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 Terminix Complaints - 16

The following complaints against Terminix, a ServiceMaster subsidiary, are more 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.

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The following comments were submitted to “Terminix - Consumer Alert!” in September 1998; however, on the advice of the person’s attorney, I was asked not to post them until the issue was resolved.  It’s been over two years since I became aware of this case, and it is still not resolved in the courts.  In the meantime, this person is struggling to continue with life, with medical and legal expenses, and with the case.  We believe it’s time the public should be aware of it; and I urge anyone, especially anyone within the government or the media, to PLEASE do something... anything... to help her!

Georgia - 9/98 (C16-168).  I am presently involved in a big lawsuit against Terminix for personal injuries due to Terminix’s negligence in a toxic waste dump they left behind when they moved their location, but their employees continued to dump.  The normal American citizen does not have the knowledge to know what or if anything that these exterminators have done to a person’s life.  Terminix seems to get away with breaking the laws and no one cares.  I lost my job; I have lost everything I owned.  I cannot even get any financial help from the government yet, not even social security that I just got denied on; and forget about the state...

I suffer chronic fatigue, am chemically sensitive, suffer headaches when I go into certain stores, and have breathing problems.  I have no control when I have to go to the restroom.  I do not sleep at night or any time as far as that goes.  My body is in constant pain.  I have fibromyalgia.  I have a liver that does not detoxify (this is where the problem began by being overloaded with toxic chemicals that I was breathing on an 8-9 hour shift at a job I had).  I have short-term memory loss and have a pain that sometimes is so severe I can only sit and cry.  Normal doctors cannot diagnose a problem with someone that has been exposed to toxic chemicals.  Even the EPA has stated only an environmental/occupational doctor is qualified to do this; but because the insurance consider these licensed medical doctors that are board certified and have years of experience not worthy of making a diagnosis, I have to fight on a daily basis to survive.  I am still trying to collect for claims filed last year...  Sometimes I wish I could just close my eyes and never wake up.  No one understands the pain I am in and the quality of life I have to live.  If you know anyone who might help me pay for detoxification so that I can feel better -- I am almost out of money, and I have to pay cash and then get reimbursed by the insurance company which has taken up to over one year to repay me.

Update (9/00):  I did not receive any social security until February 2000 after seeing all the social security doctors who agreed, and the judge agreed, that I could not work at all in the public because no one could guarantee me a safe environment whereby I would not be re-exposed to any of the chemicals that are already overloaded in my body.  Currently, I am waiting to get the moneys to get detoxified.

My case went from State Court to Federal Court with no mention of status problems.  Then, when we finally got to court and the judge was going over damages -- as soon as I sat down [after testifying], Terminix’s attorney hit me and my attorney with this paper stating that because of an answer I gave in court that the statute had run out.  Gee, after five years since the exposure and two different courts, this was decided for me.  And, of course, given only 15 minutes to solve the problem gave my attorney not much time since she was not the original attorney.  We could not, at the time, reach the original attorney on the case who later verified that this was never a problem because I did not know until I hired him and the testing was completed on myself and on the chemicals taken by Kevin Badura (sub-lessor) of the Terminix building did the match become clear that it was the same chemicals in my body that were left carelessly behind by Terminix employees and management.  A manager of Terminix, when coming out the first time to clean up the mess they had left behind, guaranteed me that there was nothing harmful over in the back lot, even after I spoke my concerns to him about my feeling sick.  He said it was nothing.  Nothing?!?  Well, I lost a very good friend who worked with me by the name of Rolf Sommerkorn who experienced the same types of problems -- dizziness, headaches, having to go to the bathroom all the time, memory loss, confusion.  It is my view Rolf Sommerkorn passed away from the exposure as, other than his stepson Bill Nolls testifying on behalf of his father as to what the doctors have stated that Rolf died of cancer of an undetermined cause, I believe I cannot clearly state other than it is my belief.

What a nightmare this has been.  My case is still in appeal thanks to our system.  My liver hurts like hell.  I still have uncontrollable bowel movements and have to go to the bathroom every 1-2 hours night and day.  I stay very, very tired.  My body aches all the time.  Medications help, but the damage is there and is not getting any better.  I just pray when the time comes that I will go swiftly and not have to suffer like my friend, Rolf Sommerkorn.

Notes:

  • I thought a statute of limitations issue would be addressed as a pretrial motion -- not in the middle of a trial AFTER hearing the plaintiff's case presented in court!
  • There are two others from this incident also suffering with medical complaints they attribute to the toxic waste site left by Terminix, Complaint C4-49.
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Illinois - 8/00 (C16-169).  In March 2000, I signed a service agreement with Terminix for residential pest control.  The special instructions stipulated Terminix was to spray our house internally and externally in the months of March and April and externally in the months of July, October, and January unless customer calls for interior.  The Terminix representative came during the first month, March, and sprayed as we agreed; and I signed the agreement that day.  We paid the full fee and received a 10% discount for advance payment.  The month of April, no one showed up or called to arrange for service.  After several calls in May, the rep for my area finally called back and said he would come out May 19.  He was very unprofessional and rude on the phone.  He didn’t show up.  I called to complain, and the manager said the rep was there and sprayed on the outside.  I said if he was there, then where was the service ticket or any indication of the house being sprayed to indicate evidence of such and besides that fact, the rep was supposed to spray the inside of the house as well.  The manager said he would come on May 31 to make up.  The manger comes and claims he sprayed the kitchen.  We had ants.  If he sprayed, it didn’t work.  By this point, it was obvious it would be a constant struggle to manage getting any kind of quality service.  I told the manager I wanted my money back; and after much debate, he finally agreed.  I expected on my next credit card statement to have a credit, which never happened.  Then I thought maybe it would be on the next statement, which never happened.  On Friday, August 18, a rep leaves a service ticket indicating the outside had been sprayed.  We had canceled the contract!  I never requested service, and the rep never called stating he would even provide service on this date.  I called the Terminix office again; and after telling this same story to four people, I finally reached the bookkeeper who would process my refund, which as of today, she said I should receive a check in two weeks.  We shall see.  I had to talk to the bookkeeper; the manager couldn’t even handle this detail.  I will never recommend Terminix to anyone.  Their parent company, ServiceMaster, has the wrong name.  It should be ServiceStinks!

