Big Scams in a Lousy Business (Part 2)

Part Two, Lice Treatment that Gives You the Treatment

This is the second in a 2-part series of blog posts dedicated to some red flags that may save you time, money and headaches when choosing an in-home head lice treatment service.

In our last post, we brought to your attention three red flags that could mean an in-home head lice removal service is trying to take advantage of you—by charging more than the service is worth, or by locking you in to appointments, or by accepting cash only—the hallmark of a “fly-by-night” operation.

This post, we’ll tell you about FOUR SCAMS meant to increase the amount the in-home head lice treatment service can charge you, by adding unnecessary products or services to the bill.

  1. The company tries to sell you expensive house cleaning services. One of the biggest scams in the lice remediation world is expensive house cleaning. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “herculean” house cleaning efforts are unnecessary, because lice can’t thrive or reproduce anywhere but on a human head. Our advice? Vacuum rugs and upholstery, launder bedding and clothing, and put whatever can’t be laundered in the dryer for 30 minutes. But don’t pay inflated house cleaning prices for anyone to sprinkle baking soda “activated” by a secret spray formula on your couch. It’s a scam, engineered to take advantage of your vulnerability. There is no baking soda preparation on earth that’s been proven to kill lice. If there was, why wouldn’t it be available on store shelves?
  2. The company wants you to purchase “insurance” against re-infestation. While no one can guarantee that your child won’t get re-infested, we don’t recommend that you pay in advance for services you may not need.  The lice removal company you hire should be able to teach you how to follow up effectively, protecting your initial investment in lice treatment services, and minimizing the threat of re-infestation.
  3. The technician solicits tips. If you get superior service and you want to pay more than the asking price, by all means, show your appreciation by offering a tip.  But you should never feel obligated to do so, nor should any technician make a play for your sympathy or ask you for a tip to supplement their wages.  Reputable head lice treatment firms invest heavily in training their technicians, and pay them well for their time and expertise.  A technician graciously accepting your unsolicited tip is one thing, pressuring you for a tip is another — and a behavior we deem unacceptable.
  4. The company charges for “down time” while preparations are left on the hair. Some companies apply products they claim must sit for 30 minutes. This is a scam designed to add time to the service call. Make sure the service uses all-natural, pesticide-free enzyme formulas. These products work instantly, slowing down the movement of lice and loosening nit glue, making combing—the real hero of lice removal—much more efficient.

As with any service, check references, visit the lice treatment service website to judge the quality of the testimonials, and consult reviews such as YELP or your local mom’s blogs. The best way to prevent a lice removal service scam is to do a little homework up front. It won’t take long but could make the difference between a quick and painless process and a regrettable saga.