Panda/GreenStar Consumer Bins & Recycling - be careful

mathepac

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I've been with the above service provider for about 10 years, back in the days when they charged only for collections and there was no monthly "service charge". We've had our ups and downs - the odd missed collection, missing or mis-read tag, usually resolved pretty easily.

I checked my Panda account online balance, which was negative, topped up my account adding the cost of my next collection with them to the transaction. I used my debit card (I have very few and only very select direct debits left) and, when I recorded the transaction in my DIY budgeting software it highlighted an overspend anomaly for "Utilities - Waste & Recycling Charges".

I did a quick reconciliation of the transactions I had recorded and the transactions Panda had on my online account with them, discovering that they had charged me twice for a waste bin collection in February. No biggie I thought, and used the feedback web-mail form on their web-site to highlight the issue and request a credit. I was careful to fill in all the information the form asked for in order to avoid the email tennis beloved of many Irish web-site owners.

Two days later I was rather miffed to get a return email asking me to forward my Account Number to assist in the timely handling my enquiry!!! I dashed off a slightly sarcastic response email asking if the pillock who designed and built the feedback form still had a job and providing my correspondent with the missing Account number. Day 4 now and still no response to my original email or the second one I sent.

Fascinated to learn how more of the Irish utility companies handled their customer service, I rang their land-line number, *not* the revenue-earning 1890 number displayed prominently on their web-site, but 01 829 8992. After listening to the usual ads and pressing the correct sequence of buttons I got through to customer service. I passed all the security checks they threw at me and I asked the question - why was I double-charged for a waste-collection in February? I was told the issue was that the bin had failed to empty and had been reloaded on the truck, thus scanning my tag twice, resulting in a double charge. I was astounded that they already knew for the last month I'd been double-charged and had done nothing to rectify their double-dip into my account because their truck/operative/bin failed to work properly.

I was immediately offered a credit against my account. Normally that would have been fine, mission accomplished, but my hackles were up now. I asked what would have happened about the double-dipping if I hadn't noticed it and the agent told me she didn't know. I can only surmise from her answer that nothing would have happened - they'd just have kept my money. I said I wanted the over-charge credited back to my card and supplied the details.

I checked the bank a while ago, no money. I rang Panda again to be told by one person that credits take 5 to 7 days to be processed. Another agent told me when I rang back with a generic enquiry that refunds took a minimum of 10 days. When I asked why the agent told me her extensive training was explicit on this point, and that no, I could not talk to accounts or a supervisor as they don't take calls. I was told my request to speak to someone in authority would be placed on "the managers' call-back request list". I'm not holding my breath

If you're a customer of Panda/Greenstar check what you've been charged, just in case you've been double dipped and over-charged as well, much to their surprise of course.

By contrast, I bought a gizmo from amazon.co.uk a few weeks ago. It was the wrong size gizmo (my fault) and I asked if I could send it back. Using their very fine on-line returns procedure, I explained why and they sent me a pre-addressed label for the outside of the package and a barcoded returns slip for inside. They acknowledged receipt and two days later a refund hit my account *including* the €0.51 currency charge.

I know they sell groceries I wonder will they ever sell utilities in Ireland to remove the pain of having to endure eir/esb/Panda/Virgin and all the rest of the money-grubbers who wouldn't recognise customer service if they tripped over it.
 
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SBarrett

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Been using Panda for 12 years. Never had a problem with them.

Sounds like you spent a lot more time on resolving your issue that the €3.20 warranted.
 

Cervelo

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If you're a customer of Panda/Greenstar check what you've been charged, just in case you've been double dipped and over-charged as well, much to their surprise of course.
I've been with Panda since they took over the DLRCC contract in 2010 and I have to say that they have been great, always collect my bins on time, replace any broken bins FOC and as far as I know have been honest in their billing me for their services, My green bin goes out every second week and the black bin goes out once or twice a year so it would be easy to spot a mistake
But I have to say since the brown bin has come in there has been a few bills over the last few years that have made me wonder if there has been an extra lift charge mainly during the summer when the bin is used more
and now with the green bin been charged for I will be checking the bill a bit more thanks to your experience mathepac
 

Coldwarrior

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Same thing happened to me with Panda, I meant to get on to them about it but can't face the usual call centre shenanigans for the sake of 3.20. Was planning to switch to Greyhound's flat 16.50 monthly fee but after talking to a few neighbours/colleagues who've used them I'll stay put as Greyhound seem to often not collect the bins at all.
 

mathepac

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I got a call back from a Panda manager. Not a zoo employee now guys, but a manager of bin-men. And women too no doubt. Of course I was driving somewhere and in a hurry but seeing "Greenstar" on the Apple CarPlay screen I was able to pull in and take the call. Wait for it :)

He rushed into the €8.75 refund and the delay so I had to haul him back to explaining why the double-charge arose in February. It happens, he admitted and more frequently than their customers see or suspect I think when he explained the circumstances where it might arise. I asked if they had any means of reconciiling "lifts" (real ones, not dupiicates) vs fees charged against an account and he admitted no they hadn't "and besides, we have 250,000 customers how could we manage that?" I didn't point out the obvious.

With regard to the stupid feedback mechanism he took it on the chin and said he was "writing to IT" as we spoke. Apparently their internal customer data-base can only be accessd via the assigned account number, for some mystifying data-protection reasons. As he said he'd never had a complaint (sorry, feedback) like mine before about the one key data-item being missed out on customer communications from the Panda web-site, I can only conclude I was the first one to use it. Ever. My insurance company is in deep data-protection doo-doo so as my reg no, policy no, phone no, date-of-birth, name, email address and some other stuff can be used to access my details in their data-base. I let it slide.

