Randall & Vickers Council Tax Refund letter

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Sunday 15 July 2012 10.54am
Received an official-looking letter from "Randall & Vickers" (self-proclaimed "Consumer Champions") on Friday, with IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR COUNCIL TAX. The letter claims that my property may be in the wrong CT band and - for a 25% + vat cut of the rebate - they'll help me to get rebanded if so. The letter's emphasis is on being rebanded downwards; so far as I can see, it doesn't mention what would happen if my property was found to be in too low a band ...

A quick Google suggests that R&V are one of those companies - like the PPI reclaims lot - who make money from helping you to do something that you can easily do yourself and for free. The government Valuation Office website provides guidance on how to find out whether you're in the wrong band and what to do if you think you are.

I have no reason to doubt that R&V are operating within the letter or the law, but personally I'd like to keep hold of 100% of any rebate I'm owed rather than 75%.

Incidentally, if you're reading this Randall &Vickers, my address is registered with the Mail Preference Service so not only will I not be taking up your generous offer, I'll be reporting you to MPS for spamming me.
Sunday 15 July 2012 11.53am
Talking of PPI - I am a bit lost in that jungle. Do you have any experience of this or do you know any useful websites that could put me in the right direction?
Zoe
Sunday 15 July 2012 11.54am
I got a call off a company wanting to challenge PPI insurance selling. When I asked where they got my info they said the ICO! I should have got them to send me the pack and reported them. They also said the other side pays the costs, what complete nonsense and such a scam.

Don't apply for CT rebanding btw, your property is worth more now that in 1991!
Sunday 15 July 2012 11.55am
PPI the only thing you need to know is "do it yourself" - don't pay the cowboys to do it for you. Here is a good start.
Sunday 15 July 2012 10.34pm
Zoe wrote:
Don't apply for CT rebanding btw, your property is worth more now that in 1991!

Unless you've built an extension that shouldn't matter - the question is what your property would have been worth in 1991*. I wouldn't say it's an easy process but I certainly wouldn't pay someone to do it for me.

* although when they put my newly converted flat in Band F in 2006 I suspect that's what they forgot (is now in D, should really be in C but I was fed up by the end of the process so I settled).
Zoe
Monday 16 July 2012 6.47am
Thanks beingjdc, hadn't realised that's how they do it (had never really thought about it). I doubt most people would have built an extension in SE1!
Monday 16 July 2012 7.53am
Zoe,
Please build an extension to your home and let us know how you get on. Perhaps you could use air-bricks.
Monday 16 July 2012 8.37am
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/ppi-loan-insurance

Just follow Martin Lewis'advice etc and do it for FREE!

Good Luck!
Monday 16 July 2012 11.20am
Re. CT rebates (rather than PPI), I've looked into it a bit more.
The majority of my neighbours (whether living in one- or two-bedroom flats) are in the same band as me (C). I can't quite see the logic here, since some properties very definitely have a whole extra room (and therefore a higher market price) than others, but maybe not enough higher to push the bigger flats into Band D. What is weird is that one or two neighbours are - apparently randomly - in band B, including the flat immediately above mine which has exactly the same footprint and - because it's a flat - no extension etc. I could rattle the Valuation Office Agency cage but it's more likely that those in Band B would be uprated to bring them in line with the rest of us Band Cs. There's also the risk that the VOA decides to uprate the two-bedroom Band Cs into Band D, or decides to uprate ALL of us into Band D.
All in all, it's sometimes best to let sleeping dogs lie :)
Monday 16 July 2012 4.47pm
Zoe wrote:
Thanks beingjdc, hadn't realised that's how they do it (had never really thought about it). I doubt most people would have built an extension in SE1!

No, that's true - and you don't get revalued until you sell up, no matter what you build. I forget whether a loft conversion counts. One of the big sticking points at the moment which may be relevant to the better off in SE1 is how independent you can make a granny flat before it becomes a separate property.

Although if such a conversion is actually for an older family member of the residents in the main house it's exempted no matter what (that has been the case since 1998, though the Government have just reannounced that they're going to make it exempt, for some reason...)

I don't think the VOA can uprate a neighbour because of your appeal, but don't take my word as gospel on that, it's sometimes true about sleeping dogs. Martin Lewis's advice is good on this issue, and there's a CT valuation board on the forum there as I recall, too.
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