.

Are there companies to avoid/provide poor service? It seems there are some companies no longer in business or places that once offered only proprietary chips. I want to avoid those types of problems.

I've never had a pet microchipped and have litte experience with the different companies. Any advice on best values plus best companies and best practices is greatly welcome. Plus, anything else you think would be good to know....
posted by mightshould to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
We have HomeAgain, and don't pay a yearly fee. The yearly fee gets you some of other services, but we've never paid it (except maybe the first year, as basically a one-time fee - I can't quite remember) and I've always able to log into the site and update basic information like our address after moving.

They just don't make it obvious that you don't have to pay it. It's pretty sneaky.

From their FAQ: Once entered in the HomeAgain database, microchips are registered for life, whether or not pet owners renew their annual memberships, and contact information may be updated online anytime free of charge by logging into HomeAgain.com.
posted by warble at 3:23 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have a HomeAgain chip on one of my dogs, and I only paid a one time fee.

On preview, what warble said. The annual fee is not mandatory. I've been able to login their site and update info as well.
posted by disaster77 at 3:26 PM on August 7, 2012


Maybe I'm just buying into the marketing, but I'd rather have my pet registered with one of the most common services, to increase the likelihood that they'll be identified if they're lost. Would most shelters and vets know to check that RFID-USA site if they didn't get a hit on the chip with HomeAgain?
posted by primethyme at 3:26 PM on August 7, 2012


I nth the "I don't pay the HomeAgain yearly fee" crowd. It was a one time cost, and the identification is for life.

Go with HomeAgain....
posted by HuronBob at 3:42 PM on August 7, 2012


Yeah, never paid anything but the one-time fee.
posted by greta simone at 3:47 PM on August 7, 2012


I used to work at a vet's office that sold HomeAgain chips. The annual fee is an added level of service. I know it includes a fax blast service that faxes all vets and shelters in the area if you pet is lost, along with some other things. The identification is a one-time, permanent fee. Just please make sure to keep HomeAgain updated if you move, change your phone number, or rehome your pet. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a chipped pet, but the phone number on file with HomeAgain is disconnected.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:57 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never paid an annual fee for any of my cats' chips. And I think HomeAgain is the database that most animal shelters and vets check against (if you have a HomeAgain chip), so that's the one you probably want to make sure your pet is in. If you have a Banfield or some other manufacturer's chip, you want to be in their database at a minimum.

The RFID-USA place seems ... a trifle scammy. It doesn't really require much to run a microchip database, but there's no value in it unless it's someplace that a rescuer is likely to check. And I've never heard of them. I'm pretty suspicious that they're taking your money in order to perform an INSERT against a database that nobody is likely to check, and that's basically it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:58 PM on August 7, 2012


Yeah I have HomeAgain chips in 3 animals too and the annual fee is completely optional.
posted by internet!Hannah at 4:10 PM on August 7, 2012


Nthing the no annual fee option for Home Again: my 4 cats and 1 dog have Home Again chips, I skip their value-added package but can still log into my account on the Home Again website and manage the pets' contact info and descriptions.
posted by jamaro at 4:13 PM on August 7, 2012


Rock Steady: The vet told me that all microchip services send out a fax blast. They said nothing about the value added service and I can't find a description on HomeAgain's site of exactly how the paid service differs from the free service.
posted by MonsieurBon at 5:05 PM on August 7, 2012


Rock Steady: The vet told me that all microchip services send out a fax blast. They said nothing about the value added service and I can't find a description on HomeAgain's site of exactly how the paid service differs from the free service.

Hmm. I may be wrong about what is included in the one-time fee, but I was pretty sure the fax alert thing was only for annual customers. In any case, I never recommended people pay the annual fee.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:18 PM on August 7, 2012


Also from their FAQ in the member section:

"As an existing HomeAgain client you are entitled to our basic recovery service for life. None of the new services (proactive recovery, emergency service, online health information) will be available to you unless you enroll with the new HomeAgain. There is an annual enrollment fee of $17.99. "

Personally I'm paying the fee, but then to me the $18/year is a minimal amount of money. Plus maybe that helps maintain the service for those who don't do the membership.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:56 PM on August 7, 2012


I had HomeAgain's paid service for one year for one of my cats as it was included in my vet's well-kitten bundle. IIRC, the paid service offers a plastic wallet card ID with your pet's pic and details...in case she gets carded, counseling over the phone (I presume to discuss pet recovery strategies, no idea though because I didn't have reason to call), access to a 24hr hotline staffed by an emergency vet, and a insurance policy that will pay up to a few hundred bucks to reimburse air travel for the pet's flight home. They also make and email color Lost Pet posters to local vets and shelters.

The other thing they do is everyone who signs up for the paid service is asked if they would like to join their rescuer network. If you say yes, you occasionally receive emails about other local people's lost pets (description, details of how/when the pet was lost, pics of the pet). In turn if your pet was lost, it's her photo and description that is getting emailed to fellow HomeAgain subscribers in the area.
posted by jamaro at 6:11 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah the Home Again fee is kindof a scam...well not a scam, but they don't make it clear that you don't have to pay for the subscription.
posted by radioamy at 8:43 PM on August 7, 2012


Just please make sure to keep HomeAgain updated if you move, change your phone number, or rehome your pet.

Good luck with that. We recently had to re-home a dog we had chipped/registered with Home Again. The registration was quick and simple. However, I discovered that there was no possible way to delete or change the registration if you no longer have the pet. None. The pet was forever linked to you, your phone number, your address, etc.

And I could find no way to contact any form of customer service. I was met with dead phone numbers and no link on their website.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:11 AM on August 8, 2012


And I could find no way to contact any form of customer service. I was met with dead phone numbers and no link on their website.

Hmm. I've never tried to do it myself, so I don't know about that, but I can't say I'm exactly surprised, based on my experience with HomeAgain customer service from the pet-finder's end of it.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:56 AM on August 8, 2012


My vet offers the ResQ chip, which I believe is made by Bayer. I only paid the fee to have the chip implanted and registered, and I've never had to pay any other fees.
posted by tckma at 6:42 AM on August 8, 2012


Thanks for the clarifications and discussions. I'm glad to gain a bit of insight into the chips and companies. I'll update when it's a done deal. Thanks again.
posted by mightshould at 5:26 PM on August 8, 2012


PetLink has been great and sends us update notifications regularly just in case we neglect to keep all our records updated if we should need to reconnect with our pet. I have heard good things and trust they would do great.
posted by kanaan_minks at 11:04 PM on August 8, 2012


Ms. Nibs received the HomeAgain chip from her vet.

I went through the HomeAgain registration website information and reached the point where I had entered my credit card info and had to either check or not check a box that said I agreed to not only them charging the one-time fee, but also to the annual renewal fee via that credit card. I didn't complete that transaction. I'll send a check via snailmail instead and mark out the form. I found the HomeAgain website to be very scammy, indeed.

I'm also going to delve into registering with PetLink as suggested above.

Will update after the snailmail is completed and I can access her chip number via their website.
posted by mightshould at 12:40 PM on August 13, 2012


I received notification via the email address I submitted via snailmail that the chip was registered. I then went online and set up an account. So, it was successful.

The account information does say it has a renewal in one year, so that question remains open. I will try and remember to update this next year if there are any difficulties encountered if I don't pay an annual maintenance fee.
posted by mightshould at 7:52 AM on October 17, 2012


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