Junk removal companies are a popular way to handle our most common every day problem: trash. Junk removal companies provide a very viable alternative to dumpster rental. In many communities in Southern California, like Santa Monica, dumpster rental is wrapped in bureaucratic red tap and permits. Junk removal companies in Santa Monica don’t face the same red tape, and they provide the labor to haul away junk.

But junk removal companies often try to pile on fees and charges once they are hired to do a job. You can avoid most of these bait and switch tactics if you know their game.

1. “We Don’t Do Estimates, But We Will Give You a Phone / Email Estimate”

Imagine for a moment you are a real estate agent in Santa Monica tasked with selling the home of an elderly woman who has recently passed away. The home is crammed with unwanted items, knick-knacks, and junk. Your first job as a realtor is to clean up that house and get ready to show. The easiest way to get rid of all that household junk is to call a junk removal company.

But how much will that job cost? You call a junk removal company that serves the Santa Monica area and ask for an estimate. “Oh but we don’t do in person estimates. But I can give you a phone estimate …”

If you smell fish and see a hook out of the corner of your eye you aren’t crazy, because the bait and switch is coming. A junk removal company will give you a low low price, and once they arrive to do the job the price begins to rise. And rise and rise.

Don’t fall for this bait and switch. If you need an estimate for a junk removal, get one in person and in writing.

2. “Yes, its $170 per load …. but….”

Let’s say you have a large double door Viking refrigerator that you need hauled away because the compressor is dead and no one wants it for charity. And let’s say for argument’s sake you live on the second floor of a walk up condo in Santa Monica. You call a junk removal company in Santa Monica and they quote you $170 to haul it away. Then when they arrive, after they have loaded the refrigerator into the truck, the foreman presents you will a bill for $250. Why? Labor.

Many, if not most, junk removal companies in the Santa Monica area fail to disclose addition labor costs, dump fees, or trip fees until they’ve complete the job. When you call a junk removal company ask them for all charges up front.

3. “Those Items Are Hazardous Materials and That Will Be Extra …”

Let’s say you have a garage that you need to empty out completely. That garage is stuffed with a lot of stuff from years or raising a family and now you want it empty so you can finally chase your lifelong dream of repair motorcycles. Of course, among those possessions are a couple of cans of paint from a bathroom remodel a couple years back. You don’t think about it. You call a junk removal company and ask for a garage clean out.

About halfway through the garage clean out the foreman comes across those cans of paint. The works comes to a screeching halt. The foreman gets a look on his face like he just stepped in a pile of crap left behind by his baby mama’s Chihuahua. “Those paint cans are hazardous! We can’t take those. But if you pay us $20 a can we can haul them away…”

Stop stop stop. If you have household hazardous materials, like paint, haul them away yourself. The City of Los Angeles and the City of Santa Monica both offer collection centers for Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) that are free of charge.

4.  ”Oh, That Price Was for Household Junk. This is Construction Debris.”

Let’s say you need to clean up your backyard. You’ve got an old swing set, some trash bags filled with old yard waste, and some wood. The junk removal company in Santa Monica you call gives you one price for all the household junk. Then when they arrive to do the job the foreman decides that the wood is construction debris. 

When you call a junk removal company in Santa Monica ask if you will be charged extra for construction debris. If the junk removal company you hire insists your household junk is construction debris tell them to leave it and take only the household junk. 

Which leads us to our Fifth tactic;

5. “If You Don’t Pay We’ll Dump Everything Out and Leave It!”

This is a strong arm tactic  a lot of smaller, fly by night junk removal companies use. They try to pressure you into paying more for a junk removal and if you don’t pay, they threaten to dump your junk and drive away. Don’t fall for this tactic.

Hold them to their estimated price. If they want to unload your junk and get nothing, then fine… There are about two dozen junk removal companies in Los Angeles that can have your business. In addition, make sure you inform any junk removal company that threatens you that they’ll be reported to the Better Business Bureau and face negative Yelp and Angie’s List reviews for this tactic.

More likely than not, bluff called, they’ll take your junk for the price quoted.

Don’t fall for scams, scare tactics, and bait and switch schemes. Be a smart, savvy consumer and hire your junk removal company wisely.

From North Hollywood Demo & Junk