Retailers shared their experiences of being contacted by business rates consultancy firms offering to save them money through appealing their rateable value.

“I hired a company back in September after receiving so many phone calls about it. Business rates are a large business cost for me, around £600 a month and I was told they could appeal it for me so I said yes. I paid around £300 but now I’m asking for my money back as I’ve heard nothing from them, even when I try and call them I don’t get an answer.”

– Pravin Desai, Tirupathy News, London

I received a phone call promising me a discount on my business rates, for an initial fee of £80, with more to follow when the discount came through. However, I then received an invoice for £1,400 shortly afterwards. They said I had failed to fill out a Government form online, but I’d already said that I can’t use computers and they had promised to send someone round to help me fill in the form, this never happened despite multiple phone calls to them.”

– Nita Patel, 134-136 Roman Road, London

“It’s really important that all retailers are told that they can apply for rates amendments themselves. I know of one shop owner who had to pay thousands to a business rates company after it turned out his rates could not be reduced to any lower than they already were! He refused to pay and when taken to court he lost the case. That meant he also had to pay all their fees as well!”

– Gaurave Sood, Neelam Newsagents, Uxbridge

EXCLUSIVE: Business rates ‘con artists’ that targeted independent retailers identified