Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this investigation! The attorneys have what they need and, at this point, no longer need to hear from NuCo2 customers. You can view our list of open investigations here or sign up for our newsletter for updates and news. The information below is for reference only.
At A Glance
This Alert Affects:
Any business in the restaurant or hospitality industry that contracted with NuCO2 for the supply of carbon dioxide and/or nitrogen gas, as well as related equipment, to be used for the carbonation of fountain soda and draught beer.
What’s Going On?
NuCO2 has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging that the company secretly increases prices for customers in violation of its contracts. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have now opened their own investigation into the claims and want to hear from business owners who entered into contracts with NuCO2 to learn more about their experiences.
What’s the Catch?
There is none! It doesn’t cost anything to get in touch and the only people we will ever send your information to are the attorneys we work with.
NuCO2 has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging that the beverage carbonation company has carried out a “systematic deceptive scheme” to overcharge customers.
Specifically, the suit claims that NuCO2 secretly increases prices for beverage-grade carbon dioxide and draught beer nitrogen gas, as well as related equipment, without justification and in violation of its contracts.
Now, attorneys working with ClassAction.org want to hear from business owners who contracted with NuCO2 to learn more about the alleged scheme and to help these people get their money back.
How Did NuCO2 Supposedly Break Its Contracts?
NuCO2’s contracts establish a fixed monthly price each customer will pay for equipment and products. The agreements also outline how and when NuCO2 can increase these prices.
According to the lawsuit, NuCO2 is failing to abide by its own rules.
The contracts stipulate that NuCO2 can only increase prices:
• Annually on the effective date of the contract (the increase can only be up to 5% or “the amount of a specific inflationary index”)
• Within 15 days of sending a “price adjustment notification” to the customer.
The lawsuit claims, however, that NuCO2 isn’t meeting either of these requirements.
The company has “for years” automatically increased prices without the required notice and unrelated to the dates on customers’ contracts, the suit says. Over a six-year contract term, customers are supposedly being forced to pay as much as 30% more each month than what was originally agreed upon.
How Does the Suit Say NuCO2 Increases Prices?
Gas and Equipment
The lawsuit claims that price increases are automated through NuCO2’s customer relationship management system and take effect for all customers at the same time. The rate increase can vary between customers, the suit says, but usually ranges between 1% and 12%. Quietly raising prices for bulk CO2 tanks, high-pressure gas beverage systems, carbon dioxide and other gases is all part of the company’s “broad strategy to increase revenue and profit,” the suit says.
For example, the plaintiff in a class action against NuCO2 alleges that her restaurant and her hotel entered into a standard contract with the company in April 2015 and December 2009, respectively. According to the suit, NuCO2 agreed to provide a bulk carbon dioxide tank to the restaurant for $58 per month. Several years later, the price rose to $80.71 per month – an increase of nearly 40%. Likewise, the hotel agreed to a $107.82 monthly charge as part of NuCO2’s “budget plan.” But, by 2015, the hotel was being charged $142.27 for the exact same service, the suit says.
Fuel, Energy Surcharges
NuCO2 also charges customers a fee it calls a “fuel” or “energy” surcharge that is supposed to cover the cost of delivering products to customers. This fee, however, allegedly bears no relation to NuCO2’s actual increased fuel or energy costs, is not used to offset these costs, and is not based on the “prevailing national average price index for diesel fuel,” as the company claims. According to the suit, the surcharge is simply another way for NuCO2 to “generate extra profit at its customers” expense.
For example, NuCO2’s fuel surcharge fee was $14.55 in February 2018 when the average retail cost of diesel fuel was $3.05. The next year, when the retail price decreased to $3.00, NuCO2’s surcharge went up to $16.05, the suit says. Even though diesel prices were going down, NuCO2 was increasing its fuel surcharge fee.
Complaints from Consumers about NuCO2
The lawsuit against NuCO2 includes several complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau about the beverage carbonation company. A sample of these complaints can be read below [sic throughout].
Crooks and Cheaters. Never [do] business with th[ese] people. I have 5 years contract with them with starting fee around $75 which by the end of my term came to be around $150 per month…I was then sent an invoice for $5,563.98…claiming that my contract was never canceled and I have to pay  them for 5 year term in full…Beware of this company.” — March 2018, BBB.org
They raise their prices without any recourse or justification….I’ve tried several times to reach an agreement and they just tell you bluntly they don’t care about the issues they will not cancel your contract and if you don’t pay they will send it to a collections agency and they will…[I’ve] just had all kind of issues, headaches and problems, I’ll hav[e] a blemish on my credit that I’ve built in 33 years.” — November 2018, BBB.org
NuCo2 is a company based on deceit…They raise their prices without any recourse or justification…After reading other complaints this company needs to be stopped form doing business that is false and misleading.” — December 2018, BBB.org
How a Class Action Can Help
A class action lawsuit could help companies get back money for the price increases, as well as require NuCO2 to change the way it raises rates for its customers.