Bryan Cohen Jul. 15, 2014, 6:31pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement on Monday with a waste hauling firm to resolve allegations of restrictive contracting practices, market dominance and unlawfully restrained competition.

Casella Waste Systems Inc. allegedly used contracts with consumers requiring that Casella serve as the exclusive provider of all customer waste hauling services for as long as five years. Customers who had to cancel their contracts early were allegedly required to pay an amount equal to six times their monthly bill. The contracts also allegedly granted Casella the right to match competing offers, which discouraged competitors from bidding on the business.

"There must be one set of rules for everyone, especially companies that provide essential services," Schneiderman said. "By fighting for a level playing field in our state's waste hauling industry, we can ensure New Yorkers receive the benefits of vigorous competition. We will continue to act aggressively to ensure that companies in all areas of the state achieve success by offering customers the best products and services - not through business strategies that artificially entrench their positions."

Under the terms of the settlement, Casella agreed not to enroll customers in contracts with an initial term of more than two years. Casella also agreed to reduce its penalty for early termination, notify Schneiderman's office if it acquires a competitor of a minimum size in certain upstate countries and make a payment of $100,000 to the state.

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