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Mesa woman charged $800+ for rattlesnake removal; says she was taken advantage of

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Posted at 5:05 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 18:06:16-04

PHOENIX — Rattlesnakes. You hear a lot about them living in Arizona, but what do you do when you find one too close for comfort? Call for help?

"I got to say I panicked," said Margaret Bullimore.

Early in the morning, Margaret came across a snake on her patio, in a spot where she had sat the night before.

"I didn't know what to do," said Bullimore.

Her first thought was to call her pest control company Orkin, but they told her that wasn't something they handled. Instead, they recommended a company called Critter Control.

Margaret says in less than an hour a man was at her door. He found the snake, took some photos, and told her it would cost $895 to remove it.

"I said straight away, I cannot afford that. I cannot afford that. And he said, well, if you don't sign to have to pay that I can't take it," said Bullimore.

Feeling pressured and wanting the snake gone, she handed over her credit card.

Margaret says it took a few days and some research to find the average cost for a rattlesnake removal in the Valley.

It runs somewhere between $100 and $500 depending on where the snake is and what time of day the company is called.

So why was Margaret charged almost double?

"That fear that people will feel is a thing that is easily exploitable by people that would want to do that or have a business reason to do that," said Bryan Hughes, Owner of Rattlesnake Solutions LLC.

He says hearing stories like Margaret's makes it harder to do his job - saving wildlife that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Creating fear and perpetuating fear of people and then charging for it, it makes it so those animals are still hated," said Hughes.

He says he doesn't want to scare people, but if you find a snake on your property it's likely been there before; knowing your schedule and how to avoid you.

Other times, he says, it's something like a food source bringing them in.

Bryan says it's important to note, paying someone to kill one of these snakes is illegal in Arizona, and any good company should be willing to help solve the source of the problem.

When it comes to what Margaret paid - Let Joe Know reached out to Orkin's parent company - who also happens to own Critter Control. We asked about their pricing and why Margaret was charged so much.

They told us: "We're working directly with the customer to address confusion and resolve the issue, but due to confidentiality and protecting customer privacy, we can't go into specifics."

A short time later, Margaret did let us know they agreed to refund $460 - about half of what she paid.