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FEMA: Reports price gouging, fraud after Washington flooding

Flooded residential area in Sumas (November 15, 2021). Photo courtesy of Desiree Daniels
Flooded residential area in Sumas (November 15, 2021). Photo courtesy of Desiree Daniels

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — According to a media advisory from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), The State of Washington and local officials have received reports that some contractors are engaging in price gouging or fraud in rebuilding flood survivors’ homes.

Officials say that some contractors are charging survivors exorbitant prices for reconstruction and repairs, and others may be falsely presenting themselves as registered, licensed and bonded in the state.

L&I officials urge people who believe they were defrauded by a contractor after the November flooding and mudslides to file a complaint at or 888-811-5974.

State law requires construction contractors to register with L&I, which confirms they have a bond,
business license, liability insurance and meet other requirements.

Homeowners can verify if a construction contractor is registered and get tips on how to hire
contractors at L&I’s or by calling 800-647-0982.

L&I has compiled a list of resources to help home and business owners, employers and workers
recover from natural disasters at the L&I website.


  1. Gary Meader January 29, 2022

    After my crawl-space was flooded, a company call 911-DRY came by to quote clean up etc. They quoted $7700 for cleaning out my crawl space. It included12 days of de-humidifying, which didn’t get done $800 for sump pump and air mover use, which wasn’t needed. Then the bis RE-listed labor hours @$97/hr to be $2328! In addition to the work to be done! Total came to $7700+ withOUT replacing the insulation. I have never seen a charge for work being performed AND the labor to do it as a different line item. Luckily, I had a different co. do the work and they completed it including insulation for $6900. Had I used 911-Dry, the bill would have been over $11,000! I think this company used the desperation of flooded homeowners to pad their prices and treat a disaster like their Black Friday. I hope you didn’t get burned.

  2. Ann Cunnington January 29, 2022

    Servicemaster is a big abuser of people affected by the flood. They are charging victims exorbitant prices for their work and not telling people what they are charging. They are mainly targeting elderly citizens. I didn’t approve a machine that cost $5,000 a day. Their pricing and billing are bogus. They charge for work not performed. Their invoice makes no sense to the consumer. I was charged $30,000.00 for 6 days of intermittent work. They wouldn’t show up at all on days or be 5 hours late. Nobody told us that they charge for work after hours. There was no estimate or contract. Does that give them the right to charge whatever they want? There was also unprofessional activities they engaged in, like taking hours of breaks, to smoke pot on my property. They claimed 4 tons dumped when we furnished a lift trailer and did the dumping ourselves. There was no monitoring of machines. They were days late in picking up the machines after they were turned off. I could go on and on. Please call me at 206 351-8172.

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