Complaint Category: Improper or inferior service
Complaint: Paid $250 for mouse traps but pest problem remained after traps were collected.
We contacted Awesome Critter Gitters in January in regards to noises we were hearing in our basement. I spoke with *** on the phone who told me it sounded like we had a squirrel or chipmunk in our basement. Awesome Critter Gitters came to our home on January 10 and one person did a perimeter check while ***** came and looked in the basement. The person who did the perimeter checked yelled after a couple minutes indicating he saw tracks outside. ***** told me the tracks meant there were mice in the house. He said there could be a large quantity of mice in the house and would need to put out large traps in order to catch them. He told me he would not charge us a service fee but it was $250 for the traps he was putting out. He said he would call in a couple weeks to set an appointment to collect the traps. When ***** called a couple weeks later to make the appointment to collect the traps, I told him we were still hearing the same noises we had been hearing when we first called them. He dismissed my concern by saying that the traps had been out for plenty long enough and we shouldn't be hearing anything. When he came to our house to collect the traps, I reiterated that we continued to hear the same noises. Again, he dismissed my concern saying that the traps had been out long enough. He added that if it was a chipmunk, there wasn't anything he could do until the spring anyway. He then went on to advise me to have them come out in the spring to seal the house for an additional $2,000. I asked how many mice they had collected in the traps but was told that he could not open them because they were live traps and they would get out. A couple weeks later, *** called me to confirm that the problem was taken care of and we were not hearing any noises. I told him that we were indeed still hearing the noises and I was very concerned that the problem had not been taken care of. I asked him how many mice were collected in the traps. *** told me the information on how many mice were collected would be on our work order but he did not have that with him. He then told me they could come out on Saturday to look again. I never heard from the Awesome Critter Gitters again until I called on Tuesday, March 11 to complain about the noises we were still hearing. *** told me he had a call on the other line but would call me back. *** called me later in the day to ask for my information again. He said his secretary was not able to find out work order. I gave *** our information and the service date. He said he would call me back. I did not hear anything from *** on Wednesday so I called again on Thursday to discuss my concern. I told *** that I would like to receive my money back for the services because the services rendered did not solve our problem. *** told me that I had been advised when they did the inspection of our house that it was a chipmunk and there was nothing they could do until the spring. This is incorrect. On the work order, they had originally written that it was a squirrel in the basement. When they came to do the inspection, they crossed squirrel out and wrote mice. *** was not willing to hear my concerns or answer my questions about how many mice were caught and what the $250 was for. I told him that we had solved the problem on our own and I was not interested in them coming back to our home but wanted our money back. *** told me he was not going to answer my questions and then hung up on me.
Initial Business Response
I'm at a loss to Ms *******'s complaint. Like she said, we inspected the home, trapped mice and solved her problem....without any other company's help. Please tell me how she was not smart enough to solve her own problem before we came, then became smart enough after we left? Please visit our mice-rat link on our web site: ************************************************************************************************
It explains how we handle mice-chipmunks etc., seal the house up. When we came to Ms *******'s home, there was three feet of snow all around the house. I did an inspection and found mice tracks entering a hole under a bump out window and several other holes under the siding in the only areas we could inspect. As stated on our web site:
Although expensive, we are able to seal most homes with a Written Warranty to keep the mice out. The jobs are labor intensive and require expensive equipment just to find all the holes. For that reason the home inspection, estimate and consultation is $150-up for most residential homes. Most homes run $150-up to seal the mice out with a Full Warranty. All our exclusion sealing products and materials are purchased from professional pest control supply companies and proven effective.
As Ms ******* states: we DID NOT CHARGE HER FOR AN INSPECTION like is clearly stated we do on our web site. I told her we would come back in the spring, to complete the inspection before the chipmunks woke up from hibernation. She had many questions about "HOW DO YOU DO IT" so I gladly answered her "interrogation". "What kind of material do you use"? "How do you do it"? "Did you find any holes today"? I told her the truth about everything. While I inspected outside , my son ******* inspected inside and found mouse feces and urine....everywhere. We told her we could trap most of the mice, but would leave cold weather glue boards in the attic to catch any stragglers. Ms ******* will not show you the back of her contract stating the service was for "5 day of trapping" because she wants to tell her story....her way. We left the traps for 2 weeks, then called her to see if all was quite. She said she hadn't heard any noise lately, so we drove 30 miles to pick up the traps. Think about it, we have hundreds of multi catch mouse traps, why would I care if the traps stayed another two weeks? Ms *******'s work order copy was at our bookkeepers when she first called. When I obtained it, to verify she did actually use our company for the service, I told her when the snow melted, we would come out and finish the inspection. She declined starting: "we already sealed the house up our selves, we just want our money back". I told her all we charged her for was mice trapping, which she received. We did not charge her for the inspection (which she used to seal the house herself) nor did she have any Warranty because we didn't do any exclusion work.
My wife was a office manager in a doctors office for 22 years. I had Ms ******* on speaker phone so everyone one in the office could hear her screaming at me. I could not get a word in because she was shouting continuously. Finally my wife said, " you might as well hang up on her because you gave her what she paid for, and you don't have to take that abuse."
In all the years of dealing with people, I've never heard my wife give up on satisfying the customer.
When we first started business, we inspected homes for free. It's people like Ms ******* that has changed all that. She thinks it's acceptable to have two professional, licensed, insured men drive 30 miles to use flexible, lighted cameras and mirrors to find rodent holes and EXPLAIN THE ENTIRE EXCLUSION PROCESS THEN say: "OK THANKS ALOTT, SEE YOU LATER. If Ms ******* wants her money back, have her get it from her husband, whom we instructed how to "do it our selves". Next time she calls a company for help, make absolutely sure she CAN NOT DO THE WORK THEMSELVES, before asking pros to bless them with knowledge.....for free.
