The need for pest-control and pest-maintenance is ongoing for home owners and business managers alike.
These service are vital, but unfortunately aren’t always performed by the most reputable of companies.
Sadly, pest control scams proliferate the industry’s landscape as it does many others in today’s world.
Separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, might take little time, but in the long run, will reveal the parting of the clouds and the true blue of the sky when it comes to who can be trusted and who cannot.
A Few Relevant Statistics
According to recent statistics, there are 26,659 total pest control companies operating within in the United States.
Additionally, the pest control industry employs an estimated 121,472 persons.
The American public spends around $6.5 billion annually on services performed by more than 18, 000 companies.
The majority of these pest control and pest-maintenance enterprises are above board, but consumers must be wary of scammers who live and breathe only to cheat them out of honest, reliable services and their hard-earned money.
A Few Common Pest Control Scams To Look Out For
The following represent some of the more popular pest scams from across the country. Watch out for the following:
1. Free Inspection
This is a hard one because some legitimate companies do offer free inspections as part of their service package.
The difference lies in the initial approach. A company in good standing will only offer this at the request of the homeowner.
A scammer, however, will ring the bell and present it as an amazing free offer out of the blue.
If a homeowner agrees without heeding that old adage about if something seems too good to be true it usually is, the scammer will always finds evidence of an infestation even if he or she has to manufacture it by sprinkling some dead bugs around.
Always ask for a business card and check ta new company out. You will most likely throw it away after you do so.
2. Automatic Contract Renewal
This is tricky because it usually occurs after a job is done.
The technician conjures an annual contract and asks for a signature, making sure to inform the home-owner that it MAY renew automatically at the end of the year.
It’s a red flag that the contract wasn’t mentioned until after the job was completed, and homeowners should not respond to feeling pressured to sign anything.
Wording in contracts can be deliberately misleading and vague and once a home owner signs, well, the scam ship has already sailed.
3. The Technician Switch
This scam is very prevalent when consumers use pest control companies that advertise online.
States have specific laws about pest control operations and the certification required to perform such tasks.
To appear legitimate and get around this hurdle, a company will send out a trained and licensed technician to asses the job in question, but when treatment time comes, another technician arrives at the door without a license or certifications.
Always ask for and check credentials. The money you lose if you don’t, may well be your own.
4. The Door-To Door Pest Technician
In this particular operation, a salesman dressed as a technician and equipped with a name badge knocks on the door of an unsuspecting home owner.
This con artist often comes equipped with props, such as dead bugs he claims to have found on the property that were never there is the first place.
It should also be noted that this scam can be even worse than others, as the bogus technician may actually be a potential burglar trying to check out valuables to steal.
5. Ambiguous Or Surprise Pricing
This is a dishonest and despicable practice in which a service is performed, but at a much higher price than could ever be considered fair.
There are two ways this can happen; in one instance a company gives a certain price, which is agreed upon, and then bills for another much higher price.
The other concerns telling the home owner that they can’t know the exact price of the job until after the job is done.
Alway get an estimate in writing and avoid these thieves as you would a warning about the onset of bubonic plague!
6. The Endless Contract
Some disreputable companies will always claim that there are still insects remaining after treatment, and that the homeowner must continue to pay for their services.
They will also do a poor job, which will insure that there will always be surviving pests.
The one way to avoid this scam is to take the extra time to read every single word of the contract and make sure that you as a home owner understand everything you will have to pay for.
7. The Green Pest Control Company
There are companies that will claim their products are ‘green’ or ‘natural’ or free of pesticides, but the problem is that for the most part, they do not work and aren’t what they claim to be.
There is no government regulation for “green’ or ‘natural’ and this provides an opening for scammers because they don’t have to support their claims.
How To Avoid Falling For Disreputable Pest Control Scammers
The following tips will help educate home owners about how to avoid falling into the hands of disreputable scammers.
Carefully Check The Pest Control License
Via the internet, any company’s veracity can be ascertained.
A homeowner should also go a bit further by contacting their city or municipality’s regulatory agency to verify a license, and then one more time when the technician arrives at the home.
Verify a Pest-Control Company’s Insurance
Although specifics may vary from state to state, pest-control and pest management companies are usually required to buy liability insurance.
One way to distinguish a reputable company from one that isn’t is to notice whether they have purchased a bit more insurance than the barest minimum.
This can extend to property damage, personal injury or professional liability. A home owner should check these documents before permitting a technician to spray anything in their home.
Always Get A Second Opinion On Pest Control
Free consultations are nice, but from a disreputable company, they provide an avenue for deception.
One way to avoid getting caught in an expensive web is to always get a second opinion from others, like the expert technicians at Pestco.
Take Time To Read A Contract Carefully
It should be noted that a qualified technician can usually resolve most infestation issues with just a single application.
Avoid signing any contract that extends beyond the initial service appointment.
If more than one visit is required, a company has an obligation to explain to the home owner why it is necessary.
Read The Company’s Google And Other Reviews
Any reputable pest control company should have a web page, which usually contains company reviews made by consumers who have used their services in the past and/or have a stellar Google Business Profile.
Bad reviews are easily found via Google and The Better Business Bureau, as a company cannot regulate or influence those.
Dig a little deeper to avoid a potentially costly hole.
The Most Reliable Pittsburgh Pest Control Services
Founded in 1948, we are a five-star, family-run and operated, Quality Pro-Certified pest control and pest-maintenance company that offers the very best and friendliest services that money can buy for both commercial and residential spaces plagued with pest infestations of all types throughout all of Greater Pittsburgh.
Our technicians are highly trained, and they understand that no two infestations are alike and each presents its own set of challenges, which they are always prepared to meet head on.
The sight of creepy crawlies, whatever they may be, can be upsetting for any type of business or private residence.
Phobias about spiders and other bugs abound, and the potential of an allergic reaction to a stinging insect, rat or bat, is very real.
In addition, the presence of pests in a business can ruin reputations and affect bottom lines. In homes, these pests affect peace of mind and create anxiety.
Without specific and very aggressive pest control measures, most insect pests reproduce very rapidly.
Cockroaches, fleas, bedbugs, ants, gnats and fruit flies can easily multiply, almost to the point of no return.
Action must be taken swiftly and effectively as many insects are health hazards and spread filth and disease.
Our goal is to offer eco-sensitive strategies and solutions to permanently eliminate pest populations for Allegheny County homes and businesses.
Our enduring success is due at least in part to the innovative spirit of the company powers-that-be who are always seeking new and better pest-control and pest-management solutions and pushing that proverbial envelope beyond customer expectations.
Homeowners can be assured we stand firmly behind our five-star reputation and that they will be treated fairly and efficiently!
Call our teams today.
Photo Credits: Pixabay