Oakland, CA sues California Waste Solutions over recycling contract error
- The city of Oakland, CA has filed a lawsuit against its recycling service provider, California Waste Solutions, in Alameda County Superior Court over a "draftsman's error" that allows the company to charge significantly more than intended for moving recycling bins, as reported by SFGate.
- Single-family homeowners are charged $27.85 to have their recycling bins pulled to the curb and that fee was supposed to be the same for residents in multi-unit buildings. Instead, the contract allows California Waste Solutions to charge up to $776.13 for this service at multi-unit buildings. That fee is meant for full-size dumpsters, not standard bins.
- While no one has reported the company charging this full amount yet, multiple customers have seen rate increases since the city's current contract began in 2015. The city is suing to cap the rate at its intended amount and recuperate an unspecified amount of overcharges, with interest, that resulted from the higher rate.
Oakland's collection system has been the subject of ongoing disputes and legal action over rate increases, often from the owners of multi-unit buildings. Per the 2015 deal, California Waste Solutions handles all of the city's recyclables and Waste Management handles all refuse and organics collections. Much of this attention has centered around the "push" fees that companies are allowed to charge for moving customers' bins or dumpsters to the curb for collection.
The two companies are allowed to charge different push fees, leading the city to provide guidance on why the fees exist and how customers can potentially mitigate the expense. Property owners can receive a discount for moving the receptacles themselves or arranging for it be done at a lower rate by one of the multiple companies that have sprung up around this unique service since the contract took effect.
In general terms, the idea is that these push fees help companies recoup the time spent moving dumpsters or bins at larger buildings and also recognize the inherent safety risks. Especially when larger dumpsters are involved the potential for falls, strains or more serious injuries can be higher. Though when it comes to the standard bins at question in Oakland's lawsuit, it may be hard to justify a fee that is nearly 28 times higher than originally intended.
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