PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 21

leaves pest control operators open to claims
if their contracts don't comply exactly with
statutory requirements. Something as simple
as not bolding certain words might be a per
se violation of the law.
Ambiguity can be a problem when PCOs try
to write contracts themselves. "They want to
make it a re-treat contract, so on the front side
they have re-treat language but on the back
side they have repair language. So they find
themselves with a repair contract when that's
not what they intended," says Clifton E. Slaten,
a Montgomery, Alabama-based attorney who
has represented pest control companies in litigation for almost two decades. In areas where
PCOs want to exclude Formosan termites from
coverage, contracts must include language
that properly identifies the termites they will
cover, i.e. native eastern subterranean termites,
not just subterranean termites, which could
include Formosan termites. They should also
specifically exclude Formosan termites.
Solution: Review your contracts carefully to
make sure you are complying with all of your
state's requirements for language, content and
format. Ensure that your contract language is
clear and not contradictory.
PROBLEM: LACK OF TREATMENT
DOCUMENTATION
"If you don't have a record of treatment, it's
hard to prove that you did a treatment," says
Slaten. That's especially true for pre-treatments
that may not involve mechanics like drill holes.
Lack of documentation can be a real problem
if a case goes to court.
Solution: Document every service. "If there
are communications between the company
and the customer, that needs to be documented," added Slaten. "It's also good to have
something signed acknowledging that the
customer has been advised of certain things."
PROBLEM: POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
"If you have a complaint from a customer, you
need to be responsive. A lot of times, companies think, 'I turned that over to my insurance,
so I don't have to worry about it,'" says Slaten.
But insurance companies are busy and may
not provide the attention that the customer
is looking for.
Solution: "Non-responsiveness builds ill
will, and people are more likely to litigate if
they feel they're being ignored," said Slaten.
Stay in contact with customers to let them
know you are doing everything possible to
resolve a problem.

''

If you have a complaint from a customer, you need
to be responsive. A lot of times, companies think,
'I turned that over to my insurance, so I don't have to
worry about it.' "
-CLIFTON E. SLATEN, A MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA-BASED ATTORNEY

PROBLEM: OSHA VIOLATIONS
OSHA is cracking down on fumigators who
don't follow the rules for fall protection, ladder
safety and electrical safety.
Solution: Develop OSHA compliance
plans (available online) and ensure that you
are teaching your employees how to follow
these policies.
PROBLEM: NOT KNOWING EACH
STATE'S REGULATIONS
"When people operate in multiple states they
often don't know enough about each state's
regulations, so they may comply with one
state's regulations only," said Slaten. But some
states may require the PCO to give consumers certain information, like a chemical usage
record, while others do not.
Solution: Learn and follow the regulations
for each state you are operating in.
PROBLEM: LACK OF INVOLVEMENT
ON REGULATORY CHANGES
Non-compliance with state regulations can
lead to big legal problems for PCOs, but too
many don't get involved when new laws or

regulations are proposed. "Regulations are
really being determined by a handful of people
who go to meetings and voice their concerns
or work with the Department of Agriculture on
what those laws are," said Ruff. Some companies don't keep updated on regulatory changes
so they are in violation of the law if their practices don't comply with those changes.
Solution: PCOs "have to participate in their
associations on a national level and state level
to see where these regulatory bodies are and
the new rules that are being promulgated,"
said Ruff.
PROBLEM: WORKING WITH A
LAWYER UNFAMILIAR WITH THE
PEST CONTROL INDUSTRY
"Pest control is a unique type of business and
it takes a long time to develop expertise and
to understand the business and the nuances
of the consumers and the business mindset,"
said Slaten.
Solution: "If you pay enough in premium,
you might want to have it included in your
insurance agreement that you get to choose
your lawyer," he added.  ●

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PestWorld - September/October 2017

President’s Message
Employment Law 101
Safety First
Nine Legal Problems You Can Avoid
Making Safety Part of the Job
Pestworld Preview
Lyme Disease: A Clinical Look at a Multisystem Disorder
Marketing Corner: Five Steps to Nail a Media Interview
Standards: Qualitypro Charts the Future of Credentialing
Ask the Expert
The Cost of a Data Breach Could Put Your Pest Control Operation Out of Business
Membership Programs: The New Npma Health Insurance Exchange
Calendar of Events
Index of Advertisers
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - intro
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - cover1
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - cover2
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 3
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 4
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 5
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 6
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 7
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - President’s Message
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 9
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Employment Law 101
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 11
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 12
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 13
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Safety First
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 15
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 16
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 17
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Nine Legal Problems You Can Avoid
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 19
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 20
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 21
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Making Safety Part of the Job
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 23
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 24
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 25
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Pestworld Preview
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 27
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 28
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 29
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 30
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Lyme Disease: A Clinical Look at a Multisystem Disorder
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 32
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 33
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Marketing Corner: Five Steps to Nail a Media Interview
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 35
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Standards: Qualitypro Charts the Future of Credentialing
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 37
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 38
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Ask the Expert
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - The Cost of a Data Breach Could Put Your Pest Control Operation Out of Business
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 41
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 42
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Membership Programs: The New Npma Health Insurance Exchange
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - 44
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Calendar of Events
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - Index of Advertisers
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - cover3
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - cover4
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - divider1
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - divider2
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - outsert3
PestWorld - September/October 2017 - outsert4
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