COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Columbus man said he was the victim of deceptive sales practices by a local pest control company, and being unable to settle with the company, he called Better Call 4.
“The money is not the issue,” said Columbus resident Rudy Carter. “It’s the principle of the thing. I could just give my card and pay the $150, but the principle of the thing, the guy just deceived me.”
It was July of last year when Carter said he had just finished mowing the lawn when he was approached by a man who worked for EcoShield, a pest control company.
“He said, ‘I can spray your house, all around your house, do your lawn and up under around the eaves, inside and out, and give you a real good price,’” he said the man told him. “And I said, ‘What’s it going to cost?’ He said, ‘$159.’”
Carter said he was told it was a one-time service and fee. He agreed, paid, and said he was asked to sign an electronic form.
“He said, ‘This is just like your receipt to show that I did the work,’” he said.
About a month, though, Carter said he got an email about a follow-up treatment. Confused, he called the company.
“I said, ‘This is now what I signed up for. Your salesman told me just one time. That was it,’” he said.
Carter said he was told by a representative that he agreed to at least four treatments, each one costing $190.
“I think I was deceived by the person, the salesman that came by,” Carter said. “I think he took advantage of me.”
He asked to cancel the service, but said he was told there would be a $150 fee to do so. Believing he was misled and shouldn’t have to pay, Carter instead wrote letters to the Better Business Bureau, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and EcoShield.
Soon after, Carter received a bill from a collection agency for $150.
That’s when he called Better Call 4.
We reached out to EcoShield on his behalf and received the following response from the director of customer care. It reads, in part, “Mr. Carter’s service contract review shows clear initials next to the portions which acknowledge signing up for a 12-month service plan.”
This means whether he was aware of it or not, Carter appears to have agreed to a year’s worth of treatments.
The company’s statement continues, “Because we want our customers to be happy, and as an act of good faith towards Mr. Carter, we have elected to lift his current balance and waive it in entirety. No further balance is owed to EcoShield, and the collections balance has been lifted/waived in full.”
While this issue has been resolved, it’s an important reminder to do your homework before signing anything; ask for more information, take the time to do some research, then come back to it if it’s right for you, and don’t feel pressured to agree to anything on the spot.