Terminix Pays $3,000,000 for $135,000 House
October 26, 2021; Birmingham, AL
How on earth could a couple of homeowners collect almost $3,000,000 on a termite damage claim for their modest house?
Why does this keep happening over and over to Terminix?
Why does one law firm keep getting such results when other firms don’t?
The answers aren’t complicated, really. Terminix has been faking termite prevention services for many decades. Termites can be prevented almost 100% of the time IF — if you apply the prevention chemical in a simple but painstaking way and if you replace the chemical barriers when the product wears off. This pest control company figured out that it could make a fortune every year by cheating: they don’t provide the complete prevention treatment and then cheat in the claims process once termite damage is discovered by homeowners.
Terminix’s customers do not want to believe the nightmare that their homes are eaten up, so it makes it easy for Terminix to trick them. Terminix lies to the property owner and says the problem is a small one and that the company will pay for the work. In reports to its investors, Terminix admits that its plan is to collect money for fake prevention services and annual renewal fees with the expectation that it can get away with paying only 4.5% of gross revenue in claims. This scam worked for decades until a lawyer had enough cases against Terminix to gather a massive amount of evidence that proves the company’s fraudulent scheme.
At legal trials, Terminix officials and experts admit that if you have one small hole in a baseboard or sheetrock in your home, the actual hidden damage behind the wall is bad enough that you should completely remove and replace the wall from floor to attic. However, in the internal claims process, Terminix does not do what it knows is needed for full repairs. Terminix will do a narrow repair that leaves damage and sometimes even leaves an active termite infestation in the home or business.
The homeowners in this case were victims of Terminix’s long-played scam. Terminix started doing minor repairs to their home in a slip-shod, piecemeal manner. The building inspector stopped work on the project and warned the owners that the home was so damaged by termites, it probably needed to be torn down and completely rebuilt. Terminix’s CEO refused to honor the replacement obligation in the contract and offered the owners a small amount of money instead. When even the top executive knows that the company let the home get destroyed by doing a fake prevention treatment and then tries to strong-arm the customer during the claims process, a punishment against the company should be imposed. In this case, it was: Terminix was hit with punitive damages for its practices.
And that, folks, is how a $135,000 home cost Terminix $3,000,000.