Shop owner wins court victory over waste broker CheaperWaste

The court dismissed CheaperWaste’s legal challenge as retailer Ritz Batavia successfully used evidence to plead his innocence, which included an investigation Retail Express conducted into the company

Shop owner wins court victory over waste broker CheaperWaste

A small shop owner has won a court battle against waste broker CheaperWaste, after using a Retail Express investigation into the company as supporting evidence.

On 25 January, Ritz Batavia, of Nisa Ritzy Minimarket in Peterborough, faced off against CheaperWaste at Newcastle Civil Family and Tribunal Court. The broker, part of the WasteManaged group, took legal action against Batavia after he cancelled his direct debit in a dispute over excess weight charges dating back to August 2019.

However, the court dismissed CheaperWaste’s legal challenge as Batavia successfully used evidence to plead his innocence, which included an investigation Retail Express conducted into the company in July 2022.

The investigation included accounts from small businesses that alleged CheaperWaste had not collected waste or similarly applied incorrect excess weight charges, leaving them hundreds of pounds out of pocket.

Facebook groups featuring various complaints against the broker were referenced in the piece. Other businesses also reported being taken to court by the company.

Describing his fight, Batavia said: “I became a CheaperWaste customer in May 2019 and they started charging for excess weight in August. I disputed these charges and they refused to listen, so I cancelled the direct debit in November 2019. I started being threatened by CheaperWaste in January 2020 with a few letters and they became more aggressive this year.

“One week they claimed the weight of the waste in my bin was 168kg. It would have overflowed if you consider the type of waste a convenience store has.

“I had the court papers before I received the copy of Retail Express with the investigation into CheaperWaste. It showed me that I wasn’t the only one who had issues with CheaperWaste, which made me feel good.

“The article was amazing because it referred to a trading standards investigation by Newcastle City Council into the company, and referenced that the company wasn’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to sell insurance.

“It was enough to submit with our bundle and made the judge aware of other retailers with similar problems.”

Batavia added that he also provided invoices from his waste contracts before and after he became a CheaperWaste customer to prove the store was a producer of small waste.

“A point the judge liked was that we were with Nisa, so we could prove our recycling goes to DHL and food waste goes to a homeless shelter,” he said. “As a small shop, the only waste we have in the shop is from sweeping up lottery ticket stubs and general rubbish. There was proof that we weren’t making the level of waste CheaperWaste was claiming.

“We also did little things such as taking a picture of our waste bin to give the judge an idea of how much waste we produce. We did all these things to show the judge how the convenience industry works.”

After reading Retail Express’s coverage, Batavia was encouraged to look up Google reviews of CheaperWaste and submit this with his evidence.

“I found 100 reviews and used them in the bundle,” he told Retail Express. “I also asked CheaperWaste for CCTV footage and calibration records from the bin lorries they used to collect my waste and wasn’t provided with that.

“They also provided their own records of the weights with dates which was on an Excel spreadsheet. It wasn’t generated using a proper weights and measurement system, and the judge accepted that point. Nobody from CheaperWaste turned up to the hearing as they left it all with their barrister.”

As part of his victory, Batavia said CheaperWaste was ordered to pay £166 in court fees to him. He added: “It covers my day at court and the travel costs. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but they’re paying me. It means that I’ve won.”

CheaperWaste was approached for comment.

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