Beware of the most common pest control scams


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By: Anika Rao

When you have a pest problem in your home, you want it taken care of fast.

Your first impulse is to call a pest control service, and schedule an inspection and treatment.

Unless you have used the service before with good results, you should first consider a few things to avoid some common pest control scams.

Get Recommendations

You should shop around for a pest control company before taking any action including asking friends and neighbors for their recommendations, said the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Additionally, UNCE and the Better Business Bureau recommend comparing estimates from several pest control companies before making any decisions or paying any fees.

Check Out the Company

UNCE also suggests that homeowners check out the company before hiring them and ask them these questions:

Check if the company is a licensed pesticide applicator with your state's Department of Agriculture.

Ask to see the license, and look for a photo identification of the licensee and a current status.

Check with the Better Business Bureau for information and complaints about the companies you are considering.

Ask if the company will provide a written estimate of the work needed and costs before doing any work.

Ask if they will provide references and proof of insurance.

Red Flags

UNCE says to avoid using any companies that show red flags when you are looking into using their services. Some of these include:

Don’t accept the use of any secret chemicals proposed for your job because all pesticides must be registered with the EPA, and you want to know what they are applying in and around your home.

Don't go with companies that use high pressure sales tactics or have unusually low prices or sales.

Don’t use companies who have more than a few unresolved customer complaints recorded.

To avoid many of these red flags, you should only use pest control services that display their accreditation from the BBB on their website. For example, one such company is Waltham Services, who shows that they are a BBB accredited business as well as approved by Quality Pro and Green Pro.

Common Pest Control Scams

Beyond the common business red flags, there are many pest control specific scams to look out for. Angie’s List, a popular home maintenance and repairs referral service, reports that although the market is filled with pest control scams, these are most common:

Scams involving licensed technicians: It’s common for pest control companies to send out a technician with a valid license on an initial call to write up the order, but then send another technician (without a license) to do the actual application.

Unsolicited inspections: If you get a knock on your door from a representative from a pest control company that you haven’t called offering a free inspection or special deals, beware. A common scam is to show up unannounced, pretend to inspect for pests and sneakily stage evidence of an infestation to convince homeowners that they need their services.

Permanent contracts: Do not sign up for any long term contracted pest control work, especially if there is any pressure to sign without much explanation. A common scam is to perform a legitimate application, then say you need monthly applications for a year or more.


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