A Couple Overpaid The City Of San Jose For Trash Pickup For Years, You Too? – NBC Bay Area


Weekly ups and downs destroyed Dena and Joe Priolo’s old trash can. So they recently called the town of San Jose. The technician who dropped off the can also dropped a bombshell: “He says, ‘Well, you have a 32-gallon can, but you’re paying for a 64-gallon can,'” Dena Priolo recalled.

The large can costs twice the price of the small can.

“We did the math,” Priolo said. “It’s like $13,000 that we’ve paid out of pocket since 1987.” That year, the Priolos moved in.

The couple lodged a complaint with the town hall. Then they said the city had offered to repay three years of overpayment.

Dena remarked in disbelief, “Three years? Really?”

The total the city offered to reimburse them was approximately $1,500. The Priolos wanted more and called NBC Bay Area Responds because there’s more to this story — and maybe more people overpaying.

Garbage Collection Fee Tracking

In San Jose, you don’t get garbage bills. Garbage collection fees are built into your property tax bills and are unclear. “There’s nothing on the invoice about the size of the box,” Priolo noted.

If you want to know what size bin the city charges you, you need to call 311 and ask the operator to look at your account. There’s a good reason for that: more than 28,000 people currently pay for large bins.

We asked how often owners like the Priolos find out they’re paying too much. The City of San Jose said “billing discrepancies occur about a few times a year.”

If there is an error, you can request an adjustment. That’s what Dena and Joe asked us to do. Long story short, the city reimbursed Priolo overpayments a bit more, but not until 1987.

“We reviewed their case and were able to make a recommendation and determine that we could return to 2015,” said Valerie Osmond of the City of San Jose.

Why 2015? That’s when the city stopped sending out separate garbage bills. And all those other years? We asked to see the records. The city said it had no old invoices to show how long the Priolos had a 32-gallon canister but were billed for a 64-gallon canister.

“What we don’t know is how far back,” Osmond said. The city also said the Priolos should have noticed they were paying too early. “I believe there is also some level of responsibility on the resident to raise those concerns,” Osmond noted.

The city returns the Priolos just over $3,000 and says future bills should be accurate. The Priolos are disappointed, but they scored a victory for everyone.

How to avoid overpaying

The city has just updated its website. so you can compare sizes and prices with your property tax bill to check what you’re paying. Priolo says everyone should check their account or call 311.

“I recommend that they call the city of San Jose. And find out what they’re paying for,” she said.

Do you have a consumer complaint? Let us knowso that we can help you.

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