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Council Tax cold callers target Rossendale

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Lancashire County Council Trading Standards service is warning Rossendale residents to be on their guard from cold callers who claim to be able to cut their Council Tax bills.

Residents in Haslingden, Whitworth and Waterfoot have reported receiving unsolicited telephone calls from a business offering to investigate if their property’s Council Tax banding should be lowered in return for a percentage of any potential refund.

While this practice is legal, Trading Standards are alerting people that they can check their banding themselves at no cost. Often companies offering such a service also charge an upfront fee.

County Councillor Janice Hanson, cabinet member for public protection, said: “While it is not illegal for businesses to offer this service, Lancashire residents should be aware that appealing to the Valuation Office Agency against their Council Tax banding is something that they can do themselves free of charge. Initial enquiries may show you are banded correctly.

“Trading Standards advice is to never to do business with, or give out personal information or bank details, to cold callers.”

Anyone who has questions about their Council Tax banding can find out more on the Direct.Gov website www.direct.gov.uk and the Valuation Office Agency website www.voa.gov.uk.

In England, every property is allocated to a Council Tax band according to its market value on 1st April 1991. Bands run from A to H, with the highest value properties in band H being charged the most.

If a property is believed to be in the wrong banding then an appeal can be made to the Valuation Office Agency, the government organisation responsible for valuing the property and setting the banding. Any refund owing would be paid by the local district council.

If you think you have been mis-sold Council Tax re-banding services please contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

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