September 13th, 2018

TINA.org reader Rick E. had some junk he needed removed. Junk removal service 1-800-GOT-JUNK advertised a simple process. The tagline that convinced Rick to make an appointment over the phone: “All you have to do is point.”

It wasn’t until Rick’s unwanted items were loaded onto the truck that he received an estimate by a 1-800-GOT-JUNK crew member that was more than what he wanted to pay. Rick had yet to agree to anything but he also did not have the luxury of time — replacement furniture and appliances were en route — and with the items already on the truck, he reluctantly paid the $400 to remove a sectional sofa and a freezer from his home.

“Upfront pricing,” really?

Despite claims on its website to offer “upfront pricing,” 1-800-GOT-JUNK does not provide consumers with removal estimates in its ads or on its website. Estimates are only given in person after a consumer has booked an appointment online or over the phone and a crew arrives to assess the load (and in Rick’s case, move the load onto the truck). It’s just easier this way, the company says on its website:

Since we price based on how much space your junk takes up in our truck, it’s much easier to provide an estimate in person. Our crew will arrive onsite to take a look at your junk and provide an exact price.

But this requires consumers to wait around a couple hours for a crew to show up and to hand over personal information such as their name, address, phone number and email, which 1-800-GOT-JUNK says in its privacy policy it may use to pitch you additional services you may not want. So easier for the company, yes, but not so much for consumers.

As the 1-800-GOT-JUNK ad above illustrates, the company charges by the size of the truckload, from 1/8 full to completely full. Why not, then, list prices for these different size loads on the website, with the cubic footage for each so that consumers can do the math themselves at home? While these prices may not account for all fees, they could at least give consumers an idea of what 1-800-GOT-JUNK charges.

Company responds

TINA.org floated this proposal in an inquiry to 1-800-GOT-JUNK. In response, a spokesperson reiterated the company’s pricing policy as stated on its website and noted:

If a customer is not satisfied with their quote, they are not obligated to go through with services and are free to cancel without any charge.

Sure, but if the stuff is already loaded onto the truck and ready to be taken away, as was the case with Rick, some consumers may feel like it would be a waste of time not to go through with it.

Maybe 1-800-GOT-JUNK should change its tagline to “All you have to do is pay.”

Find more of our coverage on the home here.

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