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Debt collectors could be hired by private bin firm

A PRIVATE bin collection company may turn to debt collectors to get over €6.5m owed by customers.

Greyhound Recycling and Recovery took over responsibility for the collection of over 140,000 customers' bins from Dublin City Council earlier this month.

As part of the agreement, Greyhound is to recoup €6.7m in outstanding refuse charges owed to the council by householders in arrears.

A company spokesman said yesterday it is contracted to pursue the debts and will use "whatever legal procedures open to us" to get the money owed.

"Yes, that includes the possibility of using professional debt collection services," he added.

"If the money is owing, the money is owing and the normal debt collection process will apply."

Meanwhile, the Data Protection Commission has launched an investigation into whether the council complied with guidelines when handing over the personal details of the 140,000 customers to Greyhound. The commission said yesterday it had received 20 complaints from the public and decided this warranted a formal investigation.

There are two aspects to their investigation. The first is to establish if the sale of Dublin City Council waste collection to Greyhound complies with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts.

They are also looking into the contractual agreement reached between Greyhound and DCC regarding collection of outstanding debts.

One of the commission's primary concerns is to ensure that Greyhound can only use personal details for the collection of debts.

A spokesperson for Greyhound insisted the company's customer database is separate to the database of customers owing unpaid debts to Dublin City Council.

Dublin City Council refused to comment last night.

Irish Independent