Woman Charged More Than $800 for Rattlesnake Removal Says She Was Scammed

An Arizona resident recently encountered two problems that are likely to ruin anyone's day: the rattlesnake hiding in her home and the hugely inflated price she was charged to get rid of them.

Margaret Bullimore got up early one morning and was met with a rude awakening upon stepping out onto her patio. A rattlesnake, both common to Arizona but still a danger to humans, was slithering in her space.

"I got to say I panicked," Bullimore told ABC15. "I didn't know what to do."

She called the chain pest control company Orkin, which she had used in the past, but was told they do not handle snakes and instead was directed to reach out to a company called Critter Control.

Within less than an hour, a man from Critter Control reached her house, located the snake, took some photographs, and gave her an estimate of $895 to remove the reptile.

Bullimore was shocked at the price, which she later found out was just as exorbitant as she first thought. She told ABC15: "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.'"

Not feeling like she had any other option and staring down the venomous critter taking refuge in her home, Bullimore gave him her credit card and agreed to pay if he took away the snake.

After a few days of research, Bullimore found out that the "average cost for a rattlesnake removal in the Valley is between $100 and $500 depending on where the snake is and what time of day the company is called," reported ABC15.

Rattlesnake in Arizona
A rattlesnake tastes the air on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Reserve near Ajo, Arizona David McNew/GETTY

Bullimore then reached out to Let Joe Know, an ABC15 consumer resource show in Phoenix, Arizona, exposing scams, rip-offs, and bullies.

Let Joe Know contacted Critter Control to enquire about their pricing and especially about Bullimore's case.

"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," Critter Control told them.

However, Bullimore was refunded $460 just a short time after the call.

Bryan Hughes, owner of Rattle Snake Solutions LLC, told ABC15 that he resents fellow pest handlers who do business like this, saying they make his job of saving wildlife harder on the day-to-day.

"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," he said.

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, rattlesnakes live only in North and South America, and out of its 36 found species, 13 live in Arizona, more than any other state.

In February this year, another woman in Tuscon, Arizona encountered a rattlesnake on her front porch. She reached the front door to pick up her delivered food when she saw a reptile coiled up behind a statue next to her food package.