You wouldn't really switch your rubbish collection unless it was going to save you money, would you? Stupid question.

Vipul Pabari, who trades as Connaught Rd PO in Leicestershire, says that the price quoted to him by the PHS Wastetech rep of £269.16 per annum compared favourably to his council collection cost of £277 + VAT and therefore he switched. Now he says the price has risen astronomically. He was initially paying £16.25 a month, plus 17.5% landfill levy, plus 17.5% VAT, bringing the bill to £22.43 per month. However, on the next bill he was charged £70.76 and when he asked for an explanation he was told that the extra was a 'pre-treatment admin charge'. When he argued he was offered a 50% reduction.

Then on his next bill the amount was £89.05. Vipul said he wanted to terminate but was told he couldn't. (I can't see anything in the fine print, but then it was faxed to me and the fine stuff is very small indeed.)

Initially I tried to ring PHS. (I was intrigued that one of the company's push buttons was for its legal department. That is unusual.) I got through to a person eventually and explained pretty clearly what the complaint was, which magazine I represented and that I was trying to give them the right to reply. I was told, after being handed around three times, that I would have to write to the company's MD (not on email) and that no phone calls would be accepted.

I persisted and rang again, got through to a different person and was given an email address. What you have read so far here is pretty much what I sent in an email to PHS Wastetech, saying that I would, of course, include any comment the company would like to make in anything I might write. Here is the response, from the head of accounts at PHS:

"Further to your email dated the 22nd of September I can confirm that we are unable to comment on individual customers' accounts through publications."