TAMPA, Fla. — A for-profit company the I-Team first exposed for questionable business practices is the subject of new complaints.
We Care Transport, LLC uses blue bins to collect clothing and shoes.
The company has been placing its bins on private property in parking lots in the North Hyde Park neighborhood without owners’ permission.
The company’s website isn’t active, and nobody answers the phone number on the bins.
We determined in 2016 that the company is based out of Illinois and makes millions of dollars a year selling used shoes and clothing to third world countries.
But many people who put items in the bins believe it benefits a charity, since it is labeled “donation center”.
“It's been like over a month actually,” said Kalid Srur, who owns a convenience store in North Hyde Park.
He says a collection bin appeared out of nowhere in his parking lot overnight.
“I tried to call this company, and nobody picks up. I saw the driver came like a week ago. I asked him to remove it, and he said we can just call the company,” said Srur.
He's not the only North Hyde Park businessperson upset.
“We've seen them pop up in a lot of different places,” said Carlos Ramirez, of the North Hyde Park Civic Association and Neighborhood Watch.
Ramirez says bins were recently left at Bank of America, Outback Steakhouse, Walgreens and other stores without owners' permission.
“They're not being emptied, they're kind of overflowing at times,” said Ramirez.
The association reached out to the I-Team because we investigated the same Illinois-based company in 2016, which makes millions selling used clothing to third-world countries.
At that time, tons of donations were shipped from a Plant City warehouse.
“We just kind of wanted to get some exposure as to what this company is doing and have the citizens be aware,” said Ramirez.
He encourages people who want to donate clothing to give them to charities.
The company didn't respond to our questions.
The city of Tampa says it can't do anything unless the bins are left in public rights-of-way or cause code violations related to trash or infestations. But code enforcement officers are working with property owners to document potential violations.
Srur says he's giving the company about another week to get the donation bin off his property, then he'll have to call a tow company and pay out of his own pocket to have it removed.
He hopes another one doesn't show up in its place.
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