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PEST CONTROL INDUSTRY
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Filing a Complaint with the SPCB
Who may file a complaint?
Any owner of a property, the owner's agent, a registered pest control company, or a licensee may file a complaint. Complaints may be filed against both pest control companies and pest control licensees.
What types of complaints does the Board handle?
The Board handles a variety of types of complaints. Complaints within the Board's jurisdiction include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Infections or infestations missed or not reported after an inspection
- Unlicensed activity
- Poor workmanship or repairs not performed in accordance with trade standards
- Failure to complete work
- False or misleading advertising
What types of complaints are outside of the Board's jurisdiction?
The Board is unable to assist consumers with complaints that are outside of the Board's jurisdiction. For example, the Board cannot assist consumers with complaints made against insurance companies, real estate agents, or contractors. If the Board receives one of these types of complaints, it will be referred to the proper agency with jurisdiction over the matter.
Pursuant to Section 8621 of the Business and Professions Code, complaints against a licensee or registered company must be filed with the Board within two years of the alleged improper activity. Complaints involving allegations of fraud must be filed within four years.
How do I file a complaint?
Download and print a Consumer Complaint Form.
Complete the entire form and attach copies of all documents pertaining to the complaint. Important documents that need to be included are inspection reports, service agreements, escrow instructions, deposit or payment receipts, and related information.
Do not make changes or alterations to any areas of the structure involved in the complaint.
Once the complaint form is completed and the documentation is attached, mail the complaint to:
Structural Pest Control Board
2005 Evergreen Street, Ste. 1500
Sacramento, CA 95815
What happens to the complaint after the Board receives it?
A Consumer Assistance Technician (CAT) initially reviews complaints received by the Board. If the CAT determines that the complaint appears valid and the appropriate documentation is enclosed with the complaint, the complaint is assigned to a Consumer Service Representative (CSR) for an in-depth review. The CSR will review the complaint to determine whether it is within the Board's jurisdiction. If the complaint is within the Board's jurisdiction and all necessary documents are submitted, the complaint is accepted. The complainant is notified by mail if the complaint is outside of the Board's jurisdiction.
Within ten days of receipt a card is sent to the complainant acknowledging that the Board has received the complaint. The card includes the case number and the name of the Consumer Services Representative (CSR) handling the complaint.
Once a complaint is accepted, a letter from the Board, along with a copy of the complaint, will be sent to the licensee and/or company. Companies are given ten business days to submit a response to the Board. Upon receipt of the company's response, the CSR evaluates and reviews the company's response to determine if it is in accordance with the Structural Pest Control Act, and is sufficient to resolve the complaint. If the response appears insufficient, the CSR discusses the steps necessary to resolve the matter with the company. The complainant is then notified of the company's response and the CSR attempts to mediate the complaint.
If all attempts for a response from the company fail or the complaint cannot be mediated successfully, it may be referred to a Board specialist for further review and investigation.
What happens if the investigation finds evidence to support my complaint and a resolution is unable to be mediated between myself and the licensee and/or company?
If the investigation finds evidence to support the complainant's allegations, the Board may submit the case to the Attorney General for consideration of formal disciplinary action against the licensee and/or company registration. The complainant will be notified of such a referral.
Violations of the applicable laws and regulations may result in a citation or charges against the licensee or registered company or that could lead to suspension or revocation of the license or registration. Citations may contain civil penalties (a fine) of up to $5,000 and/or orders of correction requiring the licensee or registered company to make repairs to your property.
If the violations are serious, the Board may take action to suspend or revoke a person's license or a company's registration. If a disciplinary action is undertaken, the state Attorney General represents the Board to prosecute the case. The Attorney General is not counsel for the complainant, but counsel for the Board.
What are my options if the complaint is outside of the Board's jurisdiction or if the Board determines my complaint is unwarranted?
Investigation by the Board does not guarantee restitution to complainants. If your primary interest is to gain restitution, you should pursue the matter in small claims court or consult with an attorney. If you are considering legal action to recover damages of $5,000 or less, the Board can provide you with information about filing a small claims court action, or you can consult the clerk of the small claims court for information and assistance. Additional "self help" information can be found online at www.courts.ca.gov. If your damages are more than $5,000, you should consult with an attorney.
California law requires registered structural pest companies to file a $4,000 surety bond or cash equivalent with the Board. For more information about making a claim against a bond, please contact the Board.
For additional complaint information, our toll-free number is 1-800-737-8188.