Pettable vs ESA Doctors: Online ESA Letter Services Review [2022]

If you are looking for an ESA Letter for housing, you are in luck. There are numerous emotional support animal letter providers out there to take advantage of. The best part? Many of these platforms conveniently offer their services online. That said, not all emotional support animal letter providers were created equal. Below we will…

emotional support dog

If you are looking for an ESA Letter for housing, you are in luck. There are numerous emotional support animal letter providers out there to take advantage of. The best part? Many of these platforms conveniently offer their services online.

That said, not all emotional support animal letter providers were created equal. Below we will discuss two of the most popular ESA letter providers available online, Pettable and ESA Doctors, and the pros and cons of each of these services. Let’s get started!

Who is Pettable? 

Founded by mental health and animal experts, Pettable has established a top-notch reputation for itself in a short amount of time. The company was launched by Doug Reffue, an individual who personally experienced the healing benefits of emotional support animals. Since this passion project has been launched, Pettable has helped out over 10,000 emotional support animal owners in a few short years. Fully compliant with federal and state laws, this service has also been endorsed by Fox, NBC, USA Today, CBS, and more. 

Pettable

The process of obtaining an ESA Letter through Pettable is convenient and stress-free. Interested emotional support animal owners begin by taking a quick, three-minute survey to provide Pettable with some preliminary information about you, where you live, how many emotional support animals you would like certified, etc. Based on the survey results, clients will then get matched with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) that suits their needs. During a phone consultation, a licensed therapist will conclude whether or not they believe a client is qualified for an emotional support animal, and whether or not an emotional support animal is the best course of treatment for the client. 

While there are many benefits to using Pettable, two of the biggest standout features of this platform are its full money-back guarantee and its tireless customer service team. If a licensed mental health professional determines that a client is not fit for an emotional support animal, the client will receive a full refund. Many online platforms will charge a fee for a licensed mental health professional consultation, but Pettable’s services are 100% risk-free and in the interest of the client. Secondly, Pettable’s devoted customer service team is easy to contact through phone or live chat on their website. To top that off, this team is extremely knowledgeable about emotional support animal laws and is willing to help out their customers even after they have received an ESA letter. Got a problem with your landlord? Pettable’s team will save you the headache and talk to them for you! All of these benefits are included in Pettable’s base fee.

Pettable-ESA letter

Pros:

  • This platform has a convenient and easy-to-use online system
  • Customers can receive their ESA Letter within 24 hours of their LMHP consultation
  • Pettable was founded by passionate mental health experts and animal lovers
  • This company has an extensive network of licensed medical professionals for clients in every state
  • If clients are not deemed fit for an ESA then they will receive a full refund
  • Pettable’s customer service team will help clients in every way that they can

Cons:

  • Customers must make their base payment before their LMHP evaluation
  • Pettable will send out marketing emails to their clients (but clients can opt out by unsubscribing) 

Bottom Line: With its full money-back guarantee and unparalleled customer support, Pettable is not just a reliable service, but a loyal company that will go above and beyond to put its client’s needs first. 

Who is ESA Doctors?

Similar to Pettable, ESA Doctors is another online service that interested parties can turn to to obtain a legitimate ESA letter. In more ways than one, ESA Doctors is committed to providing individuals who are suffering from a mental or emotional disability with the support that they need. Not only does ESA Doctors provide information about mental disorders and emotional disabilities on their official website, but it also donates a portion of its profits to animal welfare causes. Another benefit of this platform is that it provides customers with the base pricing information upfront. While costs may go up, depending on what services the client opts for, all ESA Doctor plans start at $99.99. 

ESA Doctors

ESA Doctors’ online process is fairly easy to use. Customers will also fill out an initial, 10-minute survey answering basic personal questions. These details will then be passed onto a mental health professional who will evaluate and determine your eligibility for the letter. After a video call consultation, an LMHP will determine whether or not a client is eligible for an ESA. If the therapist deems the client qualified based on their mental health diagnosis, they will receive a digital copy of their ESA letter. While the ESA Doctors website promises that clients will receive their ESA Letter in a matter of “minutes” after their consultation is complete, it will usually take 3-5 business days. 

