I called Reliable about a possible bedbug problem, noted after I purchased an antique couch for my living room.
Reliable made an appointment and their representative arrived pretty much on time. That’s where the good news ends. Beyond that, I encountered a confusing mishmash of misinformation, and a complete lack of thoroughness (and you need thoroughness when dealing with bedbugs!).
When I spoke with the representative in the office, I had mentioned that I was eligible for the seniors’ discount. “Oh, yes, I’ve got that,” he assured me. He told me what he wanted me to do in preparation for the service: strip the bed and wash the sheets, remove everything from the dressers. That was it. The treatment, he said, would take four hours, during which time the room would be sprayed, all around the door frames would be sprayed, and behind the electrical outlet plates would be sprayed. Then, he said, they would return in two weeks and do it all over again.
He suggested that I buy one of their mattress covers, even though I informed him that I had no box spring and a Memoryfoam mattress that nothing can live in.
When the guy with the spray gun arrived, his first task was to get payment upfront. This was time-consuming, since the guy in the office had failed to inform him that I was eligible for the seniors’ discount, so he had to scribble out and recalculate his prepared invoice. I pointed out the couch I believed had caused my problem. I had a piece of fabric matching the upholstery covering the couch seat. He took that off. Did he suggest that it should be placed in a dryer on high heat for 20 – 30 min? No. I had a wool throw over the arm of the couch. Did he suggest that it should be placed in a dryer on high heat for 20 – 30 min? No. He spent some time complaining about the government—it seemed he wasn’t happy with the type of spray he was allowed to use, and then he went on to jovially inform me that bedbugs were a real problem, and that he had introduced them to his own home through his job. Did this give me a feeling of confidence? No.
We went to take a look at the bedroom. I wondered about the fact that I had a bed skirt, as well as two bedside tables with cloths down to the floor. “Oh, that’s OK,” he said casually. He remarked that he would be out of there in half an hour, leaving me to wonder how he would accomplish all that the guy in the office said he would do in that short time. He then said he guessed he would see me in about two weeks, and that I could return to my apartment four hours after his treatment.
When I returned, I found that he had not sprayed behind two of the dressers in the bedroom (neither had been moved), nor had he sprayed in the bedroom closet.
Three and a half weeks after my first treatment by Reliable, I called the company to express my dissatisfaction with the lack of thoroughness in the initial treatment and to ask when the second treatment would take place. “Oh,” I was told, “you’re supposed to call us and tell us when you want the second treatment.” And I was expected to know this how?? The guy in the office had simply told me they would return after two weeks to repeat the initial treatment. The last comment from the guy with the spray gun had been that he guessed he’d see me in two weeks. Wouldn’t you think the company would call after that two-week period and set up another appointment? They are the so-called experts; surely they should know the optimal time for the second treatment. I mentioned that the guy hadn’t sprayed behind the dressers in the bedroom—I could tell because there were photos on one dresser that would have shifted or fallen over, had the dresser been moved (also, I’m sure he wouldn’t have moved it back against the wall). I was then told that, in preparation for the second visit, I should move the photos. It would have taken me one minute (at the most) to do that if the guy on the initial service call had requested that this be done. The person I spoke to on this occasion asked if I had a bed skirt, telling me that there shouldn’t be anything touching the floor from the bed (hmm, that didn’t trouble the guy with the spray gun at all!).
At this point, I sent this review to Reliable. As I anticipated, there was absolutely no response.
The second service was somewhat better, but far from perfect. The guy certainly used a lot more spray than was used in the first service. On the first occasion, I couldn’t smell a whiff of spray when I returned to the apartment, but on the second occasion, the smell was quite strong. Inside my dresser drawers had probably been sprayed and behind the dressers and in the closet. The guy informed me, when he arrived, that bedbugs would find a person anywhere, so if I spent a lot of time in any one location, they would probably be there. Did he ask me where I spend most of my time during the day? No. I have a wood couch with removable cushions in a reading alcove, with two large upholstered cushions stored behind it. I would bet the farm that on neither occasion was this area sprayed (nothing had been moved). He suggested that I might want to purchase traps to see if there was evidence of bedbugs after the second service. (Another company I later checked with sets up traps for you at the end of their second service and charges less!) Did I receive a report re the results of the second spraying? No. I don’t know if any evidence of bugs was found at all.
I think/hope I am rid of the bedbugs, more by good luck than good management. I suspect I had a very small infestation and I caught it in its early stages. If I ever (god forbid) have a recurrence, I will definitely not be calling Reliable.