SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — The WREG Problem Solvers got a dumpster removed from a homeowner's property and uncovered an investigation into a Mississippi contractor.
Jeanette Ford became a first-time home buyer last summer.
The home needed a lot of updating, but she got excited at the prospect of her five children playing in the big yard, marked by a long driveway.
But soon, that driveway got eaten up by a massive commercial dumpster.
Her contractor rented the dumpster for a week, but that was in September of 2019. As of January 2020, it was still there.
“I was getting no where with Mr. Harris trying to get someone to come out here and pick it up. He would give me the runaround. Tell me he’s working on it," Ford said of her contractor, Larry Harris.
She got tired of waiting, so she called the WREG Problem Solvers.
She showed us the Ultimate Dumpsters paperwork provided by Harris. He paid about $500 to rent the dumpster for seven days. They billed it to his address in Byhalia and put Ford’s home in Southaven as the service address.
To start, the Problem Solvers called Ultimate Dumpsters, based in New York..
The representative said Harris owed more than $1,500 at that point. According to the invoice, the charge is $15 a day for each day you go over.
“We cannot really pick up the dumpster unless we’ll be able to receive a payment for the days overage," the rep said.
She also said if he doesn’t pay, both Harris and Ford could be in financial trouble; collections agents hold both addresses accountable.
That’s when the Problem Solvers knew we had to get answers from Harris himself. So, we went to his Byhalia address and asked about the dumpster.
At first he disputed that he'd abandoned it.
“We didn’t leave the dumpster there. Actually we’re still there working," he said.
But soon he changed his story.
“The dumpster has been paid and they’re saying the call wasn’t made for it to be picked up. We got timelines and emails where the call was made to be picked up," Harris said.
WREG checked with Ultimate Dumpsters. They said Harris did call about six weeks after delivery and asked for a pickup. He used a credit card to pay the balance, but that got declined. So nothing ever happened.
Harris went back and forth about the details. He even accused the dumpster company of extortion.
“When you bring something and set it and then you have to pay us this for us to come get it,” he said of the company's requirements.
But in the end he made this guarantee to the Problem Solvers.
“We’ll have the dumpster removed next week, hopefully all this will be taken care of," he said.
Ten days later, Ford woke up to an empty spot where the dumpster used to be.
“They came a couple days ago in the middle of the night and as you can see they’ve removed the dumpster,” she said when we returned to her home. “Everyone was shocked to see it gone! Like, wow! Finally, it’s gone!”
She’s relieved because by now she’d gotten a removal notice from her homeowners association.
“If you all had not gotten involved, I do believe this dumpster would still be sitting here today,” she said.
But before the Problems Solvers wrapped up this case, we called the dumpster company to get the value of the final balance.
That’s when they dropped a bombshell: Harris never paid it off. Instead, he called to tell them he was moving the dumpster to an undisclosed location. That means he’s still putting his customer at risk, because they’ve now sent the case to collections.
That's not the only disturbing warning the Problem Solvers uncovered. Part 2 of this story airs Friday at 5 p.m.