- Property owners in Nevada's Clark County have filed a class action suit against Republic Services which alleges the company's policy of placing multiple liens on properties with overdue bills is illegal, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Attorneys for the plaintiffs claim that Republic can only file one $60 perpetual lien per home and tens of thousands of property owners may have been overcharged during the past four years. The suit alleges that the company violated Nevada’s Consumer Fraud Act and the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practice Act.
- While the plaintiffs want Republic to stop this practice and refund anyone that may have been overcharged, the company maintains it has done nothing wrong. “We believe our billing practices are consistent with the franchise agreement and our commitment to a community we are fortunate to serve," wrote Tim Oudman, market vice president, in a statement.
Republic's exclusive franchise agreements for municipal waste collection with Las Vegas, Clark County, North Las Vegas and Henderson go back decades. Multiple companies have filed complaints recently saying that Republic is limiting competition and one is attempting to challenge them for the Las Vegas contract which expires in 2021.
Concerns about the cost of Republic's Clark County agreement have come up in the past, particularly around the company's control over the county's only landfill, but the property lien angle is new in this situation. Liens have been used or proposed for overdue bills and illegal dump sites in other parts of the country without notable questions about the amount per account.
Obtaining payment for overdue or delinquent bills is an ongoing challenge for haulers that has inspired a variety of approaches. Some have added the fees to utility bills, published the names and addresses of account holders in newspapers or threatened to stop collection entirely. No one solution has proven universally effective for this issue and in some cases the bills may never be paid up in full.