When you discover an infestation of spiders, ants, roaches, mosquitoes, or any other pest at your home, you call your local exterminator to eradicate the problem. You may even set up routine service to prevent the problem pest from returning.
Extermination companies are here to keep your family safe and your home comfortably bug-free. And while many companies out there are honest and reputable, some are less trustworthy or transparent.
To help you avoid pest control scams or less-than-quality work at your home or office, learn the warning signs of a con and how to ensure you’re not getting scammed.
Pest Control Scam #1: Offers for Free Pest Inspections
Reaching out to a reputable exterminator because you’ve noticed signs of an infestation and getting a free pest inspection is one thing. Receiving unsolicited offers for free pest inspection is something else entirely. Perhaps you got a mailer, saw an ad on social media, or even heard about the offer after the exterminator knocked on your door. No matter how you come across it, the offer promotes a free inspection of your home to ensure you aren’t unknowingly dealing with pests.
Let’s say you accept the offer to receive a free inspection because even though you don’t notice signs of infestation yourself, it couldn’t hurt to check, right?
While the exterminator is combing through your home or yard, they are pointing out “problems” (perfectly normal elements of the area, made to sound like signs of infestation) or even planting trace evidence of certain pests. The goal is to convince you of an issue, even if there isn’t one, so that you sign up for their services to “resolve” it.
How to Avoid This Scam
The best way to avoid this scam is not to accept a free pest inspection if you haven’t asked for one. While most trustworthy extermination companies do offer free inspections for customers who call and express genuine interest in their services, most do not attempt to create business by offering unsolicited free inspections. The scamming company’s goal is to win your business, and if they can get you to sign up for services following an unsolicited free inspection, that’s a huge ROI for them and likely an unnecessary expense for you.
The Exception – Free Termite Inspections
The exception to this scam, however, is an unsolicited offer for a termite inspection. Many trustworthy exterminators advertise free termite inspections because of the volume of termites in our country, especially in the Southeast, and the dangers they pose to your home or property. Even if you have not noticed signs of termites, a free inspection and bait station installation is much more cost-effective than treating an active termite infestation and repairing the structural damage they cause.
However, you can and should still be cautious when dealing with a free termite inspection. Don’t sign a contract based solely on the presence of termite wings or wood dust near your home’s foundation. If you feel suspicious of what the inspector is telling you, ask them to show you better evidence of an infestation, such as mud tunnels on exterior walls or actual damaged wood in your walls or crawlspace.
Pest Control Scam #2: Inconsistent or Confusing Pricing
Extermination companies usually have a flat rate for pest control. Monthly services should always be the same price unless, of course, an extra treatment is added one month or something else deviates from the routine service you usually receive.
Before signing up for service, your extermination company tells you that they cannot provide a set monthly rate because “each visit may require our service to vary.” In other words, they might apply regular pest control chemicals one month, but they could have to use additional or different treatment the next month, causing charges to vary.
Or, your extermination company provides a flat service price before you sign any paperwork, but your first bill arrives with a much higher charge than the price you agreed on.
How to Avoid This Scam
To avoid inconsistent pricing, call multiple extermination companies and ask for a quote. Check to see if these prices are consistent with what is on their website or social media pages. If no prices are advertised online, check their reviews to see what people say about their experiences with them. Victims of unfair pricing often warn others through reviews, so you’ll likely see if pricing is an issue with a company based on what people say about them.
Also, read over any paperwork before signing, checking for pricing verbiage, and be sure to get a copy of your agreement so you can refer to it in the future if necessary.
Pest Control Scam #3: Unlicensed Technicians
Pest control companies should employ and dispatch licensed extermination technicians to ensure customers receive quality service from a trained, knowledgeable team member. Less-than-reputable companies, however, may employ a licensed tech or two for legal purposes but can fill the rest of their team with unskilled, unlicensed employees to save money.
After you schedule an initial inspection with an extermination company, a licensed tech arrives at your door to conduct the inspection and sign you up for service. Then, every service after that is performed by an unlicensed team member spraying chemicals all over your home or property without proper training.
How to Avoid This Scam
You could ask for proof of licensing from every technician who comes to your home. You could also ask the extermination company if all techs are licensed or only some. If the answer is only some, you may feel comfortable requesting that only the licensed techs visit your home, or you may feel better searching out a different company.
For Scam-Free Pest Control, Choose Bizzy Bee Exterminators!
The fully licensed and certified team at Bizzy Bee has been providing trusted, reliable pest control services since 1972. While we do offer free pest inspections to potential customers, we provide honest feedback after every inspection, promise fair and transparent pricing, and ensure your services are always performed by a trained and licensed pest control expert. If you need a service or would like an inspection, give us a call!
Call us to schedule pest control and pest management at your home today: 1-800-273-4958