Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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Attorney General Settles With Pest Control Business; Medford Owner Goes Out Of Business Permanently

June 12, 2000

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that a Medford pest control company has agreed to cease doing business in Oregon permanently. In so doing, Myers educated consumers about how to choose a pest control service.

Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed today in Jackson County Circuit Court are Sterling Knight of Medford and A Home Protection Natural Extermination Company, Inc. In addition, Knight did business as All Natural X-Terminators, Natural X-Terminators, and All Star Networks, Inc.

"The Department of Justice receives many calls this time of year concerning pest control operators and problems ranging from unnecessary treatment to non-completion of service," Myers said. "Consumers who pay for knowledgeable and skillful application of pesticides deserve companies they can trust."

Fifteen Oregon families alleged that Knight's various companies fraudulently misrepresented the quality and nature of their services and failed to deliver pre-paid goods and services.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Knight will no longer engage in pesticide application, pest extermination and construction contracting in the state. Although Knight has filed for protection under Chapter 7 liquidation of the bankruptcy laws, the agreement requires that he also make a good faith effort to compensate victims if the bankruptcy is dismissed.

Attorney General Myers suggests consumers do the following when selecting a pest control service:

  • Check around for references from friends and relatives. Call the Attorney General's consumer hotline and the Better Business Bureau for complaint information;
  • Make sure the companies and employees are licensed to provide pest control services by calling the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Pesticides Division, (503) 986-4635 or on-line at www.oda.state.or.us/pesticide/info.html;
  • Contact a minimum of three licensed pest control operators for free inspections and bids. Be on hand for the inspection and get all bids in writing;
  • Avoid being rushed into choosing a service. Even termite damage will not be significantly worse while waiting a week or two before authorizing treatment;
  • Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation and the work necessary to solve the problem;
  • Avoid paying in advance for a long-term contract. Many pest control operators offer a "pay-as-you-go" long-term plan;
  • Determine if the company has liability insurance to cover any damages to the house or furnishings during treatment. If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what must be done to keep it in force and what kind of continuing prevention and control is necessary;
  • Do not expect an application or series of treatments to last indefinitely. Some pest control companies offer renewable re-treatment warranties;
  • Ask the companies what pesticides will be used for the treatments and make sure household members, including family pets, will be safe with their use; and
  • Check out alternative methods in dealing with common household insects. In some cases, there might be a home remedy that works and some stores sell "pests of pests" such as ladybug beetles that eat aphids.

Consumers who need additional information about pest control may write to the Oregon Department of Agricultural, Pesticides Division, 635 Capitol Street, N.E., Salem, OR 973101; or Oregon State University Extension Services, 14th and Jefferson, Corvallis, OR 97331.

General consumer protection information is available by calling the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Contact:

Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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