The Oakland City Council approved this week settlement of the City’s lawsuit against California Waste Solutions, Inc. (CWS) after years of litigation to recover for Oakland ratepayers approximately $6 million in overcharges for bringing recycling carts at multi-family buildings out to the curb ( “backyard service”). The settlement requires that CWS refund approximately 2,000 multi-family building owners for those years of overcharging, and lower their rates for backyard service for recycling carts going forward. The settlement will make these Oakland ratepayers whole, remedying the harm they suffered for years as a result of CWS’ overcharging practices.
The City filed this lawsuit nearly five years ago regarding CWS’ recycling contract with Oakland. CWS charged rates for backyard recycling cart services to multi-family buildings that far exceeded the rate for the same service to single family buildings. Despite the City’s best efforts to negotiate in good faith with CWS to resolve the issue without litigation, those efforts did not bear fruit. To protect these rate payers from CWS’ overcharging practices, which were charges of 550% of what their contract allowed, the City sued CWS in 2017.
Only through the course of the litigation did the City learn that CWS had overcharged Oakland ratepayers for services related to bringing recycling carts out to the curb at multi-family buildings by a total of approximately $6 million. Under the terms of the settlement, CWS must repay in a timely fashion those property owners who were overcharged. Property owners who were overcharged will be notified in the coming months of their eligibility for a refund, and will be provided information about the process for receiving their refund.
In addition, under the terms of the settlement, CWS will lower its rates so they are in line with the rates CWS charges for the same backyard service at single-family buildings. These building owners will receive a refund if they were overcharged, and CWS will charge the correct, lower rate for this service going forward.
All Oakland community members can learn more about trash, recycling, and compost services available in Oakland by going to www.oaklandrecycles.com. Oaklanders can learn more about services available to combat and reduce illegal dumping – and learn how they themselves can help! – at www.oaktownproud.com.