WASTE contractors Veolia have been slammed for their rubbish collection methods after mucking up garden waste payments twice.

Southend residents can pay annually for garden waste bins to be collected each week, but the company first failed to take thousands of payments and then issued incorrect forms.

Collections carried on while the company sorted out the payment problems, giving residents an October deadline to send in new direct debit forms.

A spokesman for the Burges Estate Residents’ Association in Thorpe Bay said: “Many residents have been contacting us regarding the problems they have been having with their direct debit payments to Veolia for their garden waste.”

Freddie Dawkins, a member of the association, said: “I, like many neighbours, pay for green garden waste service.

“It’s not been interrupted but everyone had a letter from Veolia a few weeks ago, asking us to complete new direct debit mandates.

“Veolia admitted when I called them that just about every mandate had not been automatically carried over by them into new financial year, hence replacements required. Apparently, the numbers run into many thousands.”

Apologising to customers, a spokesman for Veolia told the residents association: “We experienced issues around the legal validity of the direct debit mandate that was sent out and as such no payment could be taken.

“Additional to this, we experienced further problems with the letter dates, deadlines and distribution.

“It all equated to a rather unprofessional and embarrassing experience for our valued customers.”

A spokesman for Southend Council said: “We have been assured that this issue will be rectified and residents personal data has not been affected.” Veolia regional director Keith McGurk said: “In July we sent out a direct debit form to all garden waste service customers paying by Direct Debit to subscribe for 2019-2020. We are very sorry to say these forms were incorrect and we have not been able to take any payment. We take the safety of personal data very seriously and have made all necessary arrangements for all incorrect direct debit forms to be destroyed. “