Thursday, August 09, 2007

Me vs. Gnats, round many

Score: I don't know. But I fear the gnats are winning. Ergo, a letter to my "pest control" company. Notes to you are italics.

Regarding: Cancellation of contract

To Whom It May Concern:

Motivated by pity for the poor kid selling pest control door to door in the heat, I decided that it would be worthwhile to purchase your services as a preventative measure. I hadn’t experienced pest problems to a great degree, which is what I told Eric. A roach here or there, a couple of spiders, two mice each winter. But spraying myself with items I picked up at Lowe’s didn’t seem overly impressive as I’m preparing to move in about a year when my fellowship at [current institution] ends. So it seemed a good decision to work with a reputable company and not have to worry about pest control at all.

I was very impressed with the young man who did the initial treatment. In fact, everyone with whom I’ve spoken has been polite and helpful, which is what I’ve come to expect from the time I’ve spent in and around [current city]. (See how I try to be polite?)

Yet just days after the treatment, I noticed there were gnats flying about. Many gnats. I hadn’t ever had a gnat problem before, so I thought perhaps the spiders had been keeping the flying insects in check and that everything would resolve itself in a couple of days. It has now been weeks and I’m living in gnat hell.

I spent last weekend bleaching my kitchen in hopes of finding a nest, though I’m not sure if gnats have nests. I’m allowing my houseplants to begin to die because I read that watering them allows gnats to live in the wet soil. My dog, Chienne, (I'm not sure why I told them her name.) doesn’t get a bowl of water because I woke each morning to find twenty or so gnats floating in the bowl. (Isn't that sad? I think that's sad.) I now wake to find more gnats than I’d care to count lying dead around my sink or on my stove (I have pictures. I can send them if you like.) (You people read my blog - you have to see the pictures regardless). I don’t leave dishes out, nor can I leave food on the counters. After cooking dinner, everything is quickly covered. I’m getting very skilled at slapping my hands together as I work on my laptop to kill the bug that flits around.

While Craig (service manager man) and I have been playing phone tag for nearly a week now, I have been told by several people at PayUsToGiveYouGnats that your ability to control flying pests is limited. Given that you can’t help with the gnats, I very much want to cancel my contract without penalty, and pray the spiders return soon.

I completely understand that you have provided the services Eric told me about. But I didn’t have a pest problem. $445 later – paid in advance for a year of service – I have a huge pest problem that is severely degrading my quality of life. I therefore feel I paid a considerable amount of money to get pests. I’d like that money back in hopes that I can return to my formerly gnat-free and lovely lifestyle.

I am happy to pay the $95 for the initial treatment. I asked several times that the second visit not occur, intercepting someone when I saw the truck in my driveway. I talked to two women at the front desk, explained the gnat problem and indicated my preference for the spiders to repopulate. I was therefore not pleased to find the statement hanging on my doorknob that someone had been out to spray again. In addition, I was not told of their arrival despite my giving my mobile, work and pager numbers.

I therefore would like $350 refunded to me. I feel the 60% penalty is grossly inappropriate in this case as I am deciding to cancel the contract under duress of swarms of gnats. If you have questions or feel it absolutely necessary to instate some lower penalty, please be in touch.

Thank you,

I hate the gnats so very much. Does anyone know of a way to infest a pest company with gnats if they refuse to refund my money? Anybody?


locks said...


Grad007 said...

If you could convince the pest control company to use their products at their own place, then presumably they would have a gnat problem too.

Spiders do keep many insects in check. So as long as they are not poisonous, or very numerous, then I don't mind having them around.

That's terribly sad that you have to let your plants die. Can you not move them outside? Is it possible to introduce spiders to the plants? I'm sure they'd love to eat all the gnats in the soil.

I hope you can soon get rid of all those gnats, and enjoy living in your home again.

I once had what I believed to be a tick infestation in my apartment. That was no fun at all. I avoided all furniture near which I had seen one of these tick-like insects. I ended up sleeping on a mat in a corner of my studio apartment, with a clear space of 1m of hardwood floor all around me, so I could easily see if any of the tick-like insects were approaching.

People, learn from my mistake! Do not assemble a tent in your appartment to let it dry out, if you have just camped with it in a pretty forest with many disease-carrying ticks!

Sorry for hogging your comments area, Katie :)

computer science without a cause said...

You should send a 2nd letter if you get no response in a week, saying that you will send a letter to the Better Business Bureau, you can even though in your states attorney general. If you paid on a credit card, you can dispute the charge saying the services were not adequate. I doubt you will have to try hard to convince anyone but the pest company that the spraying should keep all pests away.

sheepish said...

Do you know if they are gnats or fruit flies? There are different home remedies for both, and they're rather effective. Of course, I've never tried them on infestations like that. Yuck!

Anonymous said...

omg, so gross! sorry for you... hope they respond soon...

Oanh said...

Lavender oil soaked in a rag and sitting in a bowl will drive most insects away. More prettily, grown lavender in a pot will also assist with pests, although you do look to have a mighty infestation there.

As will citronella.

And incense, of whatever scent (your choice :-)

Now I've only used these in Australia, and I'm not sure if gnats are different, but there are plenty of infesting type bugs in the land of Oz.

And on the pest control people tactics, I highly recommend saying that you will tell your story to the local media. Works a treat to get PR onto issues.

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