Sentricon Complaints 3

The following complaints regarding Sentricon* are some that have been submitted to Terminix - Consumer Alert! The information contained in the complaints is unverified. You can judge for yourself if you believe them, as I do.

Arizona - 8/00 (C15-172/S-19).  My nightmare with Terminix started almost two years ago.  My husband and I were cleaning our garage and found some evidence of subterranean termites.  After talking to a couple of neighbors, we found out they had also had problems with termites. They both had Sentricon colony elimination systems at their homes, were happy with the system, and gave us the name of the company they were using. This is where we made the biggest mistake. We had their company come out, but they were a couple hundred dollars more than Terminix.  Terminix was also $150 less on their yearly fee, so we had Terminix install 37 stations at our home. Broke two sprinkler lines, and our Malibu electric line was cut. After three months of negotiating with their branch manager, this was resolved. We had given the salesman and technician our gate combination, only to find out they never monitored our backyard stations for the first nine months of our contract. Only because we had never received any monthly notices like we were promised, I called and asked for copies of the monthly invoices, which took almost two months to get. At which time, we found out in nine months, they were at my house a total of three times -- one time for installation and two times for monitoring. Both times, invoice slip says gate locked. All this time, we thought they were coming while we were gone. I once again placed a call to the branch office who then put me through to the Sentricon service supervisor.  I told him we were promised monthly service and once again gave Terminix our gate code.  Since our yearly renewal was due, they sent a technician out on a Saturday while I was home to monitor our stations and pick up a check.  We were told, “our salespeople tell customers that we come monthly, and I’m not sure why because we usually try and come two or three times a year.”  After hearing this from a service tech that I’ve never seen again, I once again called the branch office on the following Monday, only to be promised a monthly service. To date, three dozen logged phone calls and four letters, I had three monitorings done in the last 11 months -- a total of seven in two years.  I will not renew with Terminix for a third year.  I found out here in Arizona Terminix does this will all their Sentricon customers. We know a lot more about termites and that with the Arizona climate, Sentricon system should be checked on a regular monthly basis. I’ve talked with a Dow Elanco representative and have been put in contact with the company my neighbors use, and they have given us the okay to renew with them. After two years, I can no longer take the frustration of dealing with Terminix, especially when my neighbors both have been happy for three years with their company.

New York - 8/00 (C15-177/S-20).  I signed a Sentricon contract last year.  The sales rep was outstanding. He came out, followed through, and was good. He matched other contracts (so I thought), said it was a two-year contract. I have had two incidents that leave me wondering.  One, I called Terminix when I found termites in the wall downstairs, first floor of my house.  (The original termites were in the cellar.  The previous owner put a wood floor on top of dirt in a damp basement -- no rocket science, just great food and conditions.)  We removed the floors and walls. The baits were set.

I had to call to remind them to check them this year.  They didn’t find anything when I called about the downstairs termites until my mother took them downstairs to the cellar.  They placed a bait trap -- there were termites where previously there were none. Latest drama, I called, haven’t seen them since 6/24, asked them to call.  No call.  Wednesday night, I noticed funny looking paint on my wall.  I touched it, finger went through, saw termites.  Called Terminix -- told them termites upstairs, PLEASE call.  Instead, they showed up -- no one was home to let them in.  Called that night and reiterated TERMITES upstairs.  They sent tech back Friday, he said “carpenter ants.”  I called when I got home from work -- What color are carpenter ants?  Black.  What wood eating insects are white?  Termites. Ok, I called, said there were termites and apparently I have white carpenter ants.  I will sawsall the wall and send them to you. NO, don’t do that, I will send someone out.  Ok, when, tomorrow -- that was Saturday.  I waited all day. We tore out the wall -- loaded with white termites.  I videoed the process, captured some lives ones and also kept lots of dead ones.  Plan to send some to corporate to let them see white carpenter ants.

Maryland - 8/00 (C15-178/S-21).  In my experience, the Sentricon system is a wishful fishing trip that does not work while your house is used as bait and the local Terminix office ignores your phone calls. I have had a Terminix Sentricon System contract since spring of 1998 after the house was given a clean bill of health by Terminix inspection needed to establish “Date of Repair.”

Several stations were placed around the exterior of the house. The ground had not had chemical ground treatment for more than 20 years. The waiting and baiting began. I found swarmers in the interior of the house this past early summer of 2000 and called in the Terminix inspector who said, “you have termites under the central staircase.” He placed the new Sentricon Recruit “poison” boxes in the active area which have been inspected twice since their installation. No termites have since touched the new interior boxes although one new mud tube was found bypassing the “Recruit” boxes no more than 10 inches away from the box.  None of the exterior in-ground baits have been hit by termites for over two years.  I am presently trying to get repairs and chemical treatment under the contract terms, but it is like pulling teeth on a tiger to get Terminix to follow through on treatment or contract supported repairs to the chewed up staircase. The local office will not return a phone call unless pressure is put on them by the Customer Care Office; and even then, the return call may take 10 days.  My advice -- kill them with chemicals and save your house!

