Residents have been left “fuming” after Sutton Council sent letters charging them for bin charges despite some claiming that the payments were already made.

The letter, which appears to have been sent across the borough at different times, read: “According to our records, your subscriptions to the Garden Waste service has ended and has not yet been renewed.

“We are writing to let you know that we will be removing your garden waste unless you renew your subscription within the next two weeks.”

Richard Johnson, who runs a community Facebook community group in Worcester Park, was one of the recipients.

He received the letter on Friday, August 19, despite being adamant to have paid the £61.50 subscription fee five months ago.

Mr Johnson told Sutton Guardian: “It’s a bit of a mess. I’ve received many messages from people and it seems this has been happening for months.

“This is just one more thing. It just seems that they have no record keeping.”

Mr Johnson believes it’s possible that the council were unsure of exactly who had and who hadn’t paid and therefore sent the letter to everyone.

At the end of the letter, it states, “If you believe you have already renewed your subscription, please email us at or call Sutton Council on 020 8770 5000 and be ready to provide the payment reference that confirms you renewed your subscription.”

Mr Johnson phoned up the council to inform them about his payment.

“The person I spoke to was very sorry. She went ‘oh’ as if it was here we go again. To be fair she was honest and said that a couple of other angry residents had already called up to complain.

“I asked her was there a chance my bins could be taken away and she indicated that I should keep them hidden just in case,” Mr Johnson said.

He added that it was worrying for elderly residents who may get upset and confused by the letter.

Mr Johnson continued: “If your bank behaved like this you would change your bank. You can’t change your council. It is bizarre. You would wonder about other things.”

One commenter wrote on the Worcester Park Facebook page: “When I received an email about this I was able to supply them with a receipt number.

“I also expressed my concerns about their inadequate record keeping and that I felt an apology for the distress they were causing was in order! Needless to say I'm still waiting.”

Someone else commented: “I received an email (no letter) and was fuming! I decided not to waste (more of) my time holding on the phone so sent a pm via Twitter.”

Mr Johnson advised other recipients of the letter, who had already submitted the payment, to stay calm, find the original bank record of the £61.50 payment and contact Sutton Council to inform them of the error.

When approached, Sutton Council said: "Correspondence was sent to around 3,000 residents out of a total of 19,000 who subscribed to the service in 2016/17, in order to confirm their subscription for the 2017/18 service. Many have since contacted us to renew their subscription as a result. 

"In a small number of cases we have confirmed with residents that our records show payment has been received and updated our mailing list accordingly."