Imagine the following scenario. You’re a Seattle homeowner who recently spent thousands of dollars remodeling your home. It’s been several months of hard work and anticipation, but the project is finally coming to a close. The construction crew is cleaning up, and everything looks beautiful. You’re incredibly excited and can’t wait to enjoy your new space. You’ve marked off ninety percent of the project checklist is and only have a few tasks left to complete. One of those is getting rid of the construction debris piled up outside.
You reach out to a few companies for price estimates, only to find their prices are higher than you expected. Your finances are already stretched thin after the remodel. You just want this done cheap and fast so you turn Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You hop on your computer, and sure enough, there are hundreds of listings that read, “JUNK REMOVAL – 50% OFF TODAY CHEAP SAME DAY HAUL.”
Problem solved. You give one of these haulers a call. They tell you they’ll be there in a couple of hours and ask you to have the money ready in cash. They arrive in their unmarked truck, load up all the debris, and you pay them. Since it’s a cash job on Craigslist, you don’t receive a receipt, but that’s no problem. You’re just happy to get rid of the junk and add another checkmark to the list.
Three days later, you receive a call. You’re surprised to find the voice on the other end is a police officer. They ask your name to confirm your identity. Then the officer drops the bomb. “We received an illegal dumping report of a large pile of construction debris in the dumpster of a local animal shelter. We found a document with your name and address amongst the debris. We’re going to need you to come down to the station.”
Illegal Dumping Laws and Consequences
When you arrive at the station, you apologize profusely and explain that you hired a junk removal service a few days ago. You had no idea they would dump it illegally, otherwise, you never would have worked with them. The officer listens and seems to be understanding. They tell you, “That all sounds reasonable. Would you mind providing us with a receipt, and we’ll take it up with the service provider?” Oh no. You continue to explain that you hired them off Craigslist, paid in cash, and didn’t receive a receipt. To make matters worse, you only spoke to them over the phone, so you don’t even have text messages as proof. You don’t even remember the person’s name.
The officer looks less understanding at this point. They explain, “The fact is, you chose to use an unlicensed and uninsured company to save yourself a few dollars. Then your junk ended up in the dumpster of a private business. The state of Washington has very specific rules about illegal dumping, as does the city of Seattle. It’s your responsibility to use a licensed junk removal service. Because you didn’t, this junk is still considered your property and your responsibility. According to state law, fines for illegal dumping of a load greater than one cubic yard range between $1000-$5000. Additionally, the animal shelter that owns the dumpster is pressing charges. You need to understand, this could result in jail time. For the moment, you’re free to go, but we’ll be contacting you soon.”
You leave the station in absolute shock. Before driving out of the parking lot, you grab your phone to call your partner. You notice several notifications on your phone. To your horror, you realize someone created a social media post, and it’s getting a lot of attention. This horrible mistake has been shared through several community groups, along with your neighborhood’s Nextdoor page. There are already more than fifty comments explicitly criticizing the incident at the beloved local shelter.
At this point, you’re almost in tears. On top of a massive fine and potential jail time, your reputation is being smeared across the internet. All in the name of saving a couple of hundred dollars.
The Impact of Illegal Dumping and How to Identify A Legitimate Junk Hauling Company
Sadly, this story powerfully illustrates the cautionary tale of working with a “discount” junk removal service. Illegal dumping is taken very seriously throughout the state of Washington and the greater United States.
Illegal dumping has significant environmental impacts. Improperly disposed materials can contaminate soil and nearby water, harm marine life, and poison water supplies. Large amounts of junk also provide a haven for rats and other disease-ridden rodents. Materials can be sharp or toxic, making them dangerous for children and adults alike.
All of these consequences are the reasons why it’s essential to hire a reputable hauling company for your junk removal. If a company’s prices seem too good to be true, they likely avoid city dump fees by dumping illegally.
Before working with a hauling company, be sure to review the following details:
- Confirm the company has a website and online reviews.
- Ask for proof of license and proper insurance (Million dollar premium).
- Never pay upfront, and don’t accept haggling or surprise fees after you’ve received a quote.
- Be cautious of companies that only do business in cash. Discounts for cash are okay, but reputable companies all accept credit cards
- Work with a company that recycles and practices eco-friendly disposal.
We Provide Licensed Professional Junk Hauling Throughout Seattle
Action Junk Hauling provides professionally licensed junk removal services that you can trust. We’re a 100% locally owned and operated business, ready to provide fast, reliable, and eco-friendly disposal. We understand the desire to save as much as possible, so we offer the most affordable prices possible. Avoid the consequences of illegal dumping. Give us a call today!