WASHINGTON (SBG) – A historic $60 million settlement between Terminix and customers in Alabama means many will be getting money back from the pest control company, after being overcharged for services two years ago.
The National Desk correspondent Andrea Ramey joined The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat Wednesday to discuss her investigation into the company.
“This really all came to a head in 2019 when [Terminix] began sending out their renewal notices to customers for their annual termite bond, and customers that were used to paying $300, $400 annually for that termite bond, were all of a sudden getting bills in the mail for $1200, $1300,” said Ramey.
Ramey says one business owner had their bill increase from $500 a year, to $43,000. Customers could no longer afford contracts and were switching companies, which is where the real problem came into play, according to Ramey.
“If you later find termite damage, your new pest control company says, Oh no, no, that’s old termite damage,” says Ramey. “Your old termite company is obligated to repair that. And your old termite company says, oh we no longer have a contract with you. And that puts consumers stuck in the middle.”
Ramey has been investigating this issue for about a year, all while letting consumers know how to pursue the issue themselves through the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
“We saw complaints go from dozens to hundreds, and that got the attention of prosecutors,” said Ramey. “With this settlement in particular in Alabama, we know that up to 30,000 customers could be impacted by it.”
Terminix has admitted no wrongdoing to date but has agreed to pay $60 million, roughly half of which is going to fees and penalties.
“This does establish a $25 million uncapped fund that will make consumers whole,” said Ramey. “So if it takes $40 million, $50 million, Terminix is obligated now.”
Customers who have remained with Terminix will automatically be refunded and restored back to their 2018 rates. Customers who switched companies will have to file a claim through the state, according to Ramey.
“There is a website that’s been set up, a receiver has been appointed by the court to review each claim that is filed,” said Ramey. “There’s also another avenue that consumers have if they feel like they don’t want to go the route through the state settlement, they can always hire a private attorney and go after the company themselves.”
This story was originally published at the link below and all credit goes to Dayton 247now.