THOUSANDS of Dublin householders have been left out of pocket after being caught up in the ongoing and bitter dispute between two of the country's largest bin firms.
The Herald has learned that former customers of Greyhound Recycling had average sums of €50-€100 incorrectly docked from their bank accounts on New Year's Day.
The firm says it has begun refunding those affected and has claimed that the blunder was caused by the actions of its main rival, City Bin.
CUSTOMERS WHO SWITCHED TO CITY BIN IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER WERE SLAPPED WITH GREYHOUND'S ANNUAL SERVICE CHARGE, WHICH RANGES FROM &EURO;50-&EURO;200 DEPENDING ON THE INDIVIDUAL CONTRACT.
The money was taken directly from customers' bank accounts through direct debit on January 1.
It's understood that the majority of sums deducted were between €50-€100.
Greyhound said the blunder occurred because it was not provided with "sufficient opportunity" to process customers' cancellations.
The firm insists that if it had been given a longer period of notice from its rival, then it would have removed the former customers' bank details from its system.
However, City Bin refutes the claim that it did not provide adequate notice and accused Greyhound of having instilled "financial worry" in thousands of former customers.
Relations between the two companies are extremely hostile and have deteriorated further since City Bin entered the Dublin market in 2012.
City Bin offers to fill in cancellation forms on behalf of its new customers before sending the documentation directly to Greyhound's offices.
However, Greyhound claims that the "late delivery" of forms has "unavoidably resulted in some customers having had annual service charge applied".
In a statement to the Herald, City Bin director Niall Killilea refuted Greyhound's claim that it wasn't given adequate notice to process the cancellations.
"All cancellation forms were processed efficiently – providing between 25 and eight days' notice to Greyhound to cancel payment instructions. It is the responsibility of Greyhound to process these instructions in a timely manner," Mr Killilea said.