'Think carefully before engaging with no win, no fee firm' warns leader of Derby City Council
DERBY City Council is warning people not to engage with a firm that is offering to help them reduce their council tax bill.
Leader Paul Bayliss said the authority has received a number of complaints from taxpayers who have received a letter 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.
Mr Bayliss said these letters are being sent from a firm not associated with the council and said people do not need to pay for this service. Instead, Mr Bayliss said taxpayers can carry out this work themselves, free of charge.
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He 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".
Consumers wishing to check their council tax banding is correct 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 advise the council and customers will have their council tax account amended and the whole amount of any overpaid Council Tax will be refunded.
For more information on council tax banding please visit www.voa.gov.uk.