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California - 8/00 (C16-170).  I have had two contracts with Terminix for the past three plus years, plus the initial tenting and all of that expensive stuff.  I have a renter in the house that is contracted with Terminix.  Each year, I get a request to phone and make appointment.  Each year, I call and tell Terminix to contact the renter.  Each year, Terminix tells me the inspection is done.  I contact the renter and am told, each year, “No contact from Terminix.”  I contact Terminix, each year, and tell them I was lied to; and they send someone out to the house.  Last year, the renter showed the inspector the places where termites are active.  Nothing was done.  This year, same thing, the lie about inspecting, which wasn’t done.  Finally, an inspector goes out, and Terminix wants another $650 for some additional type of work, which should have been done in prior years.  So, who cares, right?

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California - 9/00 (C16-171).  Terminix has serviced us for close to five years; and, until recently, we have not had anything to complain about.  However, over the past few months, we have experienced poor service by our technician and service manager.  The first problem occurred a few months ago when I requested someone spray the inside of my house.  I set an appointment with Clyde.  He failed to show.  He passed us by because I had a “baby sleeping” sign on the door.  I use that sign to keep people from using the doorbell, but I understood.  What I did not understand was why no one called me to reschedule and explain.  I had to call to ask for the service again.  Peter, the service manager, scheduled an appointment for Ray to complete the service, as Clyde no longer worked for the company.  When the new date of service came around, I again waited all afternoon for no one to show.  I called the following day, and Peter arranged for Ray to come that day.  He explained that Ray had not felt up to coming the day before because he had a long day.  Again, it would have been nice for someone to call me.  Ray did a thorough job and explained we would be getting a new technician.  He also explained how great that would be considering our previous technician was known for not doing a good job.

Everything was fine after that, until August.  We had been behind on our bill; however, by August we were caught up and owed nothing.  Lee, our new technician, called before his service day to inform us we would need to have a $93 check for him the next day or he would not be able to service the house.  I explained to Lee the next morning that we owed nothing on the account and there must be a mistake.  He contacted Peter who agreed there did seem to be an error with the account numbers but that Lee should not service the house.  I insisted to Lee there was an error.  Lee responded, “Just call the company and let them know when you’ll be sending a check.”  I felt as though I had just been called a liar.  I immediately called Peter who could not understand why I was so hostile, as he put it.  He said there appeared to have been a problem when our account had been renewed for the year; but Angie, in accounts, was out for the day, so nothing else could be looked up or investigated.  He then assured me he would take care of the problem and would send Lee back out to complete our service.  Lee did not show up that day.  I called the next day, but Peter was out for the day.  I spoke with Andy, another service manager.  Andy was very professional and assured me he would have Lee out to complete the service and verified there was a note for Angie to look into our account.  Apparently the problem was rectified, as our billing the next month was back to normal.  Again, it would have been nice for someone to call and explain that.

I do not expect to have problems with our service; however, I understand mistakes happen.  What I have not been pleased with is the recovery of those mistakes.  It is because of the poor recovery of these problems we have decided to cancel our account with Terminix, effective immediately.

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Tennessee - 9/00 (C16-172).  My wife and I took out a one-year contract with Terminix that was to be paid quarterly this year.  Yesterday, Terminix was scheduled for an exterior treatment.  We were told the technician would be here between 1:00 to 2:00.  At 12:30, my two-year old daughter was taking a nap; and my wife had just gotten out of the shower when someone in our living room was shouting “hello!”  The Terminix technician was standing in our living room!  He said he rang the doorbell; and when no one answered, he went to the back door.  He said, “I turned the knob, and it was open; so I came in to let you know I was here.”  After my wife confronted him, he justified himself by saying, “we do it all the time if no one answers the door.”  He never apologized to her.  In fact, he told her to forget it and went back out the back door, slamming it behind him.  When I finally got in touch with the manager, I asked him his policy on residential service calls and entering people’s homes.  He said they had no written policy.  This is a major concern to me and should be to others as well.  How do I know that if my wife was not there, he would not have stolen something?  My wife and I both feel violated!  The manager did apologize, and we canceled our contract.

It really bothers me that corporate ServiceMaster, or Terminix, doesn’t have any written policy on entering your house.  In the world we live in today, I don’t care who it is.  If I don’t know you, I don’t want you entering my house without some sort of consent.  I thought Terminix was a reputable company; but after reading this site, I know better now.

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