I know that I normally do a Thursday Thirteen list, but today I’m so worked up about something that I need to beg your indulgence while I get on my soap box . . .
(She steps on the box, adjusts her glasses, clears her throat . . . )
I’ve had the same trash collection company for my weekly trash pickup since about 1987 when the little city I live in stopped offering free trash pickup. I’m not going to give their name, but they are an Official Sponsor of NASCAR. They drive green trucks. Their initials are WM.
Over the years, I’ve never had any reason to complain about their service. I put out the trash toter and they emptied it. They were never late, not even when we had some really bad snowstorms, and they always took whatever we set out. They were a little more expensive than some of the other trash haulers, but I didn’t really have any reason to complain about them. When the gas prices went through the roof, they started a fuel surcharge. Okay, I can understand that. I didn’t particularly like it, but I understood. I was still relatively happy with their service and never thought about switching carriers. That was until last week.
I got a letter from my trash company that, with the next invoice, they were going to add a $2 administrative fee to cover the cost of sending out paper bills and collecting paper checks in payment of those invoices. However, I could avoid this charge if I agreed to sign up for their electronic invoice/payment system. If I signed up for this wonderful service, they would send me an electronic invoice via email and, two weeks after I received the invoice, they would automatically deduct that amount from my checking account.
Maybe it’s just me, but I have a problem with this. I don’t like the idea that I have no choice in this matter. I either do it their way or pay $2. I’m all for the electronic invoice thing and I’m even willing to go to their website and pay the invoice electronically. But there is NO WAY I’m going to give them the power to automatically deduct the amount from my checking account.
I called to complain and see if there was some other way to avoid the $2 fee. When I found out that there were no other options and that (surprise!) the $2 fee was included on my current invoice, I decided to cancel my service with them.
So now I had to find another trash company. I thought I was going to have to deal with some other mega-company and put up with whatever silly rules for payment they insisted on enforcing. What I discovered was a very pleasant surprise. I found a locally owned company that was significantly cheaper than WM. They have been in business since the 1950’s and have no intention of closing up or selling out to the large mega-companies that have taken over the trash hauling industry. It’s a family business and they are just interested in making a living. The owners drive the trucks every day. They don’t have a fuel surcharge. They don’t have administrative fees. They send out paper invoices once a quarter and have no problem accepting paper checks in payment of those invoices. They start picking up our trash next week.
When I cancelled my service with WM, I told them that I was very unhappy about their new billing policy and that I was going to tell anyone who would listen about my complaints. When I found the new company and discovered how easy it was to do business with them, I promised that I would tell everyone to support their local vendor/merchant/business man. I learned that lesson the hard way . . . and I hope that I can spare someone else from having to learn it that way.
I just wish I had known about the local company back in 1987 . . ..
(She folds her notes and steps down off the box)
Thanks for listening.