In the 2 June issue I reported that Michael Outama’s rates had not only gone up for his Londis premises (number 7,8,9) but the council decided he had not being paying for number 9. They wanted another £6,631.76.

I advised him that he needed to get a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) member (ie not a cowboy) to visit the premises.

He has sent me an update saying that RICS found him a close-by member who duly visited. He says: “What we agreed to do was to measure the shop so she can work out exactly what happened for a fee of £240 (for measuring of the shop, not the time she came out to see me). Two days later, she called to confirm that I had already paid the business rate for number 9. She suggested she call Sandwell Council to put this to them and for them to drop this bill, rather than I pay it and appeal later, as she said doing this could take years to get my money back.

“Within an hour she got back with the good news that they had accepted the mistake and dropped this bill. Now she is working on reducing my rate. She thinks some money can be saved, not much, but she thinks it’s worth it and, of course - no win, no fee.”