SURPRISE, AZ — Customers of a Valley pest control company are angry after finding out their warranties won't be honored--unless they pay more money.
Christie Neilson of Suprise says she and several of her neighbors signed a contract with Amera Pest Control in December 2015.
For $937 her house received a termite treatment and a warranty.
"We paid extra and got the 10-year treatment and that guarantees that they would come out yearly to inspect so there's no infestation anywhere," she says.
Everything went according to plan until December 2018, when Neilson says she and her neighbors got a letter from Atomic Pest Control in Mesa saying they bought out Amera. It also included an invoice.
"To renew our contract it said just pay $125 dollars," she says. "It acted like they were doing us a favor."
Neilson questioned Atomic about why she should have to be pay for a service she has already paid for.
"When I called up to find out why, I talked to an employee and he said 'We bought their assets, not their liabilities,'" she says.
We heard the same from many Amera customers, including MaryLynn who is 4 years into her 10-year contract, and writes, "It feels like extortion to me. Who has my $600 Amera or Atomic?"
So who's responsible?
We called the number for a former Amera owner. He wouldn't answer our questions and repeatedly referred us to Atomic owner John Beebe. We left a message with his office but didn't hear back by air time.
"It's in black and white that we're covered through 2025," Neilson says.
An official with the Arizona Office of Pest Control Management tells ABC15, "There is no statutory obligation for a new owner to honor the 'warranties' of another business."
The Arizona Attorney General's Office says how warranties are handled depends on how the sale of the business was structured, and added if people felt they had be taken advantage of they could file a complaint with the office.
Neilson and some of her neighbors already have.
Those affected can also try filing a claim with Amera's insurance company from the time they signed the contract. You can get that information from the Arizona Department of Agriculture Pest Management Division. The agency phone number is 602-542-4373.
Often if a company goes out of business consumers are out of luck.
Next time consider setting aside money on a monthly basis instead.