Sincerely, *** *********
Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
It is very frustrating to have a business owner fabricate details in order to validate his story.
1) As I said initially, Mr. ********* was outside for only a couple of minutes when he screamed inside that he found tracks. ***** told me he saw evidence of mice inside because of "chewed" styrofoam. He made NO mention of mouse urine or feces. My husband and I never saw any evidence of mice anywhere in the house.
2) I did not ask Mr. ********* how they did their job nor did I ask him what materials they used. The question I repeatedly asked Mr. ********* was how many mice they caught in the traps. The first time I asked him, he told me they wrote that information on the service reports but he was not in the office and did not have record. The second time, he told me he was not able to answer that question. I also asked Mr. ********* what the $250 we paid was for. Again, he told me he could not and would not answer that question.
3) Before my call to request a refund, the only mention of returning in the spring was to seal the house for $2,000. They never made additional mention to returning in the spring.
Final Business Response
I read in the BBB newsletter that business could op in for BBB mediation. I've already given enough information for a Judge to make a determination, please stop bothering me with these ridiculous allegations. Look at Ms**s "Signed Contract". Am I a mind reader? Do we just show up at someone house demanding money for a pest problem I conceive by driving by their home? NO, Ms * called me and said," she thought she had a squirrel in her basement" so I wrote "Squirrel in Basement". It's a job description written on W/O for the field tech, not a dreamed up problem. We must come prepared to deal with the problem the customer describes. Many of our W/O state: "animal in wall" or "scratching in attic" we do not require a diagnosis by the customer, some, like Ms * volunteer it. If we come and find no squirrel or evidence of squirrel we offer a solution for what we find.
To hear Ms * tell her story, there was no mice spore in the basement, when she accompanied my son during the inspection. That's why she already had many mouse traps working. In her next response she will probably claim my son put her in a headlock until she agreed to have professionals trap her mice. Oh yes, headlocks are how we get jobs when we can't rely on customer's eyesight and intelligence. NOT
In Ms *'s first complaint, I "yelled", now this time I "SCREAMED". I had to scream because my son had her in a headlock with his arms over her ears! Well maybe not. I spoke quietly when I stood by her garage door with snow on my feet. Not wanting to track snow and water into the home, I raised my voice until I received a response from Ms * and my son in the basement. It's my company policy for the outside inspector to stand by a customers door and alert them he is inside, requesting permission to enter the home. If the inside inspector has the attention of the customer, in another part of the house, we do not invite ourselves in, walking around without permission.
BBB agent, did you even visit our web site at the link I sent before? It's self explanatory about how we handle exclusion work. We perform an inspection, charge for it, and write up a detailed estimate ON OUR SIGNED WORK ORDER-CONTRACT. Where exactly on Ms**s work order is this inspection fee we charged? nor can I see an estimate for $2000? Ms** does admit we wanted to return in the Spring to complete an inspection to give her an estimate for exclusion work. Like I said in my first response, I found a mouse entrance hole, under the window bump out so I knew at least one hole needed to be sealed up, but deep snow prevented us from performing a complete inspection we could warranty. March 11 was still deep snow and sub zero temperatures.
Ms * has NO WARRANTY for mouse trapping. We offer FULL WARRANTY for mouse exclusion work on the home, which she declined to have us perform an inspection for. Without sealing up homes, mice could reenter a day after we pick up our traps, or a week or month later. Please don't take my word for it. Call any pest company you like and ask them if they give mice removal warranty for two weeks of mice trapping. We told Ms * we could help alleviate the mice infestation problem, until we could return in the spring for a proper inspection and ultimately exclusion work.
If you (BBB) want to molly coddle cheapskate do it yourselfers, why don't you ask Ms * how she "took care of the problem herself". She can not produce another company's work order showing she had to pay someone else to trap animals we missed. Nor did she pay someone else to seal her home. She used the information she obtained from my inspection and sealed the entry hole I reveled to her when we were there. The hole I found, with the mouse tracks leading to it, might have been the only hole in the house. I couldn't be sure because of the snow.
Have you noticed Ms * conveniently hedges around telling you how she "fixed the problem herself". I would bet she claims she suddenly and unexpectedly became enlightened by, osmosis, to become an expert home inspector, overnight.
If she had this ability why did she call our company in the first place? Finally if the BBB would like me to respond to any information they can obtain from our "signed contract" please refer to my answers previously given.
If the BBB would like answers to wild eyed claims not on the contract, please contact a crystal ball reader, a soothsayer or ********, maybe they could give you better answers than I.
Ms * does not have mice trapping warranty, period. Most pest control companies charge for an ongoing mice trapping yearly contract. Like I explained to Ms * and I have clearly explained on our web site, we do not offer a yearly contract. We offer mice exclusion work with a warranty. Ms * opted not to have this service, hence she has no mice warranty with us. She has told you that she received what she paid for, 2 weeks of trapping. If she needed more trapping after that she should have bought more. We offered more but she said she "already took care of the problem."
BBB let's try to think on our feet now. Ms * hired us to solve her pest problem. It's solved with no further cost or intervention from any other company. Just because Ms * doesn't appreciate the knowledge we provided her with to solve the problem herself most certainly doesn't mean we owe her a dime. She got what she paid for.
You need to realize our company is not a pest control company, requiring yearly contracts. We have integrated wildlife control utilizing trapping and exclusion work to solve problems. When we remove the pest from a building, and the customer finishes the exclusion utilizing the knowledge and techniques we explain to them, this behavior does not entitle them to a trapping refund. I'm DONE with this. ***
Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.