Business Rates 'Scams'

A number of our dealers have sent us correspondence from a company offering to get their business rates reduced.

While there are cases whereby valuations are wrong and can be reduced, it is not unheard of for this to be a scam as previously reported by us and Trading Standards:

https://www.bristol.gov.uk/trading-standards-for-business/trading-standards-business-rates-reduction-scams-warning

Significantly, the contracts these companies get you to sign contain not just a standard entire agreement clause but also a clause which goes further and essentially states that nothing the salesman told you needs to be true. In one case, the salesman told our client that they operate on a no win no fee basis. This is not true and nor does it have to be according to the small print. In another case, the ‘surveyor’ was said to be registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, they weren’t.

Further they want to charge £500 as soon as the Valuation Office (VO) has acknowledged the proposal. All they need to do to get the VO to acknowledge the proposal is to say they want to appeal. The acknowledgment is just an acknowledgement of receipt not an acknowledgment that you have a case. That doesn’t stop these companies telling you otherwise while asking for their £500. Oh and they will probably come back and ask you for another £500 in 5 years and beyond.

If you have fallen foul of what you suspect to be such a scam, please get in touch.Lawgistics members we will fight your battle for you and if you want to know more about your business rates, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors offer half hour of free advice on the subject:  

http://www.rics.org/uk/footer/contact-us/rics-consumer-helplines/
 

Authors: Nona Bowkis

Published: 11 Nov 2016

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