DA finally closes case against Best Value Trash after affected customers made whole
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - It was a grim reality last year week after week for Best Value Services customers – piles of garbage in front of their homes that the company would go weeks without picking up.
After getting flooded with calls, KAKE On Your Side started investigating, and every time we talked to the owner, it was always something.
"We're still struggling and trying to find parts for trucks," owner Solomon Tafesse told us last September.
Yet, customers said nothing changed, and they kept getting charged for trash.
That's when the District Attorney's Consumer Protection office stepped in.
"The goal here in these situations is to make the victim, in this case, the consumer, whole," said District Attorney Marc Bennett.
Bennett says while his office worked with Best Value, Air Capital Waste stepped up by offering free trash pickup for the customers affected.
He says in this case, it was simply a series of unfortunate events that left the owner in a tough spot.
"We didn't find any suggestion that somebody was, you know, had run off with all the cash and did this intentionally to leave people high and dry," said Bennett.
Bennett says Best Value fully cooperated. Now, after a months-long investigation, the case is officially closed after everyone affected got refunds of around $200.
Since then, Best Value closed its residential operations, and customers will now simply have to choose a new provider.
Bennett says it's situations like this that make him proud of his team.
"Hundreds of thousands of dollars has already been returned to people this year, this calendar year so far. And it's just, the amount of money we get back for consumers who wouldn't, who would otherwise have to go hire a lawyer... Just speaks to the benefit of this to the community to have this division in the office," said Bennett.
Bennett says his Consumer Protection office has already collected more than $400,000 this year alone for people in these situations. He says the county isn't actually required to have this service, and most local offices don't, but he says year after year full of stories like this, it's obvious that it's more than worth it.