We got into some deep dark stuff about clearing and non-clearing banks, central clearing and other antiquated stuff that dictated whether it took 1, 5 or 10 working days to get money back from Panda and into a customer's account. He'd expect credit on the same day as he was with a mainstream bank and he hoped I was too. I reassured him that I was, none of your Mickey Mouse stuff with only 300,000 or so accounts I said. Good, good said he, missing the irony I think.

He wanted to chat more but I had to thank him for his time and cut him short, but not before he quoted my email address back to me and promised to update me the action items my feedback generated. I hung up and drove at top whack in my old devil diesel car to see a man about a domestic-sized incinerator.
 
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mathepac

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p.s. in the sticks we pay €8.70/month service charge and €8.75/lift , a lift every two weeks. We have 2 bins one for rubbish the other for recycling.
 

Bronco Lane

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I think the Panda manager might moonlight in the Ulster Bank customer service centre. I am in to my second month now with a complaint that is still nowhere being resolved.

Regarding the bin lifts. It seems that we need eyes in the back of our heads these days for almost everything.
 

East Mayo

New Member
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I went to pay by lift with Panda in Feb 2018 and had issues with charges for recycle bins that were never left out for collection. After some toing and froing, sending pictures, changing bin it was sorted and some refunds were made in between. Have to say Panda waste customer care are great to deal with with a genuine 'how can we help you' atitude on e-mail or phone.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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807
Same thing happened to me with Panda, I meant to get on to them about it but can't face the usual call centre shenanigans for the sake of 3.20. Was planning to switch to Greyhound's flat 16.50 monthly fee but after talking to a few neighbours/colleagues who've used them I'll stay put as Greyhound seem to often not collect the bins at all.
My experience with Greyhound was appalling. Access is tricky and for several months they just didn't send the brown bin truck down the street. It several phone calls and a personal letter to the CEO to rectify.

No such problems with City Bin.
 

Coldwarrior

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My experience with Greyhound was appalling. Access is tricky and for several months they just didn't send the brown bin truck down the street. It several phone calls and a personal letter to the CEO to rectify.
Have heard similar from multiple people about Greyhound, especially if there aren't many Greyhound customers in the estate.
 

demoivre

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If you're a customer of Panda/Greenstar check what you've been charged, just in case you've been double dipped and over-charged as well, much to their surprise of course.
I was recently charged twice by Greenstar for emptying my compost bin. Their explanation was that as the bin was very heavy at 98kg it required two lifts to empty it. I pointed out that it wasn't the weight per se that necessitated two lifts to empty the bin but rather that the shaking efforts of the hydraulic arms on the bin lorry weren't sufficient to remove all the contents in one lift. The " lift" data on my Greenstar app also shows that , on occasions inn the past, the bins have been lifted twice which, I assume, is to make sure they are completely emptied but I have never been charged twice before. I pay a monthly service charge and then pay per lift. There is no mention on their charges sheet of the weight of a bin being an issue as I don't pay by weight.

They have refunded me on this occasion but have informed me that in future if the bin is over 40kg it will require two lifts and I will be charged twice to empty it. The bin has never been less than 40kg in the past according to the "lift" data on the app.

It's still small money in the overall scheme of things but I find it annoying that they would change the terms of my contract without informing me in advance. I will probably change supplier as a result.
 

mathepac

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As I posted above, my refund of €8.75 arrived eventually, but horror of horrors, my online account was never credited with the extra, unwarranted lift charge.

I've tried three times now to explain to the customer service staff why my online Panda account is not the same as my credit card account, to no avail and why my online Panda account shows an incorrect balance. They all seem uneducated in accounting matters, seem to like speaking over customers explaining the purpose of the call ("I told ya already de money was pu' back on de card") and shouting down the phone, apparently believing the only correct view of a situation is theirs.

Once again I have been elevated to "the managers' call-back request list" and if the caller is as uneducated in accounting matter and double-entry book-keeping (assuming that's how they do accounts in Panda) as the call-centre staff, I foresee another struggle.

My Panda account balance is wrong because the double-charge for the single lift on 23/02/2019 has never been credited back against my Panda account, although their bank account has been debited and my card account credited. The debit from their bank account (sales account) should have triggered a corresponding credit in my online account to adjust the balance. The harpies in customer service insist they need do nothing else, which is probably why they are phone-jockies and not accountants, managers or book-keepers.

I await developments.
 

RedOnion

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My Panda account balance is wrong because the double-charge for the single lift on 23/02/2019 has never been credited back against my Panda account, although their bank account has been debited and my card account credited.
Technically no, they should have either put the money back in your bank account, or credited your account with them. They can't do both.

If they first credited your account, and then issued the refund, it would show on your account: First credit to your account (debit their sales ledger), and then to issue the refund to you they would debit your account, and credit bank. So the debit and credit would bet in your account.

So, it appears your account is correct (but their VAT would be a mess).
 

mathepac

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My Panda account is *not* correct as the double dip still appears as two debits; one of them needs to have a reversing credit. Only one actual service transaction occurred but I was incorrectly charged twice, therefore a balancing entry needed on my Panda account. It appears looking at the account that they lifted a bin while my account had a negative balance, this never happens. They seem to have made some kind of messed up arrangement internally which hasn't flowed through to my acount. It's not helpful that they list debits and credits on the account in different places; it's like getting two bank statements with all the lodgements in one report and all the withdrawals in another.

This morning they dropped off a brown bin outside my door for vegetable waste; Panda service staff please apply. :)
 
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