California - 11/00 (C19-197/S-22). On April 25, 1999, a representative from Terminix came out and told us he had detected termites around our water heater, and the only way to get rid of them was to install termite stations.  He gave us a bid with a cost of $1770 in which we could make monthly payments. I told him we had Terminix service our house at one time, and we canceled our service with them because they never came out.  He guaranteed they will come out once a month and asked me what day.  I told him, since we have three big dogs, they would need to come out the first Saturday of each month.  He told me that would not be a problem, wrote it down, and we signed the contract.  On May 1, 1999, the Terminix guys came out and installed the stations.  After that date, the guys would come out on a week day and check the stations when we were at work.  We would find the Terminix invoice on our door, and I would have to call and remind them they were supposed to show up on Saturday.  I put a lock on the gate after the 6th time of telling them they needed to come here on a Saturday. However, they still kept coming on a weekday and would only check the front stations. We made numerous calls to them with our complaints, and they acted like they didn't care. Right before our one-year contract ended, they invoiced us for another year of service. We were told it is like house insurance. Pay for it (approximately $274) for one year, and we will still check the stations to make sure no activity of termites are present.  Well, on March 11, 2000, I went into the kitchen and found several of the termite wings and bugs everywhere on our countertop and inside our bathtub. I called Terminix, at which time the guy who answered the phone said we did not exist in their computer and he had no idea who we were. After putting up with his "I can't find you" attitude for about 10 minutes, he said he would send someone over even though he had no idea who we were.  About 1 hour later, a regular "bug" Terminix man showed up and said we definitely had termites and we needed to have the termite guy come over and check out the stations. I called Terminix again and they said no problem. As of today, no one from Terminix has shown up or even made the attempt to call us back. We have made several attempts to get one of their guys out here and have finally given up with frustration. I am confused as to why I put out so much money and also paid for a guaranteed one year "Insurance" and instead, the termites are the ones who will win this battle.  I just hope that when we decide to ever sell our home it is not full of termites.  Or as one of their guarantees, will they back us up as they claim.

Georgia - 1/01 (C20-203/S-23).  Last March, I had to put a drain along side my house to keep water from entering my home on rainy days. Dirt had to be moved, which disturbed the chemical barrier. I informed Terminix about this change to my property.  Since then, I have battled Terminix to have the framing around my front door replaced due to termite damage.  Terminix chemically treated this area five times since ‘97 in which the termites returned every year. Even though termites were swarming from above the door, Terminix’s stand was that there was no damage to repair or replace. After six months, I finally prevailed and the area damaged was entirely replaced with new materials, about $1500 worth of repair. Yesterday, I received a letter from the branch manager stating because I installed a drain, Terminix will not be able to chemically retreat that area because the chemical will wash away.  This letter arrived six months after initially informing them of the drain being installed. I was told the only option is to install the baiting system for $2,300. This is only for 210 linear feet.  The price is double what other companies quoted me in the past and three times more than what Terminix quoted me a year or two ago. My plan has been canceled until I make my decision.  It is obvious that because I pushed to have damage repaired, the company is trying to force me to choose another company to do business with. With the struggles I have had with Terminix, I am planning on doing business with someone else anyway.  I plan on writing the branch manager to have the three remaining months of my contract refunded and to express my objection to their shady business tactics.  I am going to forward a copy of this letter to local consumer protection agencies, the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, the State Department of Agriculture, the Better Business Bureau, and the CEO for Terminix International.

Pennsylvania - 1/01 (C21-204/S-24).  I am an existing Terminix customer. My home was treated for underground termite protection by Terminix in 1988 using conventional chemical barrier methods. We had to have several “retreats” done to finally prevent any more swarmers from entering the home.  Terminix did fix the problem, and we have not seen any swarmers or any other evidence of termites in the past couple of years.  This month, I had to have some foundation structural repair work done on my home.  Terminix tells me that this will violate my warranty unless they install a baiting system at a cost of $1,000.  Supposedly, this full retail cost would be $1,920; but they are giving me a discount since this is considered a retreat of an existing customer under contract.  Using conventional chemicals, a retreatment of the small area of my home impacted by the recent foundation repairs would only cost $350.  However, Terminix tells me that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection prohibits them from using the chemical treatment because, in a totally separate area of the home, there is a French drain.  I believe Terminix is referring to its agreement with the PA DEP referenced in an article I found on your web site.  I live in an urban area of Pittsburgh, and there are no wells or waterways anywhere near the property. I do not believe that the very limited re-treat of the area of my home impacted by the foundation repair poses a viable threat to the environment. Are you aware of anyone else with this situation? I am concerned Terminix is using the issue with the PA DEP to coerce me into purchasing the higher-cost bait system that may really not be necessary.

Sentricon Complaints 4

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