Waste Pro will pay $10 million to resolve claims it charged its Florida customers unlawful environmental fees.
The settlement benefits Florida residents and Florida corporations who paid environmental fees to Waste Pro between April 7, 2011, and May 14, 2020. Class members may have been front-end load, roll-off or residential customers of Waste Pro.
Waste Pro offers garbage and recycling services to residents and businesses in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
But Florida Waste Pro customers may have been charged illegal environmental fees.
According to a 2015 class action lawsuit, Waste Pro charges its Florida customers “environmental recovery fees” and “environmental fees.” These fees allegedly aim to recover the increased environmental costs that Waste Pro incurs over the course of its business.
However, plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit contend these fees are not actually used to offset increased environmental costs. In reality, these fees are allegedly used to inflate revenue.
“Waste Pro also has omitted material facts regarding the Environmental Fee, including that the Environmental Fee is not related to Waste Pro’s environmental or environmental compliance in any way, that it is not applied to such costs, that the amount of the fee bears no relations to charges by external government regulatory agencies, and that Waste Pro has not identified increased environmental costs at all,” the Waste Pro class action lawsuit argues.
Plaintiffs brought claims under Florida consumer protection laws.
After over seven years of litigation, a settlement has been reached in the case. Waste Pro agreed to pay $10 million to resolve the allegations, but hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing.
Under the terms of the settlement, class members can receive either a credit or a cash payment based on their customer status.
Current customers will receive an account credit compensating them for up to 100% of the environmental fees they paid on open accounts. Former customers can receive their share of the settlement fund as a cash payment, totaling up to 88% of the environmental fees they paid to Waste Pro.
Payments may be prorated to a lesser sum depending on the number of participating class members. Customers with both current and former accounts may receive a combination of cash payments and account credits.
The deadline for objection is Aug. 25, 2022.
The deadline for exclusion is Aug. 25, 2022, but only for class members who were not sent the initial class notice in May 2020.
The final approval hearing for the settlement is scheduled for Sept. 8, 2022.
In order to receive a payment or credit from the Waste Pro environmental fees settlement, class members must submit a valid claim form by Nov. 7, 2022.