Is CertaPet Legit? A Comprehensive Analysis of ESA Letters (2023)

Is CertaPet Legit

In recent years, the demand for emotional support animals has skyrocketed. These much-beloved pets provide mental health support and companionship to individuals coping with psychological conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and even learning disabilities. But to get all the benefits of having an emotional support animal, you must get a certified ESA letter. These therapist-issued certifications grant you and your emotional support animal potent legal protections and rights, from preventing discrimination by landlords to facilitating air travel.

Due to the obvious value of these support animals, the number of available ESA letter providers has similarly exploded. Although this increases the options for securing a valid letter, it has also led to concerns about the legitimacy of some of these companies.

CertaPet is one such company. While they claim to offer comprehensive ESA letter services, our question is simple: "Is CertaPet legit?" To find an answer, we’ll explore CertaPet's services, compliance with federal regulations, customer reviews, and how they compare to other ESA letter providers.

Understanding Emotional Support Animals and ESA Letters

Before delving into the legitimacy of CertaPet, it is essential to understand ESAs and the purpose of an emotional support animal letter.

What are Emotional Support Animals? 

ESAs are animals that help people with an emotional or mental disability, like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, to manage symptoms and feel more supported. Unlike service animals, ESAs aren’t required to undergo special training because simply being around them makes their owner feel better.

What is an ESA Letter?

Once a licensed mental health professional confirms a person's need for an ESA due to a mental or emotional disability, they will approve and write an ESA letter. The letter must be dated, include the mental health professional’s license number, and be written on the professional's letterhead. Owners must obtain a valid ESA letter to use the rights and protections that come with emotional support animals. 

Legal Rights and Protections of ESA Owners

ESA owners have certain legal rights and protections under the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act. The FHA allows individuals with ESAs to live in housing units with no-pet policies, and, while the ACAA previously permitted emotional service animals to accompany their owners in the cabin of an aircraft without additional fees, this privilege has since been restricted to service animals. Nonetheless, obtaining an ESA letter is often an important step toward securing service animal certification for your pet.

CertaPet: Company Overview and Services

CertaPet is an online service that puts people who need ESA letters in touch with licensed mental health professionals. Established with the mission to improve access to mental health services, CertaPet has become a popular choice for obtaining ESA letters.

Services Offered

CertaPet specializes in providing ESA letters, which can be used for housing and travel purposes. They also provide information and guidance about emotional support animals and mental health.

ESA Letter Process

Although some ESA letter providers require extensive paperwork or preparation, CertaPet's process involves three steps:

  1. Application: The individual completes a free, confidential online assessment to determine their eligibility for an ESA letter.

  2. Mental Health Professional Evaluation: If eligible, CertaPet connects the applicant with a licensed mental health professional within their state for further evaluation.

  3. Delivery: Once approved, the applicant receives a digital and physical copy of their ESA letter, which is signed by the mental health professional and includes all the legally-required information.

CertaPet's Compliance with Federal Regulations

To determine if CertaPet is a credible ESA letter provider, we must examine how well it follows federal rules regarding assistance animals, specifically the FHA and ACAA.

Fair Housing Act (FHA)

CertaPet's ESA letters adhere to FHA guidelines by ensuring that the licensed mental health professional responsible for composing the letter is licensed to practice in the applicant's home state. The letter is valid in the eyes of the FHA because it has the mental health professional’s license number, signature, and letterhead.

Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)

CertaPet's ESA letters meet the requirements of the ACAA. Although airlines are no longer required to allow ESAs to ride in the cabin of commercial flights, obtaining an ESA letter is often the first step toward certifying your pet as a psychiatric service animal. Once you complete this second step, you and your pet are fully protected under the ACAA. Also, CertaPet offers help navigating airline policies related to ESAs.

Licensed Mental Health Professionals

CertaPet works with a network of licensed mental health professionals, such as psychologists, therapists, and counselors, qualified to evaluate clients and approve ESA letters if appropriate. By maintaining a broad network of such professionals, CertaPet can match customers with a mental health professional from their home state.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

CertaPet's customer reviews and testimonials can provide valuable information about whether the company is trustworthy.

Reviews and Ratings

CertaPet has earned positive reviews on several platforms, including Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). These reviews frequently highlight the simplicity and efficiency of the process, as well as the responsiveness of CertaPet's customer service team.

Balanced Testimonials

While most reviews are positive, considering the negative ones is essential to forming a balanced perspective. Some customers have encountered delays in receiving their letters or faced challenges with airlines' handling of certain situations. Even so, reviews acknowledge that CertaPet's customer service team addresses such concerns in a timely manner.

Comparing CertaPet to Other ESA Letter Providers

To better understand CertaPet's legitimacy, we’ve compared their services and credentials to those of other well-known ESA letter providers.

Emotional Pet Support

While Emotional Pet Support provides similar ESA letter options to CertaPet, they do so at a slightly lower price point. Unfortunately, this lower expense comes at the cost of reliability, as their customer service is below standard, and their refund policy is unclear at best. Even more concerning is the fact that their website lacks the necessary information to make an informed, accurate decision about whether Emotional Pet Support is right for you.

ESA Doctor

Like other online ESA letter providers, ESA Doctor meets all of the necessary regulations to approve and issue legitimate ESA letters. While this company’s services are marginally more expensive than CertaPet and other competitors, reviews indicate that ESA Doctor maintains an excellent customer service team. ESA Doctor also boasts a higher approval rate than some other letter providers.

Mango Clinic

Unlike other, more specialized ESA letter services, Mango Clinic is more akin to a traditional medical service provider. Even so, they offer help and guidance for those seeking an ESA letter. While their pricing is on par with CertaPet’s, they lack a convincing satisfaction guarantee. This quality, combined with the fact that they do not specialize in ESA letter approval, makes them a questionable choice.

Why We Recommend Pettable Instead

Pettable is a top-notch ESA letter service that stands out from its competitors, including CertaPet. Unlike CertaPet, Pettable offers a full money-back guarantee in case customers are unhappy with their services for any reason. This means that if a landlord reject an ESA letter, customers can receive a refund or have their letter revised at no additional cost. This level of customer satisfaction demonstrates Pettable’s dedication to providing the best service possible.

Pettable also goes above and beyond just offering ESA letters. The company also provides PSD training and certification, which can be a great relief for those needing a service animal for reasons beyond emotional support, such as a physical or psychiatric disability. With Pettable, customers can rest assured that they are getting the proper documentation they need.

Final Thoughts

After comparing CertaPet's services, compliance with federal rules, and customer reviews to competitors, it’s clear that CertaPet is a legitimate and trustworthy ESA letter provider. They abide by legal guidelines, collaborate with skilled mental health experts, and boast a solid track record of satisfied customers.

As with any service, potential users should conduct their own research and make educated choices based on their individual needs and situations. Although CertaPet is a fantastic choice, Pettable stands out as the top service for obtaining your ESA letter, owing to its customer satisfaction guarantee and expanded range of services.