DO NOT SIGN ANY WM CONTRACT!
A couple of years ago we signed up for trash removal service from Waste Management (WM), we primarily chose WM because the former owners of the house we purchased used WM. I signed up for a two year contract. We fulfilled that two year contract and paid our bills via automatic bank draft by WM.
However WM raised their prices every year (and I didn't understand why as we had a two year contract so I assumed the cost was fixed for two years). Since they raised their prices I shopped around and found a much better deal on trash removal (not even close on price, size frequency of pickup, etc.) so I entered into an agreement with the new company to begin service. I contacted WM to let them know that I was canceling my service with them on 1/5/15 however when I called to do this I kept getting transferred around and finally was transferred to the right department or so I was told. However at that department no one would take my phone call so I was direct to leave a detailed message which I did. I then followed up with an email to the same department with the same message.
I did not receive any reply but I just attributed that to them being rude but assumed they canceled my account as I requested. I then received an automated email that my account was still being billed on 2/1/15. So I contacted them again regarding why my bank account was still being charged. This time I found a way to directly ask this question online via a email/chat feature directly in my account. Here again I didn't get any reply for several days.
I finally was contacted on 2/9 asking about my question. What I was told completely shocked me. It turns out WM has a practice of tricking customers into signing contracts they have no idea they signed. The contract is unbelievable, it's actually so complex the general public would have no way to understand it w/o the advice of an attorney. However what I have been able to learn from this conversation on 2/9 and subsequent reading and re-reading of the contract is that they lock you in so that it is both very hard to dispute price increases and also extremely hard to get out of the contract. Effectively they allow themselves to raise prices for any reason to any amount and they do that to get you to contact them to extend the contract. The contract says that the only time I can get out of the contract is prior to 3 months before the end of a term and not before 6 months after the term starts. So they effectively give you a 3 month window 3 months before the term ends to cancel. If you don't do that they have a termination clause where they can charge 3-6 months fee. Obviously I would never have signed this contract if I had known the terms. No one offered to explain this or to suggest I see a lawyer before I entered into this agreement.
This is America, and in America we have come to expect reasonable terms and one does not think that someone would be trying to trick you...but that is exactly what WM does. No one would sign this if they knew the terms but they are counting on the fact that Americans don't analyse the fine print and they expect reasonableness.
Reasonableness and honesty is what I did. I contracted them for 2 years to pickup trash and I paid my bills on time. I expected to be able to shop around and choose a different provider if I found a better one. I did not expect that I was tricked into a contract I did not understand. No other business I have ever been involved with acts this way. There are lots of companies that have detailed contracts, cell phone providers comes to mind, but they go out of their way to explain all of the key points and they make you initial each section to be sure you understand each provision. WM does not do this and they should be required to do so. These contracts should be illegal if they aren't.
Furthermore when I got the letter from WM stating the termination fee I would have to pay they tried to trick me again, they said it would be $643.32 plus removal fees so about $850. However when I read the fine print they try so hard to hide I found the actual cost was more like $400. I called today to both explain this error and to cancel my account. They agreed the fee I was quoted was wrong and said the actual fee would be $439.66. I paid this fee (because I had no choice) and canceled my account.
DO NOT SIGN ANY WM CONTRACT!
Product or Service Mentioned: Waste Management Waste Collection.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $773.
Preferred solution: Full refund.
Waste Management Cons: Contract, Price, Service, Unethical business.