Do you think you’ve been given bed bugs from a new couch that you bought? Here is everything know about bed bug liability in used furniture stores.
Did you know that for a period of about 40 years bed bugs were nearly extinct?
In the 1950s, powerful insecticides were introduced that made beg bugs essentially a topic of legends. Around the 1990s, however, bed bugs began to develop resistance to the insecticides.
As a result, the pests have made a strong comeback. Because they were so uncommon for years, however, most people do not know how to look for them or deal with them.
People pick up bed bugs from a variety of locations including hotels, public spaces, and used furniture stores. But what rights does a consumer have if they get bed bugs from furniture that they purchased? Let’s take a closer look.
How to Spot Bed Bugs
Before we get into what your options are if you have bed bugs, let’s take a closer look at how to spot them in the first place. After all, it’s always easier to try to avoid a problem than it is to resolve one.
If you’re looking at purchasing furniture from a used furniture store, it’s important to check it first for these signs of bed bugs.
A common myth is that bed bugs only travel on upholstered furniture, so it is safe to purchase any furniture that is just wood, like dressers and bookshelves. While it is true that you will more often find bed bugs in mattresses and couches, they can also be found in wood.
If purchasing a dresser or nightstand, check all parts of it including all the drawers. Bed bugs are usually hard to see, so you are instead looking for signs that bed bugs have been there. These include dark stains, mounds of droppings, shedded skins, and white eggs.
For mattresses and couches, you will want to make sure to check the seams, as this is where bed bugs like to hide.
Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Home
Unfortunately, bed bugs can be hard to spot. For this reason, the first indication many victims of bed bugs have is the injuries they cause.
One of the first things that bed bug victims notice is itchiness. You may also notice bites on your body.
If you suspect bed bugs, check your sheets and pillowcases. You will usually notice bloodstains. These are caused by rolling over in the night and crushing bed bugs that have become engorged with blood.
If you have pets in your home, you may have difficulty distinguishing whether you are dealing with bed bugs or fleas. There are a couple of ways to tell the difference.
Bed bugs typically bite in a series of three bites, and they also leave a zigzag formation over the body. You also typically won’t notice bloodstains with fleas.
Instead, you’ll see small, black droppings that look similar to coffee grounds.
What Should I Do if I Have Bed Bugs?
If you do have bed bugs, the first thing you need to do is document everything. If don’t do this, you won’t have any evidence of the infestation to work with.
Take pictures of any injuries the bed bugs caused on you and your family, including bites and scars. Next, take pictures of any blood stains, droppings, shells, or eggs that you find in your bedding or furniture. In addition to taking photos, take detailed notes with dates and times that you noticed these things.
If you are living in an apartment or renting a home, you should also notify your landlord. Make sure to keep a record of any correspondence, and do as much communication in writing as possible.
Keep in mind that it is important to document any costs you incur as a result of bed bugs. If you go to the doctor for treatment, keep the receipts and notes from any treatment. If you have to take any time off of work, document with your boss that the reason for your time off is the bed bugs.
Also keep track of any personal items that you have to dispose of as a result of the infestation. Again, make sure to take pictures to demonstrate that the property was damaged.
Unfortunately, bed bugs are notorious for migrating from one piece of furniture to another. If you discover bed bugs in one of your home’s bedrooms, you will need to check the furniture in the rest of your home, as well as your clothing, for a sign of infestation.
What Are My Rights if I’ve Been Affected by Bed Bugs?
If you’ve been affected by bed bugs, you can request damages in a couple of different categories. These include property damage, personal injury, and lost wages. In some cases, you may be able to recover damages for mental distress, such as anxiety.
Once you have gathered the evidence of the infestation, you should contact a lawyer who has experience dealing with bed bugs in furniture stores. This is a fairly specific category, so you will want an attorney who has a history of recovering damages on behalf of their clients.
Deal With Bed Bugs From Used Furniture Stores Today
While getting items from used furniture stores can be a good way to find unique or discount items, it can also present a risk for bed bugs. If you do end up with pests, it’s important to know your rights.
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