Home owners in Penarth are being cold-called and told that – on payment of a fee – they can have their Council-Tax banding professionally investigated with a view to getting it reduced .
PDN has been informed that a householder in his late 60s received a call from a female representing a firm called “All Claim Solutions” offering to “reduce his council tax”
The householder was told that if he would provide his debit or credit card details, a charge of £69.99 would be deducted and that the company would then carry out an investigation of his property banding and provide all the information necessary to lodge an appeal against the current valuation.
In this case the householder asked the caller whether she worked “for the council” . She replied that she didn’t but said that her company “shadows the councils” – and provided a (genuine) telephone and a company registration number.
The householder asked to be called back at later date and rang the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The council told him they believe the scheme was “a scam” and he was asked to call the council again if any further approaches were made by the firm.
PDN investigations show that “Allclaim Solutions” (there are other similarly-named firms) is a private limited company registered at Companies House. The company’s address is given as 20-22 Wenlock Road, London – but this is in fact a “virtual office” which provides a mailing address, telephone reception and call-forwarding facilities for a large number of companies. [ PDN Note There is nothing unusual or illegal about this. Many small companies to do this in order to provide themselves with the perceived advantage of a Central London address].
Companies House say the registered office of Allclaim Solutions is in Chichester but a spokesman for the firm says the operational base is actually in Brighton, Sussex. Although – unusually – the on-line “filing history” doesn’t include details of the company’s directors, Companies House say there is one director on their files – a Mr Ashley Davis.
“Chris” – a manager at Allclaim Solutions says it only does the administration for its clients and provides a package including all the necessary paperwork. However it stresses there is “no guarantee” of a rebate or reduction in banding . It is the client – and not the firm – who actually submits each banding appeal.
Allclaim asserts it is successful in “about 80%“ of the cases they investigate – inasmuch as they find evidence and provide calculations which appear to justify a lower valuation, but the firm admits that it generally does not get feedback from its clients as to whether their appeals have ultimately been successful or not .
In fact there is considerable scope to challenge Council Tax Banding valuations in Penarth and elsewhere Wales because the original bandings were the result of the notorious “drive-by” valuations carried out by the Welsh Labour Government – nominally based on the value of each home as it was on 1st April 2003 . This involved the inspectors driving around towns and cities in Wales and valuing individual properties without bothering to get out of their cars.
All the bands are identified by a letter – “A” being the lowest and “I” being the highest-valued homes . There are several homes in Penarth which are classified as being in the “I” band. (The English bandings only go up to “H”).
PDN Note: Householders who want to challenge their Council Tax Banding don’t need to engage the services of any company to lodge an appeal on their valuation . They can do it free of charge by contacting The Valuation Office in Cardiff. All the necessary information is available on https://www.gov.uk/council-tax-appeals/challenge-your-band