Troubleshooters help resolve surprise trash bill

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Nydia Han and the Troubleshooters help resolve surprise trash bill (WPVI)

A surprise trash fee caught local customers off guard, but now they have their money back, all thanks to the Action News Troubleshooters.

Consumers tell Action News that a nationwide company they paid to remove trash is now giving them a load of garbage, trying to force them to pay what they consider a bogus fee.

"I got an increase at the end of February and I said enough is enough and I canceled with them," says Jay Cohen.

Karen Dwyer dumped Republic Services, too. Then she and Cohen got slapped with a surprise.

"I think they're taking advantage of consumers," said Dwyer.

RELATED: Become a Call for Action volunteer

Republic Services charges a fee to pick up its bins after you cancel: $56 for Dwyer and $42.13 for Cohen.

"I said to the people, 'We have no contract. We have no agreement that you're going to charge to do this,'" said Cohen.

Republic Services turned over Cohen's account to a collection agency.

"I thought this was ridiculous and they're trying to bully me into paying them money," he said.

Cohen and Dwyer are not the only ones complaining. So, the Troubleshooters went to Republic Services' office in King of Prussia where we actually got a nice reception.

But then we were referred to corporate headquarters in Arizona, where a spokesperson tells us the company stands by the fee.

Michael Roberts, General Manager with Republic Services, released the following statement:

"Republic is deeply committed to the Philadelphia communities we have been fortunate to serve for decades. While we work hard to provide quality customer service and retain our customers, in the unfortunate case when customers cancel service, there are cancelation fees associated. The fees cover the costs of collecting the container from the household and cleaning, refurbishing and in some cases repairing the containers after customer use. Republic would much rather retain these customers for years to come than to cancel their service and charge any fees."

As for Cohen and Dwyer? The good news is, after the Troubleshooters called their bill was resolved.

"About an hour and a half later, I got a phone call from Republic," said Cohen.

"I got a zero bill," said Dwyer.

"It was really, really good. Thank you," Cohen said.

And a big shout-out to our entire Troubleshooters team, which includes Call for Action. In the past six months, they've recovered more than $250,000 in refunds, goods, and services, and in the past decade, it's more than $12 million for our viewers!

And we could use more volunteers. If you can help a few hours one day a week, give us a call at 1-800-647-1756 or contact us here.

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