For months now, frustrated customers of the Oxford-based Odd Job Disposal, Inc. have been complaining online and around town about the waste hauler’s lack of service.
They have complained about late or missed pickups. They have complained about their phone calls to the company going unanswered and their emails unreturned.
Now, they’re upset because Odd Job went out of business and didn’t notify them, leaving them with trash sitting at the curb and questions about what to do next.
News of Odd Job’s demise came from another waste hauler, Community Disposal Service (CDS), which has facilities in Holly and Burton.
On Monday, CDS posted this message on its website – “We have been contacted by Odd Job about taking over their current customer list. At this time, we are working to negotiate a resolution to this situation and provide service to as many residents as possible.”
That same day, CDS posted the news on its Facebook page as well. “Odd Job Disposal has gone out of business, and our phones are ringing out of control,” the company wrote.
Brian Davis, co-owner of CDS, said a representative from Odd Job “reached out” to his company yesterday to see “if we were interested in taking over their customer book,” but an arrangement “could not be reached.”
“(The) bottom line is we have no deal with Odd Job,” he said.
Davis does not know if Odd Job is planning to issue refunds to its customers.
“I have no idea what Odd Job will do with your money. That’s their business,” he said.
No one answered the phone at Odd Job on Tuesday, but the company’s voicemail greeting confirmed its closure. The message said, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to close our doors. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this causes you. We thank our loyal customers for their business.”
On Facebook, Odd Job blamed Orion Township officials for its closure. On Tuesday, the company posted, “Because of the loss of Orion, which was a huge part of our income, (we) have to now file bankruptcy.” The post was later removed.
In March, the Orion Township Board voted 6-0 not to renew the waste hauler’s license to operate in the community. As a result, Odd Job has been unable to do business there since March 31. According to license renewal documents submitted by Odd Job, the hauler had 5,272 customers in Orion.
Orion officials said the township had received hundreds of communications – phone calls, emails and letters – from residents complaining about their lack of service from Odd Job. Many residents said it had been weeks, or even months in some cases, since Odd Job had picked up their recycling and yard waste. Customers also complained about Odd Job not answering or returning phone calls and emails.
Odd Job co-owner Aaron Walter admitted to Orion officials that his company had grown too big too fast. He also told the board that he had a folder of unprocessed customer refund requests that was a couple of inches thick. Walter estimated “500 or so” customers had requested refunds.
This reporter reached out to Odd Job for comment, but no one from the company responded to messages.
No one from Odd Job could be found when this reporter visited its office on Metamora Rd. on Monday evening and again Tuesday morning. The only person there on Monday was a disgruntled customer who was busy piling garbage outside the front door.
There was nothing posted on Odd Job’s website regarding its closure. The website was still operational on Monday, but by Tuesday morning, it had been removed.
Word of Odd Job’s closure resulted in lots of activity at the CDS office on Monday as the company received approximately 2,000 phone calls and about 400 emails from people inquiring about services, according to Davis.
“We are now in the process of printing off every single email inquiry,” so those people can be contacted, he said.
It also resulted in an influx of new business for CDS. “Yesterday, we took on about 800 new customers (in Oxford Township) in about five hours,” Davis said on Tuesday. “That occurred predominantly in Waterstone. The Waterstone communities had been talking to us prior to Odd Job (going out of business).”
Before all this happened, Davis said CDS had about 120 customers in Oxford.
In light of the overwhelming number of inquiries, Davis said all requests for service from potential new customers must be made via email. No phone calls, please.
“We’re taking customers on a first-come, first-served basis like anywhere else,” Davis said.
The company’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. CDS can also be reached via its website cdsmich.com.
The CDS website is telling people, “If we are able to provide you with service, we will contact you within 24 hours of the initial contact.”
Going forward, as CDS gets a better handle on the situation, Davis said they will keep the public informed via its Facebook page, other forms of social media and website.
“We’ll have updates,” he said. “We’re pretty transparent. We’ll let people know when we’re going to take people on and where . . . We will update people probably daily.”
Davis understands folks are frustrated right now, but he urged them to be “patient.”
“People aren’t going to get instant gratification,” he said. “I guarantee not everybody’s going to get (their waste) picked up this week. It is what it is.”
“We are prepared to provide service to more people in Oxford, but we’re going to be very diligent in our approach,” Davis continued. “We’re simply not going to build our book (just) for the sake of having customers.”
Lake Orion Review Editor Jim Newell contributed to this story.