Termites are a destructive force and major nuisance to Alabama property owners. ABC3340 News calls the Cotton State a “hot zone” of the pestilent insects. Fox10 reports that all of Southern Alabama, particularly Mobile, is in the throes of an annual invasion by mass swarms of them.

Homeowners and buyers alike often find themselves overrun by the wood-devouring creatures and call in pest control companies to exterminate them. The issue arises when they commit fraud, which they may do in a number of ways.

1. Poor service

Some exterminators fail to properly address the issue but claim they have. For example, they may use ineffective chemicals or treatments that only affect termites directly touched, leaving the hidden ones free to repopulate while the customer believes they are gone since the visible ones are dead. Others purposefully only erase part of the colony, which is pointless since it eventually regrows. They cover themselves by using tricky wording like “control” rather than “exterminate” in their contracts.

2. Inspection fraud

One form of this is the inspector clearing a building as termite-free when it is not, either surveying only a portion of it or not assessing it properly, only for the owner to find their home crawling with termites later on. Another action that falls into this category is claiming that there is an infestation when there is not to force people to pay for treatment. Some companies may even plant evidence of termites.

3. Breach of contract

Pest control companies may try to avoid fulfilling obligations or taking responsibility through the use of misleading language, like the example stated earlier. They may try to avoid liability for termite damage that occurs after they perform a service by claiming it is older.

Exterminators are liable for damage resulting from their poor performance.