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July 12, 2013 / Scott Tillett

Consumer Fraud Investigation: Are Recycling Centers Underpaying for Recycling of Empty Beverage Containers?

We recently spoke with a board member for a California-based Little League Baseball organization about his concerns regarding potential consumer fraud by local recycling centers.

To help raise funds, the non-profit organization collects empty beverage containers from the families of Little League participants and other individuals such as neighborhood residents for recycling. The organization regularly takes collected bottles and cans to recycling centers at nearby supermarkets to exchange them for California Redemption Value (“CRV”) refunds. On several occasions, when the organization brought less than fifty beverage containers to a recycling center for a CRV refund, the organization’s request to be paid by count, instead of weight, was denied by certain recycling centers.

The board member also expressed his concerns about seemingly inaccurate CRV refunds the organization received on certain occasions. While it may be understandable for CRV refunds to vary by $0.10 or $0.20, the board member reported receiving CRV refunds that varied by as much as $1 to $2 for the exact same number of beverage containers, depending upon the recycling center visited and the day on which the organization brought the beverage containers in for a refund.

This experience suggests that some California recycling centers may be unfairly and illegally underpaying their California customers for empty beverage containers brought to them for a CRV refund. We are currently investigating these potential violations of law. If you are a California resident who has experienced these or any other unfair business practices when recycling empty beverage containers at a California recycling center, please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.


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