HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned by the leader of the Isle of Wight Council to treat with great caution no-win-no-fee companies which offer to appeal against council tax bandings.
The issue was raised with Cllr David Pugh by a Ryde resident who was contacted by a Manchester-based financial claims management company offering to attempt to reduce his council tax.
But, if the company succeeds, it will get 25 per cent, plus VAT, of the amount gained.
Yelfs Road householder Anthony Goffey said: "The issue simply questions why anyone would want to pay these people for a service that is free from the Valuation Office Agency."
Retired company managing director Mr Goffey, 76, said: "These companies also take 25 per cent for taking-up people’s Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims, which can be done by people themselves too."
Cllr Pugh told Mr Goffey: "The VOA does not generally reassess properties outside re-valuation, but, where appeals are lodged, they have the right to adjust other homes they feel may be incorrectly banded.
"If a householder has reason to believe that their council tax band is wrong they should contact the VOA to discuss it, as there might be a good reason for apparent inaccuracies.
"The service is free and if the VOA agrees that a band is inaccurate then they will change it and amend the bands of other identical properties in the area."
But Cllr Pugh warned that bands could go up as well as down.