Casella Waste Systems Inc. has agreed to a list of reforms after it was found to be in violation of New York State’s antitrust laws, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Monday.
Restrictive contracting practices and a pattern of acquisitions of smaller competitors have unlawfully restricted competition with the Vermont-based waste management company in Western New York and across the state, Schneiderman’s office said.
The contracts involved the collection and disposal of solid waste from dumpsters. Casella’s contracts required that it serve as the exclusive provider to all customers’ waste hauling services for five years. Early termination would result in customers paying up to six times the amount of their monthly bill.
Casella also reserved the right to match competing offers, which further discouraged competitors from bidding on the business, the Attorney General’s Office said.
“It was a mutual agreement to modify the terms of future and existing contracts,” Casella Vice President Joe Fusco said.
As part of the settlement, Casella is required to cap its contracts so they do not exceed two years. It also agreed to reduce its early-termination penalty to the cost of three months of service for the first year of a contract and to one month of service beyond the first year.
In Western New York, Casella operates mainly in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties with sites in Dunkirk, Jamestown and Olean.