There are a few factors to keep in mind when using this service. While this ESA letter service does have a great customer support team, a lot of the customer support services are not included in its base fee. If a client needs emotional support when speaking with their landlord about an ESA Letter, they will need to pay extra to receive “priority support.” Additionally, some of the information on the company’s official website is slightly confusing and out of date. ESA Doctors cannot provide you with a letter that allows your ESA to fly with you on an airplane, as promised on their website, among other things. This information is out of date, as ESAs are no longer considered “service animals” under the air carrier access act.

ESA Doctors

Pros:

  • This service provides customers with a full money-back guarantee
  • The application process is straightforward
  • This service provides customers with base pricing information upfront
  • This service supports animal welfare causes through donations

Cons:

  • To receive priority support, customers must pay extra fees
  • The website includes out of date and confusing language
  • Despite promises on the website, it will take several business days to receive your ESA Letter after your consultation 

Bottom Line: ESA Doctors is a socially conscious and reliable company to turn to for an ESA Letter, but there are a few factors to keep in mind before opting for this service, particularly its additional fees and out-of-date website information. 

Rating Factors

Now that we know a little bit of information about Pettable and ESA Doctors, let’s take a deeper dive into various aspects of these two ESA letter service providers. 

Legitimacy 

When it comes to ESA service providers, there are few things more important than finding a legitimate service that abides by federal laws. Thankfully, that is not an issue with either ESA Doctors or Pettable. Both of these businesses have been accredited by Better Business Bureau (BBB). If you want to check whether or not a service is a scam or not, always confirm if it is BBB certified beforehand. 

Customer Service

While Pettable has many standout features going for it, its devoted customer service team is where it truly shines. Firstly, Pettable’s customer service team is easy to contact. Not only is their hotline readily available on their website, but the website also includes a convenient live chat feature for quick questions customers may have. An added bonus? Not only is Pettable’s customer service team tirelessly devoted to its clients, but they are also extremely savvy when it comes to ESA laws and the fair housing act. If a client experiences any difficulties with a stubborn landlord, or if they have any questions about their rights as an ESA owner, Pettable is happy to hop on the phone and help them out in any way that they can. 

ESA Doctors has earned a name for itself by protecting the rights of their clients as emotional support animal owners. This includes protecting their clients from additional fees, increased rent, and discrimination. However, this protection does come at a cost. If clients wish to receive “priority support” from this service, they do need to pay additional fees to receive this assistance. 

Turnaround Time

If speed is a priority for you, then Pettable is a great ESA service for you. Clients can opt for a streamlined service package and can get an ESA letter from Pettable within 24 hours of their consultation. 

One of the downsides of opting for ESA Doctors is that they do have a slightly longer turnaround time relative to other services. Customers usually need to wait around 3-5 business days before receiving their letter. 

Reliability

Not only is Pettable a legitimate service, but its website is also extremely reliable. The laws and rights surrounding ESAs and their owners are constantly changing and Pettable’s website is updated with the most up-to-date information. For example, Pettable has an updated disclaimer on their website stating that California residents now need to have at least a 30-day relationship with a therapist before receiving an ESA Letter. 

On the other hand, some of ESA Doctors’ website information is extremely out of date. As of January 2021, ESAs are no longer allowed on airplanes as “service animals” under the air carrier access act. Instead, if an ESA owner wishes to bring their emotional support animal on an airplane, they must abide by the same protocol as pet owners. Yet, the ESA Doctors website, still promises emotional support animal letters that will allow ESA owners to travel with their emotional support animals in-cabin.

Licensed Medical Professional

It’s important to investigate whether or not the licensed mental health professionals who work for service are always trained and qualified. Of all the ESA letter services online, Pettable is one of the most selective with their LMHPs. Pettable will ensure that each therapist in its network has valuable experience with emotional pet support and has successfully conducted ESA evaluations in the past. Therapists will undergo rigorous training before beginning work at Pettable. Pettable will also take the necessary steps to ensure a provider’s license is clean and active and allow for a central repository so client privacy is protected to a HIPAA-compliant standard. 

