A lot of people get taken in by ratings cowboys. I don’t think Surinder Jheeta is one of them. He writes from Beejay at Oxshott in Surrey: “Have you heard of BRC surveyors?” I hadn’t, but I was shocked by the fees they would be charging to review his rates.

“They claim to be able to reduce them by £4,000-5,000 a year, plus get me a refund for the past five years. This was after an initial visit.”

The rep, who was due back in a few days, said that if Surinder decided to go for it, they would charge £995 plus VAT as an assessment fee.

“I have no intention of paying this, unless they can prove that a refund is due. There is a fee of 25% on any refund. I don’t mind paying the charges, but it looks like a scam to me, with them being onto a winner with the assessment fee. The likelihood is that they will apply for a rate revaluation, which they can prove with a letter from the VOA, which anyone can do.”

Indeed.

I would not brand BRC as a cowboy outfit. What I would say is that any retailer should always check that the surveyor you choose to go for is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

I can’t see membership of RICS mentioned on BRC’s website, however.

Another recommendation is to ring Ken Batty, my go-to RICS member in Preston. He will not, repeat, will not, rip you off.