Bed Bugs Might Have Come From Rented Furniture
Friday, April 13, 2012

A Bakersfield family is creeped out. They have bed bugs crawling out of two couches, and that's after they got rid of a bed where the pests turned up a couple weeks ago.

They rented all the furniture, and assumed it would be safe from the pests.

But Friday morning both couches were sitting on their sides, with one bug after another crawling out.

"If you pull the lining down, then you can see all the bed bugs in there," Anna Marie Eaton said. She said an exterminator had just treated the room. The exterminator had come to follow up, after treating an upstairs bedroom.

Eaton said her son started showing up with red marks on his face and arms. At first, she thought it was the chicken pox. Then, she wondered if it was ant bites. She sprayed insect repellent and hoped it would stop.

But, she finally went into his room one night, flipped on the lights, and was shocked at all the bugs.

"They were all over, and they were coming out form under his pillow," Eaton said. "They were all over him, and all over his face."

She had rented the trundle bed from the Rent-A-Center on Chester Avenue in October. When she spotted the bed bugs, she called and asked them to take the bed away.

The family took video showing the crew taking the bed apart, and finding bugs between the slats.

Eaton's landlord sent over an exterminator, and she says he confirmed the pests are bed bugs.

Then, her son started sleeping on the couch downstairs. When the child got another bite, Eaton has asked the exterminator to come back for that follow-up treatment.

The family also rented the couches from the Rent-A-Center, and Eaton filed a report about the bed bugs on April 2.

Eyewitness News contacted the local store, and a manager said the bed delivered to the Eaton's was brand new. The couches had been previously rented.

Rent-A-Center spokesman Xavier Dominicis said by phone, the company has been taking steps to deal with bed bugs since the pests started to make a comeback across the country a few years ago.

Dominicis said every Rent-A-Center store is treated once a month by a licensed exterminator.

He said "sanitizing agents" approved by each state are used to treat the furniture, and the furniture is also visually inspected.

Dominicis wonders if the bed bugs in Eaton's apartment were brought in after the furniture was delivered.

The tiny bugs are known to "hitch-hike" on things like coats and backpacks. Dominicis notes the bed was delivered to the Eaton's in October, but they reported the bed bugs about six months later.

Eaton said her son started getting red marks soon after they rented the bed, it's just that she didn't realize till much later what was causing the bites.

The renter said she's upset that the company hasn't responded. "I've not heard from anybody from them," Eaton complained.

But, Dominicis said he checked with the third-party company that handles complaints, and was told the adjuster had called Eaton three times and left messages.

On Friday afternoon, Eaton said the two couches with bed bugs had been picked up by Rent-A-Center.

But that leaves a mostly empty apartment.

She worries bed bugs could now be hiding in places like the walls of the apartment. She's worried about where the kids will sleep, and she wants help.

"I want them to take care of all my damages," Eaton told Eyewitness News.

Company spokesman Xavier Dominicis said it's hoped the adjuster handling the complaint will get back to the family next week with an evaluation.

He said if it's determined the company caused the problem, they will do what's right.