Republic may suspend service for 4K past-due customers in Louisiana

Dive Brief:

  • Republic Services may suspend service today for about 4,000 households in unincorporated areas of Louisiana's Lafayette Parish that haven't paid their bills in at least four months, as reported by KATC.
  • According to a statement from the Lafayette Consolidated Government, on behalf of Republic, customers will have 30 days to comply. After that point, delinquent customers could face a number of penalties including fines, property liens, and civil or criminal legal action.
  • Local officials estimate that these residents have received about $1 million in free collection services so far. Because the local government receives a portion of those fees, they in turn have lost out on an estimated $300,000.

Dive Insight:

Republic services about 22,000 households in this unincorporated parish area so the 4,000 past due accounts make up a noticeable portion of their local revenue. An additional 4,000 households have yet to sign up at all, which will also be a priority for the company. 

Recouping past-due bills or getting customers to sign up after months or years of disposing their own waste — often illegally — can be difficult. Common tactics include suspension of service, property liens, or even publishing the names of past-due customers in local newspapers. Though as seen in recent examples, these tactics can also generate legal challenges for municipalities and companies depending on how they're received by residents.

As electronic billing and data collection become more universal in the industry some of these problems may be avoided in the future. Though as seen in neighboring New Orleans last year, when a report found $7 million in uncollected sanitation fees, billing problems are still common even for larger municipalities.

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Filed Under: Collections & Transfer Corporate News
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