Thousands of Santa Barbara’s garbage customers will receive postcards from City Hall in the next week notifying them that they may be eligible for rebates on green trashcan charges dating back three years. According to the terms of the city’s 2003 franchise agreement, both Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) and MarBorg – the city’s two waste collection companies – are required to provide one free green can for every household served; there is a $3 per month fee for each additional green can. Partly thanks to MarBorg – which reportedly followed the terms of the agreement – it came to light last year that BFI was wrongly charging an indeterminate number of customers for their first green can. Efforts to determine the exact number of customers overcharged have been fruitless because BFI does not itemize the green, blue, and brown cans that customers use. Thus, the exact amount owed to each customer is equally uncertain, but would come to about $110 if a customer had been consistently overcharged for the past three years. Customers will be asked to check a box on the postcards and mail them in if they believe they are entitled to a rebate.

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