‘Hang up on the council tax rebate callers’
9:06am Friday 15th February 2013 in News
RESIDENTS are being warned about cold callers trying to persuade people to pay a fee to get a council tax refund.
Salespeople have been targeting residents across the borough and telling them they are entitled to a council tax rebate because their home is in the wrong band.
The callers ask for a fee up front and say that advisers will visit them to help them get the properties rebanded.
A 75-year-old woman, who lives in Astley Bridge, was called on Tuesday.
She said: “They knew who I was and knew that it was a semi-detached house.
“They said if I paid £166, advisers would come to me and help me reclaim 10 years of overpayments.
“I told them I was not interested but they said they have been inundated with calls, and said people were distressed.”
There is no suggestion that the callers are breaking the law, but Bolton Council said it has received a number of reports of unsolicited telephone calls about council tax rebates this week.
A council spokesman said: “The company may be misleading people into believing they are definitely entitled to a refund and may also be giving false impressions that they are connected to the council or an official government body.
“We understand that this company may be charging up-front fees as well as a hefty slice of any rebate obtained.
“These calls will be from a private company that has nothing whatsoever to do with the council or any government agency.”
Only the Valuation Office Agency can decide whether someone is in the correct council tax band, the spokesman said.
She added: “We will be investigating any false or misleading claims.”
The council is advising anyone who is suspicious to put the phone down.
The spokesman added: “If you have made an appointment and are unable to contact them to cancel it, simply tell the rep that you are not interested when he or she calls round.
“Ask them to leave. It is a criminal offence if a trader fails to leave when requested.”
Anyone who is entitled to a council tax refund can contact the VOA for advice free of charge.
Go to voa.gov.uk for more information.
Suspicious calls can be reported to the council’s trading standards department on 08454 040506.