According to a ValuePest ad delivered to my home in June 2007, ValuePest offers "SATISFACTION GUARANTEED OR YOUR MONEY BACK" Also, http://valuepest.com/system.asp states under the heading "OUR FAMOUS 365-DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE" That if you don't agree that their pest prevention system is the best, just let us know and we will send you a complete refund for every penny you've paid us on the spot.
ValuePest treated my home on 7/24/2007. The reason I hired them was because of a carpenter ant problem. They spent over 2 hrs. treating my home. However, 5 weeks later, I continued to have ants in my house and also all over my porches. Around 9/1/07, I applied Aventis Delta Dust around the entire perimeter of my home and also on the porches where the ants were active. Immediately, we began to see dying ants. When ValuePest returned in Oct. 2007 for the required quarterly treatment, I cancelled the service and told the tech about the ant problem that had not been corrected. There was also a spider and cricket problem that was not rectified.
Around mid Nov., I was cleaning out my desk files and discovered the money back guarantee that I had received in June, which I had forgotten about. I also discovered the valuepest.com web site where I found more detail about what was supposed to have happened with the treatment. Because the tech failed to comply with items #5, #6, & #7 at http://valuepest.com/system.asp, the ant problem wasn't alleviated and the tech never informed that I had options if the treatment didn't work.
Between 11/18/07 and 1/4/08, I made repeated requests for a refund. I informed Bob Jones, the company president, in an e-mail dated 12/3/07 that if ValuePest failed to honor their documented guarantee, I planed to file in Charlotte's Small Claim Court in Jan. 2008. I received the official response to my 11/18/07 request from Michelle Jones (Operations Manager) on 12/27/08. Her response said the guarantee didn't apply because I failed to call them back when the initial ant problem was not rectified. I received a similar response from Bob Jones in a 1/4/2008 e-mail.
On 2/14/08, I went to Small Claims Court and was informed by the judge that the contract I had signed with ValuePest contained a clause mandating me to resolve all conflicts with ValuePest via arbitration. In my opinion, this requirement rendered the ValuePest guarantee totally invalid, as it's not possible to get an "on the spot refund" if you must first go through mediation and arbitration. This process would probably cost more than the $399.00 paid for the initial treatment plus $90 wasted filing the Small Claim, and certainly couldn't be honestly defined as "on the spot" as per the guarantee documentation. .
To add insult to injury, I had informed ValuePest that I was going to file a "Small Claim" and they went ahead and let me waste the additional $90, when they knew about the 'arbitration clause' and knew I was wasting my time and money, but failed to mention it to me. I failed to catch the 'arbitration clause' because it was buried in the paperwork that appeared to be written primarily to address the Termite coverage.
Note: I had my home built in 1985 and was aware that I had no termites, but ValuePest offers a one-size-fits-all package and I hired them to take care of carpenter ants, spiders, and crickets, so I didn't pay much attention to the termite paperwork. Shame on me, but that doesn't negate the fact that their guarantee says there is an unconditional money back guarantee. This statement appears to be a total sham as, I would consider mandatory arbitration a significant condition.
Charlotte, North Carolina