Another garbage story: Republic Services and Allied Waste Industries, two large waste-removal companies based in Phoenix that merged last year, are being sued in a class-action that alleges they over-charged for services.
Specifically, the suit -- as published in Courthouse News today -- alleges the company charged its nationwide clients "recovery fees" for certain environmental or fuel costs. However, the company still charged the fees even when costs went down, the suit alleges.
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The plaintiffs, which include property and management companies, also claim the CEO of Allied Waste, John Zillmer, admitted in 2007 the fees were just a "cover" to raise prices:
In a March 6, 2007 conference call with investors Allied Waste's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Zillmer, stated: One of the things that did help us, frankly, was the price of the - fuel price increases that allowed us to go to the customer and really begin to accelerate pricing in a meaningful way. I would say that the companies all used that as [their cover] to really begin the process of getting pricing moving. Allied Waste Industries, Inc. at Citigroup Global Industrial Manufacturing Conference - Mar. 6, 2007) (bracketing in original transcript).
This sounds like it could be a case of buyer's remorse on the part of the plaintiffs. But everyone knows the waste-disposal industry isn't run by Boy Scouts.