It is more difficult to confirm whether or not ESA Doctors offer legitimate services. The ESA Doctors website states that the company uses answers from the initial online questionnaire to diagnose patients and evaluate their need for an ESA. If this is truly the case, then this is not a legitimate service. However, in other areas of the website, it states that this diagnosis occurs after a video chat with a certified mental health professional.

why pettable

Why we recommend Pettable

While Pettable and ESA Doctors are both legitimate online ESA Letter services who can provide a legitimate ESA letter online, Pettable trumps ESA Doctors in more than one area of critical importance. Pettable offers a speedier turnaround time with its ESA Letters and also presents customers with a more reliable website with more up-to-date information. But more importantly, Pettable has an extensive network of accredited mental health professionals in every state and a dedicated customer service team. While both services want to protect their client’s rights and do whatever they can to help them in unfamiliar situations, at ESA Doctors, this additional assistance comes at extra costs. By opting for Pettable, customers will receive a valid ESA letter from a legitimate company at a fair price.

Are Online ESA Letters Legitimate? 

It’s easy to be swept up in the confusion surrounding ESA legitimacy. Unfortunately, many online platforms prey on misinformed consumers who think they need to pay for classes and special certifications to receive an ESA letter. Here’s the good news: it’s much simpler than that. 

But the question remains, are online ESA letters valid? 

Yes! You can legitimately obtain an ESA letter 100% online. The only qualifying factor on the letter that makes it official is that it must be written and signed by a licensed mental health professional. These days, telehealth is more popular than ever, so receiving a diagnosis and recommendation from your provider online is quite feasible. 

The ESA letter services you are encountering online are likely setting you up with a licensed provider if you don’t already have one. They charge you a fee for facilitating this process. As discussed above, not all of these services are equal in legitimacy and convenience, so it is crucial to do your research first. 

What Type of Doctor Can Write an ESA Letter? 

Now you know about two organizations that provide ESA letters, but who is qualified to write one of these forms, anyway? 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the letter must come from a psychologist or licensed mental health professional. This professional must indicate that the animal provides some disability-related assistance. The letter must include the professional’s signature and the date, and the letter should be renewed once every year. 

In short, the person who writes your ESA letter must be a licensed mental health professional aware of your situation. 

These online ESA letter services processes are 100% online. All appointments with a licensed professional are conducted via telehealth. Then a legitimate ESA letter will be signed by a licensed mental health professional you’ve seen in person or over telehealth. 

How Are ESAs Protected By the Law?

There was a time when having a disability meant restricted access to certain places and little or no accommodations. Thankfully, there are laws in place now that protect an individual’s rights regarding their disability. Even so, it’s a good idea to know your rights regarding your ESA. Here is how the law protects you and your ESA in the United States: 

You should be familiar with at least one law as an ESA owner, and that is the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The FHA offers housing protection to ESA owners. According to this law, landlords and housing committees may not discriminate against you for owning an ESA. Landlords are obligated to provide you with reasonable accommodation, and they cannot charge you additional pet fees.

Bear in mind that there are exceptions to this rule. If your housing situation falls into one of these categories, it is not covered by the FHA: 

  • Single-family homes rented or sold by the owner without using an estate agent
  • Rented housing with four units or less where one unit is occupied by the owner
  • Housing owned by private religious organizations or clubs that limit accommodations to their members

As mentioned above, recent amendments to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) state that an ESA is not a service animal, and individual airlines may decide whether or not they permit ESAs on board. 

Do ESA Letters Expire? 

Yes, ESA letters do expire. Think of your ESA letter as a prescription from the doctor. Instead of prescribing a drug, your doctor is prescribing your animal for emotional support reasons. Just like any other prescription, the letter will expire. 

Your letter will be valid for one year. You will want to renew this letter to keep your dog legally recognized as an ESA in most cases. The only exception is if your ESA letter is for housing purposes- so your animal can live with you. 

In this case, showing your landlord a valid ESA letter at the beginning of your lease or when you first bring your ESA home should suffice for over a year. Typically the initial letter will permit you to live with your pet for the length of your residence there. If your landlord does ask to see an up-to-date ESA letter after a year, you may be required to produce this. 

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