July 11, 2016
Great article (“Stericycle Contracts: Read the Fine Print
,” June 20 ADA News).
I am one of those dentists who bitterly complained to Stericycle for more than four years and have spent hours on the phone with them. In a nutshell, I watched as costs continued to escalate with a base monthly fee increase and then additional fees to come and pick up the boxes. Then, I started to receive phone calls that my office was over our limit of boxes to them or they were overweight. There was never a call if they were underweight but there was no credit for those pounds. I couldn’t help but think, “They can’t count or weigh the boxes before taking them?”
Stericycle representatives then referred me to the contract that changed from “about eight boxes” to “eight boxes” and then to no more than 40 pounds. All of which came completely under my radar because they told me that the contract was the same as before, which turned out not to be true. The representative said that he couldn’t tell me what the previous representative had said as she was no longer with the company, but they would work with me. I then found it very interesting that they were recording the conversations when I would call to work things out. I’m not sure if that is a normal way of doing business but I thought it was unusual.
Finally, I contracted with a different company in the area, told Stericyle not to come anymore, and I said I would pay off the contract monthly. I was honest enough that since I signed a contract, I was bound by the contract for its full duration, plus they threatened collections and a lawsuit if I didn’t pay nor cooperate.
Interestingly, however, they continued to send in the drivers to pick up our stuff even though they were told not to come and the drivers complained that I wouldn’t let them take the containers. I told them I am not going to pay over $1,000 for each of the containers as that was what I was quoted and would be charged according to the phone representative. On top of that, I never seemed to get the same representative when they called incessantly to keep my business.
The response from one of the customer service representatives was, “Well, we are more expensive than anyone else but look at the benefits you receive.” Benefits? Get real. Let me list the benefits: anger, irritation and feeling ripped off. You bet. My contract is up in September. Good riddance.
Michael J. Thoennes, D.D.S.
Editor’s note: Dr. Thoennes’ letter was one of many the ADA News received in response to its article on Stericycle. We thank the readers who took the time to write in but chose this letter because it encapsulates the essence of what many other members wrote.