Your reactions to the Rogue Traders programme

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Broadcast on BBC 1 on Wednesday 30 June, a large number of readers watched the Rogue Traders programme featuring the bedbug treatment undertaken by Kent-based ADN Pest Control.

Asked for your opinions of the programme we, somewhat understandably, received a large number of replies. A number of recurring themes appeared within the majority of them, notably: training; professionalism and official registration of technicians.

Here is a round-up of some of the replies received. The words are as sent in, however to spare their blushes, the names of the senders have been removed.

You may not like all that is said, but each comment makes a point many within the industry would agree with.

“I have been involved with the pest control industry, including running my own business, for over 20 years. I have seen some sights in my time and this programme did not help our industry at all.

“What it has done however, is highlighted the desperate need for a concrete foundation of recognised training in this industry. I have been crying out now for nearly two years and calling for a proper specific pest control apprenticeship scheme. (There currently isn’t one.)

“I have spent thousands of pounds over the years in training new staff, advertising etc for them to either leave and set up on their own after six months believing they are a skilled pest controller, which is not so. Or they move on deciding it is not for them.

“The whole industry needs a shake up to eliminate people as seen on TV last night and make it a lot tougher to gain qualifications and show the public that our work can be as dangerous as a gas engineer or electrician. Showing a proper professional approach, correct paperwork, knowledge of the product and pests goes a long way with most customers.”
Pest controller, Norfolk

“While it very disappointing to see one”s own profession highlighted in such a way by Rogue Traders, there is a positive outcome. That is, raising the public”s awareness of pest control/management issues and to prompt them to be more involved in querying what pest technicians are doing, why and what they are using, along with the associated risks.

“I was surprised at some of the inaccuracies made in the programme, but overall, I think many positives can come out of programs such as Rogue Traders.”
Pest controller, Yorkshire

“There was nothing surprising in the programme, as companies and individuals in all sectors of the service industry have for at least 50 years resulted in the cowboy element. Associations have done nothing to reduce this scenario. In fact they often are the key to these people’s credibility, as the unscrupulous can reproduce logos at will, then move on when caught and rebrand.

“TV documentaries may also inadvertently bring their own problems, as sometimes people see how easy it is to baffle the public and of course how profitable it can be over a short period.”
Business development manager, construction services sector

“A shocking and very deplorable example of what is going around the country with Rogue Traders – in short cowboys!

“How can we as an industry counter this except with a Registration Scheme approved by government and operated by the two membership Associations? I once heard at a seminar: “We won’t get registration or licensing from the government as we don’t kill anyone!” Not like the Gas Safe Registration Scheme!”
EHO, Derbyshire

“I think the pest control industry has to think again about the cost of training for someone new to the industry (or someone with experience but not RSPH/BPCA trained.)

“With more people looking for work its only a few that have approx £1,000 plus equipment costs so anyone with a family and house to keep will start-up without training and see how it goes!!!!”
Pest controller, Yorkshire

“This was an eye opening programme of how to employ a gofer who knew nothing about bedbugs and how to give the wrong advice and wear no protective clothing. As a pest controller, idiots like that make the rest of the hard working pesties look bad.”
Pest controller, Oxford

“The company was exposed not only as bad at pest control but also as a very bad company. Surely the tax people should be looking at them for the change of address etc.

One thing struck me quite forcibly and that was that with all the jokey presentation and horror at what they were doing there was no mention of how to make sure you get a good pest control company. Most people will go for the cheap option and we need to get the information out there – possibly by contacting the makers of the programme? – or anyone will be able to compete in the market to the detriment of those of us who do a good job.”
Pest controller, Yorkshire

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