Many owners of multi-family rental properties will receive refunds for previous overcharges on residential recycling bills
Oakland, Calif. – Recycling service refunds are now available through the City of Oakland to the owners of many multi-family rental properties in the city. The refunds are the result of a lawsuit the City of Oakland brought against California Waste Solutions (CWS) over recycling service charges above the contracted amount during the 2010s. The lawsuit’s settlement agreement also reduces these property owners’ recycling rates going forward. The City of Oakland filed suit in 2017 against CWS in Alameda County Superior Court and CWS filed a counterclaim in 2019. Both parties agreed to a settlement in 2021 and have been working since that time to develop a process for distributing the refunds.
“Securing these refunds and the rate reduction is a win for small business owners and landlords of multi-family housing units in Oakland,” said Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker. “Many of these property owners operate on a tight margin; this settlement will enable them to reduce costs and, more importantly, recoup unfair charges they were previously required to pay. The City of Oakland is committed to supporting our local business community.”
The dispute that led to litigation stemmed from CWS charging higher rates for premium backyard multi-family dwelling recycling services than was allowed by the contract with Oakland. By the terms of the settlement agreement, CWS will refund all overcharges to multi-family dwelling owners for the service of bringing recycling carts to curbside for collection, with the overcharges citywide totaling approximately $6 million. The residential recycling collection services agreement between the City and CWS has been amended to reduce the current rate, from $187.57 to $34.22.
All property owners affected will receive a notice in the mail showing the amount of their expected refund and a unique-to-them code. They can use that code to fill out a claims form on a dedicated refund website, www.CWSSettlement.com, or they can mail in their claims form. Property owners can call 1-833-493-1547 for more information or to request a claim form if they don’t receive one in the mail.
“Setting up the claims process has been a collaborative effort between the City and CWS,” said Oakland Public Works Director G. Harold Duffey. “We are confident that property owners will be able to claim their refunds easily and that the overpayment funds will be disbursed efficiently. However, property owners must complete the claims process to receive their refunds.”
One-thousand three-hundred and forty properties are known to be affected, with refunds ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Those who did not receive a notice but believe they are entitled to refunds should call 1-833-493-1547 or email CWSSettlement@cptgroup.com.