Retailers have accused CheaperWaste of leaving them hundreds of pounds out of pocket over alleged “poor service”.
The Newcastle-based broker operates throughout the UK, commissioning bin companies to collect businesses’ waste.
However, independent retailers have claimed the company has failed to collect their waste “repeatedly” and applied incorrect excess weight charges on bins since 2020.
Asif Din, of Din’s Convenience Store in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, told betterRetailing: “I signed up with them before the pandemic, but there was a one-month period where my bin wasn’t emptied. I kept phoning them, but I waited an hour just to get through.
“I’m in a housing scheme where customers were complaining about rats. It got to a point where I cancelled my direct debit, and the bin still sits outside my shop. I’ve got photos of the bins when they were full (pictured).”
In January, former customer Kiru Nadarajah, of Everydays in Twickenham, London, received a letter from debt collectors demanding £500.96 because he refused to pay early termination fees after cancelling his contract over a bin weight disagreement.
Nadarajah had previously disputed claims by CheaperWaste that he had exceeded his 70kg weight limit by 182kg, 32kg and 46kg in three consecutive weeks in January and February 2020.
As a result of the dispute, he requested an early cancellation of his contract, but CheaperWaste stated that Nadarajah would be subject to an early cancellation fee as a result.
Another business also received letters from debt collectors demanding hundreds of pounds because they terminated their contract after they alleged waste collectors, appointed by CheaperWaste, had missed collections.
They said: “There’s been a great amount of stress caused at an already very difficult time and something needs to be done to highlight these business practices.”
Two Facebook groups were set up in 2020 with a combined membership of more than 1,500, featuring various complaints against the broker.
In September of the same year, CheaperWaste sent emails to customers admitting “extremely poor” response times due to the pandemic. It said: “This resulted in many missed collections, aggravation and upset for a lot of you, for which we apologise.”
betterRetailing received confirmation from Newcastle City Council that there is an “ongoing investigation” by trading standards into CheaperWaste, following a number of complaints from its customers.
In addition, in May this year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against a misleading advertisement from businesscostcomparison.co.uk, claiming to be a comparison site.
The online ad in June 2021 claimed it would “compare over 200 waste suppliers”. However, following a complaint, the ASA ruled that CheaperWaste had entered into a contract with the website to generate leads for itself.
Contracts from 2020, seen by Retail Express, offered insurance to customers with a clause stating: “Separate container insurance is available from the company for an additional cost.”
However, the Financial Conduct Authority confirmed to Retail Express the company is not regulated to do this. Retail Express has submitted evidence to the regulator, which is to be examined.
Meanwhile, under law, transfer notes are legally required to authorise the transfer of waste from one business to another. They also require a signature from both parties. However, three waste transfer notes seen by Retail Express show signatures from CheaperWaste, but none of the business owners.
Former CheaperWaste customer Leona Bull, who claimed she had her waste provider changed without consent on the transfer note, said: “The service has been absolute rubbish. They’ve caused a lot of upset in the context of the pandemic and the tough economic times. It’s just the final straw for some of these businesses.”
CheaperWaste and its owner, Waste Managed, failed to comment as Retail Express went to print.
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