MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell announced a $1 million settlement on Friday with a waste hauling service for allegedly violating a 2002 settlement with the Attorney General's Office.
Sorrell alleged that Casella Waste Systems issued more than 2,400 contracts for commercial and residential waste hauling services that violated the 2002 agreement. In the 2002 agreement, Casella promised to remove a number of terms from its consumer contracts, including requirements that customers provide Casella notice of competing offers and provide over 30 days notice of termination before the contract automatically renewed.
Sorrell alleged that Casella erroneously issued approximately 2,441 contracts to its customers that each contained at least one term that was prohibited by the 2002 agreement, making it difficult for customers to switch waste hauling providers and stifling competition.
"When a business makes a promise to correct certain behavior, we hold them to that promise," Sorrell said. "Consumers and businesses alike expect that our consumer protection and antitrust settlements will be vigorously enforced - and they are."
Once the settlement is approved by the court, Casella will be required to pay $1 million to the State and to notify customers it will not enforce multiple anti-competitive provisions contained in its existing customer contracts. The agreement also requires Casella to develop a compliance program under which it will train all relevant staff in the requirements of the final judgment and assure that all future contract changes are approved by its legal department and sent to Sorrell's office.
"Healthy competition protects consumers," Sorrell said. "This settlement helps ensure that consumers will have fair waste hauling contracts and that their options for waste and recycling services remain open. It also underscores the need for companies that enter into agreements with my office to comply with those agreements."