Extra Garbage Charges
Greetings fellow Montlakians!
I’m not sure if other people have experienced this, but I’ve noticed charges on my SPU bill for “extra garbage”. It struck me as odd since I weekly kick myself for not calling and reducing the size of my garbage can as I usually do not even fill it half-way up! I do remember picking up a long board with nails from the alleyway and sticking it in the garbage can. It frustrated me that I couldn’t get the lid on all the way (concern about raccoons and dogs) but it was only a 1-2” on one side so I wasn’t too worried (turns out, as long as it is < 6” the City says they do not charge).
I mentioned this casually to one neighbor – who checked their bill and noticed the same situation – again, they do not recall any extra garbage. A few days later another neighbor asked me if I had looked at my SPU bill – again, they were charged for extra garbage. I went to another neighbor and they reported the same scenario (although in the past and I have not followed up to see if they found charges on their recent bill).
Given that the City contracts out for these services, that it is in the best interest of these contractors to charge for as much as possible, there is inherent risk that customers will be over-charged. Given the number of (disputed) charges, it makes me wonder about fraudulent charges. It also makes me wonder if this is accidental, isolated to one driver or the entire coverage area of this contractor. I wrote the City but their only response was, basically, the contractors are authorized to charge for extra garbage. They did not address my concerns about fraud or the extent so I have followed up with them again.
Regardless, please check your SPU bills and dispute any “extra garbage” charges that are not legitimate. You might also want to let SPU know (I’ve been communicating with the Director of Seattle Public Utilities spu@...).
This was a consistent problem on our bill. Every month there was an “extra” garbage charge and every month I would call and they would remove the charge. Finally, after several months of this, I told them I had video tape of the garbage pickups for several weeks and that I could prove that I was being fraudulently charged. They then told me that the matter would be turned over to an investigator/supervisor and I haven’t seen extra charges since. It’s been 2 months now.
Thanks Jim for cautioning the neighborhood of this practice.