Thursday, January 17, 2008
Notice of Intent (to cancel Allied Waste Services)
A little background. As many in this area will recall, about two or three years ago, BFI was bought out by Allied Waste Services. When it was still BFI, Athens Services came to town , offering a cheaper alternative, but rather than switch, I called up BFI and told them I had a lower offer. BFI promptly matched Athens' rate without argument. Ever since Allied Waste took over, they have been trying to sneak up my rate, but each time I have called and told them that Athens is cheaper, and they have (now grudgingly) acquiesced and matched Athens rate.
Allied Waste bills quarterly, and I being the techno-dweeb that I am, have them on automatic bill-pay service. As it seems, last quarter (the bill due in October) they raised my rate by $5.06. Upon receiving payment for the normal amount, they decided to threaten me with a $25 penalty if I did not square up with them.
I received that notice in December, but being a busy month with work and being December holiday season, I didn't open it until last weekend. By then I already had a second notice along side the first one informing me that I was now delinquent and that I now owed them the penalty. I resolved to call them this week and take issue with the charges, but before I got around to calling, I received the above threatening letter in today's mail.
Not only is this an issue of a mere $5.06, it is also transpiring before they have even waited for a complete billing cycle to elapse. Most other companies I've dealt with simply put any balance due on the next bill, as long as you don't abuse the situation. In this case, I've paid like clockwork (almost literally, given that it is paid automatically by a service).
They inform me in the letter, "This is your final opportunity to settle this matter quickly and amicably. Be assured that should you fail to comply with this request, we will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our interests. Should it be necessary to file suit, we will request prejudgment and postjudgement interest, court costs, and all additional attorney's fees incurred in the prosecution of such an action, as allowable by law."
And then in a brilliantly ironic closing, "Respectfully, Collections Department"
I don't know whether to laugh or go ballistic. Maybe it's some kind of prank being played on me for Candid Camera.
Already I was on the fence because of their repeated attempt to raise the price. The primary thing that was holding me back from switching was an assumption that Allied must do a better job of separating waste because they start out with it separated by making us do it and sending three trucks up the street. Athens only sends one truck, making a total of four huge garbage trucks on Stonehill every week. Some of the neighbors have already been casually lobbying me to switch to Athens to limit the number of big trucks on Stonehill. After a quick Google search for an Athens website, I found out that my reservations about post collection sorting seem to be unfounded. http://www.athensservices.com/materialrecovery.htm
I am now bound and determined to lobby everyone on Stonehill (and anyone who will listen for that matter) to dump Allied Waste.
Let's see. More expensive, more trucks, more cans to bang around the yard, and terrible (non-existent) customer service for the same end result. Seems like a no-brainer to dump Allied Waste Services.
One reservation I have heard from some other Allied Waste customers on Stonehill was about price. I currently pay $62/quarter and they evidently are trying to raise me to $67/quarter, which is still about $20 less than what Athens quoted me when I called them for rate information. They don't have any promotions to offer, even when I suggested that we might bring a group of people to the table.
Here is what Athens told me on the phone:
$29.25/month (bills quarterly for $87.75/quarter)
With Athens you provide your own cans and they allow up to six 35 gal. barrels. They ask you to put your garbage in separate cans from green waste and recycling.
Anyone 55 years or more gets a senior discount of 10% or $78.49/quarter
Allied Waste quoted me the following:
10 containers for trash (you provide) except select routes which have the large cans (Allied provides)
Separate containers for recycle and yard waste (Allied provides)
Three separate trucks for each type of material.
Standard rate is $24.50/month + taxes & fees = "About $90-$100/quarter". The customer service rep could not tell me how that was calculated or give me a precise quarterly cost.
Senior rate is $19.12/month + taxes & fees. The customer service rep could not give me an estimate of what this would amount to on a quarterly basis.
Extra charges for bulky items (anything that doesn't fit in trash can):
$27 for first two items and $11 each additional