A bin collection company has obtained a High Court injunction preventing a rival temporarily keeping wheelie bins of customers who have switched to the rival.
Panda Waste got the injunction against Greenstar pending full hearing of an action in which it is claimed written agreement must be obtained from Panda before the bins can be transferred to another company.
Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said Panda was entitled to the injunction because it owns the three bins (general, recyclables and compost) which it distributes to each new customer.
The court heard that when Greenstar, the trading name for Starrus Eco Holdings Ltd, takes on the old Panda customer, it removes the three Panda bins and brings them to a central location in Ballymount, Dublin, for collection later by Panda. The customer then gets three new Greenstar bins.
The judge said, over the Christmas period, Greenstar, which provides services in Fingal and Dun Laoghaaire areas of Dublin, offered new customers free waste collection for the first six months.
Panda, the trading name for Nurendale, said the practice in Dublin has always been that when a customer switches, that customer contacts the current service provider and the account is closed. That company then retrieves its bins from that customer and the new company provides a new set of bins.
In this case however, Greenstar had agreed with the new customer to take possession of the three Panda bins and bring them to the central location where they could be collected by Panda in due course. The new customers also enjoy a 14-day cooling-off period when they can decide if they want to change their minds.
What was happening in practice was that customers give the bins to Greenstar and Panda has no effective knowledge as to what is occurring between their old customers and Greenstar until well after the 14-day cooling off period has ended, the judge said.
In its proceedings, Panda said the bins belong to it and Greenstar was trespassing on its property by removing them and bringing them to a central location. Greenstar denied the claims.
Mr Justice Gilligan said he was satisfied Panda had established ownership of the bins and Greenstar had not satisfied him there was a serious question to be tried on whether it was entitled to take possession of them.
He was satisfied Panda was entitled to an injunction, pending a full hearing of the matter, restraining Greenstar removing the bins without prior written permission from Panda. He also ordered Greenstar to return all bins taken from Panda’s former customers.