Important advice on combating 'cowboy' business rate advisors.

Consult the professionals

'Cowboy' rating advisors may be cold calling in your area offering big savings in your business rate bills!

Please be aware though - these operators are unlikely to be professionally qualified and often make fraudulent promises to secure large reductions in your rates bill so as to obtain early payments from you of up to several hundred pounds!

Once you've paid them you are unlikely to be able to seek redress, except through the courts, and an ill-considered appeal could even increase your rates bill.

Please be aware!

Four claims to check

  1. "We have a team of fully qualified professionals"
    Do they? Check the firm and the individuals listed with the professional bodies listed in this document.
  2. "We have achieved big %%% reductions for several clients"
    Demand the names and telephone numbers of past clients and ring them to check.
  3. "We can get huge %%% reductions on your property"
    If they make these claims before making a full investigation of your property, they may be 'cowboys'.
  4. "You will have nothing to pay unless we succeed"
    • Whatever their salesman may say, demand to see a copy of their contract. Free advice can be obtained before signing from the RICS Helpline Tel: 0870 3331600 or email
    • Some contracts contain disguised fees. Do not believe stories that you will have to pay when the Valuation Office/Assessor in Scotland acknowledges receipt of an appeal. Not only are you able to lodge an appeal yourself, but the VO acknowledges receipt of all appeals free of charge.
    • Be careful if the contract entitles the firm to a percentage of the reduction in Rateable Value. This may not necessarily lead to a saving in the rates you have to pay.

Professional advice

Professional advice from qualified rating surveyors is available from members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV).

The members of these bodies are:

  • regulated by rules of professional conduct offering redress to the general public.
  • fully trained and qualified to standards required by their professional body.
  • required to hold professional indemnity insurance.

Ratepayers choosing to employ a rating adviser who is not a member of one of these bodies should satisfy themselves that the rating adviser has the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Ratepayers with any concerns about a rating adviser should consult the RICS or the IRRV before entering into any formal agreement to engage a rating advisor to act on their behalf.

The RICS helpline number (0207 222 7000)will also provide you with the name of your nearest professionally recognised rating surveying firm who will provide you with up to half an hour's free advice.

Other contact information

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
12 Great George Street
Parliament Square
Tel: 0207 222 7000
Fax: 0207 334 3811

Institute of Revenues,
Rating and Valuation
41 Doughty Street
Tel: 0207 831 3505
Fax: 0207 831 2048

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Last Updated: 09.04.2014 at 14:32

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