Ask Amy: Cypress couple asks for help with no-show garbage company

CYPRESS, Texas – You take the trash out to the curb and pay your garbage bill, but when the garbage company doesn't pick it up, it can be frustrating. One couple in Cypress called consumer expert Amy Davis when they waited weeks with no pickup. 

"They were supposed to have picked it up today,"  80-year-old Marvin Osgood said.

He contracted Texas Pride Disposal to pick up his trash every Wednesday and Saturday, but Osgood said since February the company has made it out only about three times. Those visits were only after Osgood and his wife called the company. 

"I was on hold for two hours and they kept bringing the recording back, you know, 'You're caller number four, three.' I mean it took two hours," said Gladys Osgood, Marvin Osgood's wife. 

"Every time you pick up to call them, you're always the sixth caller," Marvin Osgood said.

The couple takes pride in their Cypress home where they have lived for nearly 50 years, but they're not proud of the growing pile of garbage littering their lawn, waiting to be picked up.

Texas Pride Disposal takes the Osgoods' quarterly payment right out of their bank account. For the past year, it has consistently picked up the trash, until February. In January, the city of Houston awarded the company a $5 million contract to help with the city's recycling program.

Consumer expert Amy Davis drove to Texas Pride's headquarters in Rosenberg when no one returned an email, Facebook message or voice mail messages.

"We were calling about problems some of your customers are having getting their trash picked up," Daivs said to the first person she saw at the business. "So who is in charge that can talk about that?" 

"You need to speak with Kevin Atkinson. He's the owner," the man, who said his name was Matt, answered.  

"OK," Davis said. "Where's Kevin?"

"He's not here right now today," Matt replied.

Matt said the company has been experiencing problems with its phone system and routes. He said they would pass Davis' message along to the owner.

Within an hour of Davis' visit, owner Kevin Atkinson drove out to the Osgoods' house to collect the garbage himself.  He gave the Osgoods a real trash can with the Texas Pride logo so his drivers can more easily spot it and he refunded the last three months of service for which the Osgoods have paid.

"I take this very personally, probably too personally at times," Atkinson said.

"What happened?" Davis asked, wondering why the problem had gone on for so long.

"Just routing and growth essentially," Atkinson answered. "We have put on quite a few homes since the beginning of the year."

Atkinson said his company has added nearly 20,000 homes just this year. While they hired more workers to pick up the trash, they didn't add enough staff to handle customer service, billing and troubleshooting problems like what the Osgoods experienced.

If Texas Pride Disposal is your garbage company, Atkinson said he knows they are having phone problems. He said the company is moving to a new facility in Missouri City in two weeks. He said they will have a brand new phone system and will, hopefully, work out all of the growing pains.

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Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.