Call KENS | SA homeowner refuses to pay $2,000 to remove raccoon

Rita Soto called Terminix to remove a raccoon from her home but ended up in a contract for more than $2,000. Terminix changed the agreement after KENS 5 called them.

SAN ANTONIO — Rita Soto was tired of dealing with a raccoon that had moved into the edge of her roof. Soto is retired and taking care of her husband, so she couldn’t pay a lot but she still called Terminix to see what they could do for her.

The company then sent a salesman to her home and he said they could do the job.

“I told him that I couldn’t pay a lot of money, and I needed to get rid of the raccoon that was in the ease,” Soto said. “He said ‘we can take care of that’ and then he said ‘you just need to sign this contract. I signed it.”

Soto said she signed the employee’s tablet several times. But then, Soto claims the salesman told her the final price would be more than $2,000. She wasn’t happy.

“$2,000 to get a racoon gone? That’s ridiculous!” Soto said.

Soto eventually agreed to pay $1,000 and later tried to call Terminix to get the price changed. She couldn’t make any progress.

“You can’t get anyone who’s got authority. You are getting people who work for Terminix but no one who can make a decision,” Soto said.

Meanwhile, Terminix did successfully get the Raccoon to leave the edge of the roof and Soto said it ran off the property. Terminix also put screens and other devices to prevent it from returning, used disinfection products, and repaired the space where the raccoon exited the roof.

Soto said she was absolutely willing to pay for the work that was done but she still didn’t understand why the price of the contract was so high. Finally, she called KENS 5.

“I had seen Call KENS on TV for different things and thought, ‘well I’m going to call and that will be my last chance,'” Soto said.

KENS 5 came out to the home and looked over the contract agreement last week.

According to those documents, Terminix had signed Soto up for an annual “Ultimate Protection Home Pest Inspection” plan which included an initial charge of $1,600, an “Annual Renewal Charge” of around $200, and a $300 repair charge.

The contract also included a loan with an 18% annual percentage rate and a finance charge of $174.13, though that cost seemed to be built into the final contract price. 

Regardless, Soto still owed more than $1,000 and would be getting monthly bills for a loan payment.

Soto told KENS 5 she never understood that she was signing up for a loan.

KENS 5 reached out to Terminix on Thursday afternoon and the company started investigating the situation the very next day. Corporate Communications Director, James Robinson also called KENS 5 the next day and said he had contacted the Terminix office in San Antonio.

In just over 24 hours, Terminix came to an agreement with Mrs. Soto. Terminix would keep her initial $1,000 payment but would cancel the loan entirely. Additionally, the company would provide a warranty for two years instead of one year.

“I’m really thankful that they decided to do that. Fair is fair and that’s being fair,” Soto said.

Terminix emailed KENS 5 a statement which said: “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Our team was sorry to learn that Ms. Soto was unhappy with her contract. We reached out to her immediately after your call to explain the contract terms, point out work done and reason for each cost, and remind her of the value of the work in preventing another raccoon intrusion. We stand by the value and quality of our work, so in addition to offering Ms. Soto different payment terms, we’re adding a two-year warranty. We want our customers to be happy and their homes to be protected. So, if the racoon comes back, so will we.”

KENS 5 also asked Terminix if the $2,000 contract was normal for this kind of work. A spokesperson for the company said, “This price was specific to Ms. Soto’s home, but typical for the work done. They based the cost on the linear footage of the home, labor, disinfection products (for urine and feces), and materials for the exclusion work.”

He further clarified that the company generally provides a protection plan instead of offering a one-time service. 

Soto is thankful that the loan has been canceled and she’s glad she called KENS 5. 

“I really appreciate KENS, Channel 5, for helping me on this issue because I couldn’t have done it by myself. I tried and tried but I couldn’t do it myself. But they were on top of it,” Soto said.

If you have a problem like this, we want to help you fix it! In our series, Call KENS, we do our best to solve problems for our viewers. The number to call is 210-470-KENS, or fill out the form on this page. 

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