Terminix Found Not Treating Couple’s Home
BY DONETTA STERLING of the Batesville (Ark.) Daily Guard
On December 30, 2011, the Batesville Arkansas Daily Guard published a story about the recent victory Campbell Law’s team achieved for a Pentecostal Pastor and his family in Arkansas.
NEWPORT — Randall and Amy Sergeant thought dealing with termites was tough, but they said trying to work with their pest control company was even more difficult.
The couple has received $362,500 in damages after an independent arbitrator, attorney Robert Stroud of Batesville, found that Terminix International Company Limited L.P. wasn’t properly treating their home. “Randall and Amy Sergeant presented clear and convincing evidence that Terminix failed to provide a complete chemical barrier under, around, and inside the foundation of their Newport, Arkansas home,” Stroud wrote in his award and opinion of the arbitrator letter. “The extensive damage to the house would not have occurred otherwise. This incomplete treatment occurred at least as long ago as 1986, and perhaps longer. “In 2003, Terminix admitted in an Arkansas Plant Board investigation that it had never applied a complete termite barrier at the home and agreed to bring the service up to standard. Rather than repair the damage, the family who owned the home at the time and lenient state regulators agreed to let Terminix brace the damage and apply an incomplete treatment, known as a spot treatment, to the exterior of the home,” Stroud continued. Amy Sergeant said that she and her husband bought their home in Newport based upon an inspection done by Terminix in 2006. The inspection reported no visible damage to the home. “There was more than visible damage,” Amy said. “You trust the termite professionals. We bought the house and then found out there was a ton of damage. Terminix told them (their employees) to cover it up.”Just a few months after moving into the home Amy said they began battling the termites.
Terminix was making some repairs and then quit, Amy said. “They called it old damage. I asked them to fix my kitchen floor because it was dangerous to my children.”
“After spending thousands of dollars for repairs and two years battling with Terminix, Amy said she called the Arkansas State Plant Board, who regulates pest control companies in Arkansas. Amy said the board gave two notices to Terminix to make the repairs and it didn’t.” the Batesville newspaper wrote. “That’s when Amy and Randall hired a lawyer.” ‘“I was not protected at all. The branch manager told me it never had the initial treatment. I think what happened was that they just didn’t do their job,” she said. According to her contract with Terminix, both parties agreed — should the need arise — to go through arbitration versus going to court, a huge disadvantage to consumers, according to the Sergeants’ attorney, Tom Campbell of Campbell Law, PC.”
The article goes on to say, ‘“I think arbitration is horrible for consumers. We got a fair person in Bob (Robert) Stroud,” Campbell said, who went on to say that not even the United States Supreme court can reverse a decision made in arbitration.”“Many people have claims and can’t afford arbitration,” Campbell said, explaining the Sergeants’ case cost $15,000. I firmly believe that Terminix does have a practice of not treating houses properly. We have cases that Terminix would only apply once during the construction process. You literally have people paying premiums for 30 years and have never been protected,” Campbell said, adding, termites do their damage in hiding and it’s not until walls are opened up that the damage is seen.”‘“When they do find the damage, Terminix won’t pay the claim. You could be blind and go under this house (Sergeants’ home) and feel the damage.”’
“Among the witnesses was former Terminix service manager Tim Bruce who testified that termite-damaged wood was not replaced in a 2004 claim. A contractor was hired to brace the damaged wood.” “Then-branch manager Mike Steed admitted that repairing or retreating the damage would deprive him of a bonus.” ‘“Terminix knew and the manager admitted the house was damaged. You couldn’t repair the house. They refused to do it. They know someone who’s a poor preacher at a Pentecostal church and who works at a hardware store is not going to be able to sue in arbitration,” Campbell said, referring to Randall, who is a preacher. “This scam is so rampant in the industry that typically even if they get caught, the company doesn’t go back and do proper treatment.”’ ‘“At one point you could see all the way to the ground through the hardwood floor,” Amy said. “It’s a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood. That proves termites are not prejudiced.”’ ‘The couple has since moved to Huntsville, Ala. and have the home up for sale. She said they plan to fully disclose the home’s termite problem when selling.
She said they plan to pay off all debts they have incurred by the house with the money they will receive. “We thought we’d be able to sell it and move on. It’s been a disaster. I’ve had a foot in Arkansas for the last year and a half. I’m ready to move on.” ‘According to the newspaper, “The arbitrator found that Terminix was guilty of “fraudulently inducing” a preacher to buy a termite-riddled home, according to Campbell.”
Properly performed termite prevention service would work almost 100% of the time. Let folks who understand why that is a fact figure out how the termite company failed to protect.
Campbell Law PC
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