Bin companies have increased prices and are illegally offering flat-rate fees since pay-by-weight charges were introduced last year, a waste services watchdog has found.
The revelation is sure to be of huge concern to households told by the Government the new charging regime could reduce their waste collection costs.
The impending report by the Price Monitoring Group will not name and shame waste firms that have increased their prices – but action may be taken if charges continue to rise.
The report also found some companies have reduced their fees since they were forced to offer customers pay-by-weight rates.
Of the 120 different price options surveyed – which included service charges, lift fees and pay-by-weight rates – 20 charges had changed between November and December 2017.
In eight cases, prices had increased, but in the other 12 charges had fallen.
One company’s service charge jumped from €22.75 to €26.50, while another dropped from €17 to €12.
“While there were price fluctuations from November to December, these were relatively minor and the overall trend on recorded prices between the two months was relatively stable,” a source said.
The group, led by consumer expert Frank Conway, has the power to make recommendations to Environment Minister Denis Naughten, who in turn can take action against the companies.
Bin firms still offering flat rates have already been contacted by officials from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and warned they are in breach of the new laws.
The Price Monitoring Group was established following the Government’s introduction of pay-by-weight charges, to ensure companies did not take advantage of the new system by raising fees.
The group has been monitoring waste collection fees offered by 26 companies nationwide for the past three months, and will this week publish data showing pricing trends in the sector.
Individual companies will not be named, but a detailed breakdown of the fees offered to households will be revealed.
The information was gathered by “mystery shoppers” who called waste companies posing as new customers.