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Billing frustrations remain after Republic Services sanitation workers strike ends

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Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 20:51:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As the Republic Services sanitation workers ended their strike earlier this month and trash was finally picked up around San Diego County some residents are now frustrated over receiving bills for the month with no trash service.

“Now it’s been a couple of weeks, the strike is over, and residents are getting their bills,” said Councilmember Jill Galvez, City of Chula Vista District 2, Northwest.

Galvez said she has heard from frustrated residents still charged for the month they didn’t have trash service.

“Some bills are $35 a month, ranging up to $56 a month, or they can be higher if residents have more than one trash can,” she said.

“I think they should just wave it for everybody,” said Ana Zendejas, a longtime Chula Vista resident.

Zendejas said she last paid $50.62 for trash service with Republic in November. She said she hasn’t seen her last bill yet and hopes she doesn’t.

“We pay for the pick-up of the trash so that the city would look clean, and they didn’t do their job," she said. "So I think what is fair they should refund us."

Republic Services tells ABC 10News customers with questions about their service or invoice are asked to follow the standard customer service process, which means calling 619-421-9400.

In an email, a spokesperson for the company added, “We recognize that some customers may have received a different service experience than others, so we will handle individual situations on a case-by-case basis.”

The company has not answered questions about whether customers and the city of Chula Vista are getting refunded.

Galvez said not all customers she has heard from are treated the same.

“They’ve been getting a wide variety of experiences,” she said. “Some have gotten zero bill credits, some have gotten five dollars, after escalating, some have gotten entire bills taken care of after threatening to sue."

Zendejas said she wouldn’t want to deal with calling the customer service line.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” she said. “Why call to get your money back when you deserve your money back because you didn’t get the service?”

Chula Vista’s city manager sent a letter to the company demanding that all residential customers be credited for the month of missed service. She is also asking for improved communication with the city and public, and for the company to reimburse the city for using its crews to pick up trash at overflowing multifamily complexes.

“We’ll be billing republic services about $150,000 for those efforts,” Galvez said.

A meeting initially planned for Monday between city of Chula Vista officials and Republic Services is currently being rescheduled. Republic Services tells ABC 10News, “We are working with the city of Chula Vista to schedule a meeting at a date and time that everyone is available.”

According to a spokesperson for the city, they anticipate the meeting to be held in the next week.