INVESTIGATES: Haulers closing out complaints about missed pickups amid return of Jax recycling

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the city ramps up with the return to curbside recycling, Action News Jax found one of its haulers has been erroneously closing out complaints about missed pickups. The city confirms Advanced Disposal, now owned by Waste Management, owes the city for all of those.

STORY: ‘She was screaming;’ JSO recovers stolen car on the Southside with a baby in the backseat

For every missed pickup that isn’t solved by the end of the business day, that hauler gets hit with ‘liquidated damages.’ But by closing the complaint, Advanced Disposal didn’t have to pay even though the problem wasn’t solved. The city caught on, and now that contractor will have to pay the consequences.

We found a pile of yard waste that has been sitting on Karolyn Fox’s curb for almost nine weeks. She says she’s called the city about it every week. But according to the city’s complaint website, the tickets for the missed pickups, her argyle forest curb should be clean and the waste gone.

“The waste company said they had serviced the neighborhood and closed out the ticket,” Fox says, “Well, they didn’t.”

STORY: Toddler dies after going over waterfall in North Carolina

Her waste company is Advanced Disposal, now owned by Waste Management. Action News Jax found the company has been erroneously closing complaints for missed pickups all across it’s area.

Joann Jacobs lives more than a dozen miles away and had the same problem last month with a pile of bulk waste she filed a complaint on.

“I looked a few days later when the trash was still there,” she says, “And the ticket had been closed. So I filed it again on March 7, and it was closed again and pickup finally happened on March 11.”

STORY: New federal rule requires serial numbers, background checks for ‘ghost gun’ kits

We reached out to the city about how many times this has happened. It couldn’t give us a number or how much Waste Management now owes in liquidated damages, but it did say it was aware of the problem and the overall issue was investigated by Solid Waste Division compliance staff, who “addressed these issues with Waste Management’s route and division management team.”

But for Fox, that’s not enough.

”It’s very frustrating,” she says, staring at the pile of yard waste camped at her curb.

We checked her most recent complaint. It was marked closed when it’s still a problem.

“It becomes a mess,” she says. “I mean, right here, the storm drain is covered for almost eight weeks again.”