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Clarks Pest Control Complaint - Severe termite infestation

Review by Shackford on 2008-11-05
VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA -- For approximately 13 years I have paid them for their services. The contract called for yearly inspections to assure that any termite damage could be handled ASAP.

Each year I received a report that there were no infestations. Last year, (found by a liceensed contractor) there was about $78,000.00 in termite damage throughout about 1/3 of the entire house.

I asked if termites could have done that much damage since Clarks last report, (less than a year ago). He actually laughed and said that this much damage was done not only over many years, but any inspector with even the minimum training should have seen this tremendous damage.

I called Clark and told them of the infestation. They sent someone out from the company to take a look. When he saw the extent of the damage I asked him why the company missed all this problem and if they guarantee their work.

He told me to read my contract, and that I would find that they only treat for termites but are not responsible if they do damage. When I asked him why no one saw this over the years it took to do this much damage he had no response.

Oddly, a crew came out from Clarks that day and began a new type of drilling treatment every few inches. I asked the man that was doing this new type of treatment why he was doing it differently and he said it was a much better system.

Even more oddly, the company stopped coming out and did not bill us any more. I did not ask them to stop and though I thought it was unfair that I could pay them for at least 150 months for their services, It was not until I mentioned it to a friend in Law and he said that this sounded like the company should be responsible since they did not see the obvious damage being done for the past 13 years or so. That even though the contract says that they are not responsible.

Do you think this is fair? The $78,000.00 I paid to have it fixed is 1/2 of my life savings. I am 61 years old and self employed and affording to pay an attorney to fight for me is too difficult.

Please let me know if you feel that I have any recourse in the matter. There are probably thousands of other homes out there that are paying expensive premiums and think they are safe. I do not know if all pest control companies work this way, but something must be done to rectify poor inspections so that the damage is minimum if infestation starts.

Thank You, Sincerely,

Mrs. Lee B. Matthews/Allen
Comments:9 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-11-06
Posted by moneybags on 2008-11-05:
Pest control companies are supposed to be State Licensed and also licensed by the Feds. Let them know that you plan on having their business investigated and give them a chance to make good. They have insurance for this. If there is no satisfaction, contact your DA (consumer theft and fraud) and the state and federal agencies.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-06:
According to their web page they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The only other mention of a warranty is on the Term-Alert device. But that only covers failure of the devices planted on your property. That's worthless. Obviously their service failed to protect your home from termites and the damage caused. You need to find a lawyer.
Posted by old fart on 2008-11-06:
I have been in the pest control business for thirty years and know that there a two types of termite service contracts... one is a "retreatment" guarantee" and the other is a "damage guarantee"..
Which do you have?

As far as the retreatment you received, was it a termite baiting system that they installed..?? that is a very effective newer method now employed and it sounds like they were trying to cover their tracks...

It is often the case that damage guarantees are contingent on the evidence of "visible damage" and I suspect that you will be in for a long legal hassle..!
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2008-11-06:
I've tried everything to kill the bugs in my home, but somehow the FBI still knows what I'm talking about.
Posted by old fart on 2008-11-06:
Digital... different kind of bug..LOL
Posted by old fart on 2008-11-06:
Shackford.. contact me a my M3C e=mail address.. I might be able to give you some help or at least some encouragement..
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2008-11-06:
Oh, there's more than one? Definition: BUG - that which needs to be killed. Any multi-legged creature that inhabits your home regardless of whether or not the FBI has implanted a nano-technology surveillance device in it, should be addressed with the bottom of your foot, or you can hire a professional company that will endlessly try to kill them without success for an ongoing monthly charge.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-06:
I'm not an expert like old fart, but wouldn't a thorough structural inspection be required to spot termite damage?
I've heard they can be very difficult to detect.
Posted by old fart on 2008-11-06:
Trixta.. absolutely! A well trained, experienced termite inspector can usually spot some VERY tiny signs of an infestation.. Dead swarmers, a collection of cast-of wings, a slight discoloration of the wood, a tiny spot of termite mud covering a tinier hole are all dead givaways along with a careful probing of the wood itself... you can't believe the times I've sounded the wood with the butt of a screwdriver listening for a sound that you only learn by doing over and over.
What's even more interesting is the number of times I've probed the wood with a screwdriver only to shove it completely though a 2X8 floor joist like it was made of paper.
other insects also make "sawdust" like carpenter ants and "drywood termites" which don't require soil moisture to survive..
It's entirely possible to have several different species of wood -destroying insects in the same house, usually in warm weather climates..

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