Why we recommend against Exterminetics

This document is part of a series regarding recommendations (for and against) businesses that we have had dealings with. You should see that main document for important background information.

Four days waiting and 6 minute telephone holds

We had ant problems. Including ants in the beds. It was very serious, so we decided to call professionals.

When we first called Exterminetics of Southern California based on Yellow Pages ad (and was on hold for 4 minutes as clocked by the timer on the telephone) we had difficulty scheduling a time for them to come and treat the inside of the house. (For the outside, they didn't need anyone to be at home). I appreciated their honesty in telling me when they couldn't come. (Unlike others who promise a very convenient time just to stop you from calling around more.) I took this as a very good sign, and the spraying of the inside was actually scheduled more than a week from when I called. Another positive thing was the quality of the work done outside. They did more than just a perimeter spraying, but succeeded in killing of most of the ant nests outside. We were very impressed. I think it is because of that that we were so willing to put up with so much for so long.

On the day, nobody came during the alloted time. I called Exterminetics, and after a combined 6 minute hold as measured by the clock on my phone I was told that the serviceman would be late. I explained that would then need to reschedule, as we needed to go out.

The time that we rescheduled for was a difficult one for us. It would be tricky for me to get back to the house (I'd said after 2pm), but I left instructions to call and leave a message 20 minutes before arrival, and with 20 minutes notice, I could get there in time. The person I spoke to on the phone, Veronica, assured me that they would call ahead.

Well, they came before the alloted time and did not call ahead. So I rushed home, only to find a note saying that they had come, waited and left. It does appear that there was some genuine confusion about the time, but we had clearly agreed that they would call and leave a message before coming. (I was checking phone messages every few minutes.) But I had still lost much of the afternoon since I had scheduled to be home then.

I spoke to Veronica again and we scheduled a time (between 10 and 2) for two days later. She assured me that we would be the serviceman's first call on that day. So I expected that he would show up at 10. He didn't. At 11:15 I called and was told that he would be there be before 12. I didn't mention that I had been told that my house would be his first call that day.

He (Carlos) was friendly, helpful, and did a very quick baseboard spraying. He didn't ask anything about where we had seen ants (none along the baseboards). I wasn't aware that that was all he was going to do, but he had finished and said goodbye, so I assumed that what he did was sufficient.

It wasn't sufficient. It made no appreciable difference in the number of ants in the house. The number of ants in the house continued to grow over the next weeks. We were able to build mounds with the ants we were wiping up from the kitchen counter. So we called again (this time only a very short time on hold).

So we scheduled again for between 10 and 12. At 11:30 Veronica called me to say that he was running a bit late and would be at my house at 12:30. I said that that would be OK, and that I appreciated the call informing me. By 1:45 nobody had come, so I called. I described that counting all together this was the fourth time I'd been waiting at home to have them get rid of the ants. I also stated that if I every had to wait a fifth time, it would be with some other company. (We were paying them a monthly service for spraying outside.) I received an apology and a promise that I would get a call back in five minutes. By 2:00 I had heard nothing, and began putting this web page together. At 2:20 Francis showed up and did what seems like a very professional job. But I did make it clear to him that if I needed to call someone again, it would not be Exterminetics. He said that it would take one to two weeks before we see the full effect of the baiting, so we will see. I also appreciate the fact that I wasn't charged for retreating the house.

One year later (September 2002)

Out of shear inertia, I kept on giving Exterminetics one more chance. I got used to the fact that they came the first Friday of every month for the monthly spraying. In August 2002, I tried to stay at home most of the day because I wanted some treatment inside (ants again), but they came by at a time I was out and presumably sprayed the exterior. The ant problem just got worse, so for the September round I wanted to be sure not to miss them. So I called the day before to get some idea of when they'd be coming. I was told that someone would be there between 3 and 5 PM. I made special arrangments to have someone else pick up my daughter from school so that I could be home all this time. Nobody came. I called at about 5:15 and talked to someone who said that I should call back the next day. I called on the following Monday to cancel my contract with them. I should say that the call center at least picks up the phone far more promptly then they did when I had my previous difficulties. So there has been substantial improvement in that regard. But I have wasted far too much time on their unreliability to give them another second chance. Also I've been paying a substantial monthy rate and still have a serious ant problem.

Offer to publish response

I will attempt to inform Exterminetics of this document, and will either link to or directly host any reasonable reply they wish to make.

Version: $Revision: 1.4 $
Last Modified: $Date: 2002/09/17 18:08:41 $ GMT
First established: August 21, 2001
Author: Jeffrey Goldberg