EAST Renfrewshire Council has been criticised over a blunder which saw payments being taken from cash-strapped residents days earlier than expected.

Council tax payments that were due to be collected via Direct Debit on May 28 were actually taken from bank accounts on May 26.

It meant people faced being hit with overdraft and interest charges if they didn’t have enough money in their account that day to cover the payment.

Council bosses posted a notice on the local authority’s website and social media pages to apologise for the error.

They also advised residents to contact their bank if they had concerns about the payment being collected early, despite it being a bank holiday weekend.

Residents were also told they could get in touch with the council’s customer services department by phone or email to discuss the matter further.

The blunder sparked angry responses from several residents who used the council’s social media pages to express their frustration.

Angela Smith wrote: “Pity help anybody that’s had this money taken.

“It’s maybe all they had to get over the weekend.”

Amy Totten added: “Not the first time this has happened. I hope there’s action taken against your staff who seem to be playing fast and loose with taxpayers money.”

John Kennedy-Bennett was also unimpressed with the council blunder.

He stated: “So let me get this right, ERC take peoples money two days early, but the customer has to contact their bank.”

Sandra Williams said: “Why cant East Ren not repay everyone? This is shocking.”

Dorothy Murphy said such errors are the reason why she won’t pay the council via Direct Debit.

Nicola McFadyen added: “Best of luck getting a refund from your bank within a few hours before they’re closed for the weekend.”

Meanwhile, Rebecca Ross asked: “Have ERC made attempts to contact anyone about this mistake or were they just hoping people see it on social media?

“Surely they could have sent out a mass email or text?”

Council bosses said they are investigating the blunder “as a matter of urgency.”

A spokesperson told the Barrhead News: “We apologise for this error.

“We put in place measures to ensure residents could seek financial assistance from the council over the weekend if they required it.”