At The Pest Rangers, our commitment to excellence and integrity is at the core of everything we do. We are dedicated to offering top-notch pest control services characterized by honesty and clarity—values that our customers have come to trust and rely on.

For most people, their exterminator is a local, trusted contractor they’ve grown a relationship with over the years. However, a new crop of nationwide businesses has opened the door to solicitations and scams that our customers must know about.

If you hear a knock on your door or have dealt with a solicitor offering pest control plans in the past, here’s what you need to know.

How Door-to-Door Pest Control Scams Work

A door-to-door pest control scam can work in one of two ways.

In the first scenario, a solicitor will offer you a monthly pest control service, usually at a low premium. While most exterminators offer monthly services, the ones these solicitors provide are designed to trap people into lengthy contracts and charge for services they don’t ask for.

In many cases, we’ve witnessed companies scam customers by:

  1. Failing to show up to perform their contracted services.
  2. Sending contractors to homes without the owner’s knowledge and charging them for services.
  3. Preventing customers from canceling their services through legalese or by not picking up the phone.

Be wary of these sales reps who often have no connection to the pest control industry and are recruited by these companies using tactics employed by multi-level marketing scams (MLM).

In this scenario, a rep will be employed to enroll customers in your area into ongoing pest control contracts for services for which they receive a commission. Like most MLM scams, the more contracts and reps under them they recruit, the bigger their take.

In the second scenario, a “technician” may knock on your door, offering a free inspection. Once you agree, they will either find or even plant an insect on your property and convince you to hire them for some sort of quick treatment. Afterward, they may even entice you to agree to multiple unnecessary treatments.

How to Spot a Pest Control Scam

First, it’s important to state that no licensed exterminator goes door-to-door to find customers. That, in and of itself, should raise a red flag with customers.

However, there are many things customers can do to protect themselves against possible scams.

  1. Ask for a Business Card: Most licensed exterminators will carry a business card with an address and phone number to reach them. Failing to provide a business card or an address will be an obvious red flag.
  2. Be Weary of Out-of-State Addresses or Area Codes. Beware of companies without a legitimate business address in your local area, as these are often employed by solicitors who operate nationwide.
  3. Ask for a License. Many of these so-called “technicians” are merely slick salesmen and often don’t have proper licenses or permits to provide legal services. In fact, that person knocking at your door most likely resides in a different state.

Remember, every customer has the right to say no and to refuse door-to-door services or solicitation.

The Recent Case Against Aptive Environmental

A recent lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania AG against Aptive Environmental highlights the dangers of duplicitous door-to-door sales tactics.

According to a previous agreement highlighted, Aptive Environmental engaged in door-to-door sales without the necessary permits, failed to provide customers with their contracts, neglected to inform them about their right to cancel within three days, and improperly handled cancellation requests, including penalizing those wishing to end their services.

Moreover, there were allegations that Aptive Environmental continued to charge customers who had attempted to cancel their services, in some cases sending contractors to their homes and billing them for these visits. Deputy Attorney General Jaimie George of the Bureau of Consumer Protection brought the matter to a resolution.

As part of the Consent Order, Aptive Environmental is required to pay $220,000 to the Commonwealth, with $195,000 allocated for civil penalties concerning the breach of the earlier settlement and an additional $25,000 to cover investigative and legal costs.

Door-to-Door Pest Control Companies to Watch Out For

In addition to complaints against Aptive Environmental, customers should be aware of several pest control solicitors operating in Pennsylvania that use similar tactics.

By arming our customers with the right information, they can avoid costly scams and continue to receive prompt extermination care from companies they trust.

At The Pest Rangers, located in Northern and Southeastern Pennsylvania, safeguarding our clients from deceitful practices in the pest control industry is a priority. We believe in building relationships with our clients based on trust and integrity.