January 25, 2008

Goodbye, Doug!

I think it's pretty clear that I'd like to support local businesses whenever I can. Sometimes, however, it's also important to remember that local businesses aren't necessarily perfect.

I'd originally signed on to Doug's Trash Removal because they were a little cheaper than Superior, but I was also happy that they were locally owned, out of Groton.

I spent a lot of yesterday putting trash by the curb. We've been remodeling, and we'd taken apart a lot of old particle-board furniture. A few sheets of trash tags later, I put that down by the curb, along with all the other trash, and was surprised this morning to find the particle board left behind.

Doug's has taken pretty much everything I'd ever given them in the past, including particle board, with the sole exception of paint cans. That one was understandable, requiring a separate trip to the county's hazardous waste folks. They were pretty clear about not taking furniture from the curb, which was fine. (They'd also skipped me a couple of times completely, but not very often.) This morning I was just puzzled.

I called this morning, and didn't get a straight answer on the particle board, so I decided it was time to cancel my service. I don't put the trash out every week anyway, we now have a pickup truck, and why waste effort wondering if the trash I put down at the curb is just going to need hauling back up? We took the particle board down to the county's solid waste facility, where they said it was just fine as garbage.

About ten minutes ago, I got another call - from Christine at Doug's - about a refund for my two remaining months of service. That part was okay, though they wouldn't refund the trash tags I'd wasted on the particle board. I asked about why they wouldn't take it, and suddenly I was in trouble for going beyond their boundaries, that somehow I was supposed to know that this didn't qualify as household waste. I suggested that they consider making the list of things they don't take a lot clearer, but got "we've been in business for 25 years and this has worked just fine," before she hung up on me.

So, I called back to warn them that they'd just ensured themselves an unhappy review from a disgruntled customer, and sat down to write this. In the future we'll be taking our trash down ourselves. We can combine it with other trips to Ithaca, it's a lot cheaper, and hopefully a lot less annoying.

Hopefully other people are having better experiences, and maybe their service will improve, but I'm done with Doug's. Sometimes even local businesses aren't too friendly.

Posted by simon at January 25, 2008 12:58 PM in
Note on photos


Lis Garrett said:

We've always taken our trash to the "dump" ourselves. Even with the amount of recycling we do, the trash just piles up somehow. The dump is definitely a more cost-effective solution for any large (or growing) family.

Jeanne Vandevender said:

I got the same "We've been in business for 25 years and we're not changing a thing" speech this morning when I spoke with Doug himself regarding a roll-off I used at my residence.

It seems I'm being charged for something I did not agree to. According to Doug, I'm the only one who didn't hear his office worker on the phone when she said $10/day in addition to the trucking and tonnage fees.

I paid my $250 deposit by check directly to the driver when the dumpster was delivered. I never got a receipt, interim bill or explanation of charges. Now they tell me my bill is over $500 and they insisted very clearly (at least 8 times in 2 phone conversations) that I pay another $250 deposit before they will pick it up and stop assessing the daily rental fee.

I explained that it may have been partly my fault if the office worker told me but I didn't hear her, but that I never agreed to pay a daily rental fee, and had no idea the bill would grow so large in a short amount of time. I suggested that he print out a form letter to have his driver give to people when they pay their deposit listing the requirements and what they are agreeing to. Doug insisted that would be too much trouble. When I said I had worked in the business sector and know it is not that difficult, he told me that he'd been in the roll-off business for 25 years and he wasn't going to change his procedure for one customer. In the same conversation, he said he needed to charge the additional deposit before pick up because lots of people don't want to pay the daily rental fee. I wonder if they don't want to pay it because they didn't know about it like me?

Needless to say, like you, I will soon be an ex-customer of Doug's Trash.

Nancy said:

Wow -- Doug's just picked up my neighbor's trash and I was looking to see if they could get mine too, because I HATE going to the dump! But thanks to you guys, I will skip Doug's and they won't need to worry about the hassles of dealing with people who expect courtesy, service, reliability, honesty, and plain dealing. Thanks for saving me from wasting my time with a lousy service!

Sharon Napells said:

Wow I was surprised to stumble accross this thread about local company Dougs Trash. My husband and I and our extended family have used Dougs trash for many years now we have no complaints! The service has been great. We use the weekely service along with dumpster service. The lady's in the office have always been nice and both Doug and his daughter have always been helpful and answeared any questions or concerns we have ever had. Now I have never heard this "We've been in business for 25 years and we're not changing a thing" speech - but I have to say if a family owned local business has been in business that long (over 25 yrs) and are still going strong they must be doing something right that is a GREAT thing. As many local companys are long gone these days. Just my 2 cents.

Jaime said:

When inquiring about renting a dumpster, we asked if we could rent/use a tarp of theirs to cover the garbage so that it doesn't get wet and increase the weight, and Doug said no. We asked why, and he hung up on us. Prices from Doug's are great, but being in the customer service business ourselves, we could not understand what could possibly make Doug think it was good customer service to hang up on a potential customer who was asking a very simple question. We weren't even being rude about it!