Guardian Pest Control acted as if they were above the law. For years the company headquartered in Baldwin County, Alabama sold worthless termite treatments to hundreds of unsuspecting homeowners. Guardian’s territory is along the Alabama Gulf Coast, an area that is the epicenter of the feared Formosan Termite. Regulators with the Alabama Department of Agriculture ordered the company to stop the practice multiple times over the past decade.
Tom Campbell of the Campbell Law Firm got involved after a homeowner called him asking for help. The homeowner had been a customer of Guardian Pest Control for a number of years only to end up with a devastating termite problem in their most prized possession, their home.
What Guardian had pulled on this one homeowner, they had pulled on many others. For years Guardian, and many other Pest Control companies along the Gulf Coast, had been selling “Realtor Specials”, a cut rate deal of only $199 for an inspection, a report that was required for most house transactions to take place and they would also issue a termite bond and treatment. But Campbell says the special was an illegal rip off! “What they didn’t tell people was that for years the department of agriculture had been telling them that it was an illegal and deceptive practice because they were only doing partial termite treatment that won’t prevent termites.”
Once Campbell Law got involved, Guardian Pest Control’s “Realtor Special” scheme was exposed to the light of day. A trial judge in Baldwin County appointed retired Judge Braxton Kittrell as the arbitrator in the case. Judge Kittrell heard the case and entered an order finding the program deceptive under the Alabama deceptive trade practices Act. Soon thereafter Guardian lost their insurance coverage, could not get re-insured, and got slapped with a cease and desist letter demanding the company stop performing termite work along the Gulf Coast.
As one of the nation’s premiere law firms with extensive experience prosecuting deceptive practices of Pest Control Companies, Tom Campbell says it’s important to approach each case with an eye on what will be of the most financial benefit to the client. And the Guardian case called for an expertise that Campbell says sets his law firm apart from most others. “What we do in our cases that most lawyers don’t know how to do is to prove that they didn’t do a proper termite treatment of a client’s house and if they didn’t do that as a matter of pattern and practice,” Campbell said. “And we know how to audit their files and the questions to ask to their employees, to prove that that is what happened. And we are able to do that in that case and rather than just pleading it as an ordinary fraud case, we have the experience to plead it under the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practice Act.” And the difference in tactic resulted in a considerable increase in the eventual settlement Campbell won for the homeowner.
Campbell said the Guardian case is an example of the power of a quick phone call to the Campbell Law Firm. As a result of identifying and proving this deceptive business practice,” Campbell says, “a company that was defrauding consumers along the Gulf Coast has been put out of business. That’s an example of us working with consumers by putting a bad business out of business.”
If you are a customer of this company and received an inspection and termite bond you probably received a “Realtors Special.” Tell us your story.
If you are a former employee of Guardian and have helpful information to share about the business practice involved, please tell us your story.