Council Tax bill reduction scam

Posted: 30/01/2013

Houses in Derby

We have been made aware of a number of complaints from council tax payers who have received letters or phone calls from a company offering a 'no win, no fee' service to try and reduce their council tax bill. If successful, this company takes a cut of the resulting refund.

The firm sending these letters and making the phone calls are not associated with the Council. Our Trading Standards team is reminding our customers that they do not need to pay for this service and can carry out this work themselves, free of charge.

Councillor Paul Bayliss, Leader of the Council, said:

"We urge residents who are approached to think very carefully before engaging with these firms. They are in no way associated with Derby City Council, and we, or any firm we work with, would not make an approach like this.

"Council Tax banding can be checked for free, so any residents wishing to check if theirs is correct should contact the Valuation Office Agency.

"There are many management claim companies, who generally charge a fee, which can be as much as 30% of what they recover even if this involves only giving advice and information so please make sure you fully understand the terms of any contract before you sign it and avoid companies that want to be paid in advance.

"If you decide to use a fee paying company then remember any business that handles such claims must usually be authorised by the Claims Management Regulator".

If you want to check your council tax banding is correct, you can contact the Valuation Office Agency on 03000 503 600. They are responsible for setting council tax bands on all domestic properties and will be able to review bands and give appropriate advice. There is no charge for this service.

If successful and the banding is reduced, the Valuation Office will let us know, your Council Tax account will be amended and the whole amount of any overpaid Council Tax will be refunded.

More information

For more information on Council Tax banding, visit www.voa.gov.uk.

To check whether a business is authorised by the Claims Management Regulator, viist www.claimsregulation.gov.uk/.

Further advice on consumer issues can be obtained by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or you can get help online at www.adviceguide.org.uk/consumer.

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