No, not tills…spurs. Those ratings cowboys, RVA surveyors, are still around. I know this because a piece I wrote on the subject back in July 2014 is still collecting comments online from others who have been rooked. To date there have been 75 reports and I have just read them all.

What is striking is their similarity. Most of the commentators had automatically qualified for small business rate relief and RVA, claiming to operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, was claiming 40%+ of the reduction for themselves. Some businesses claimed that the cold-calling reps ticked boxes on the form that resulted in no cooling-off period and enabled RVA to receive the rebate directly from the local authority. They were also, unknowingly, locked into a contract for several years.

They had universally had threats of court action, some lasting years - and one recorded that RVA actually took them to court this January (the judge threw it out). A lot of the commentators have advised others to report to trading standards, to MPs, to Citizens Advice and to Action Fraud.

A solicitor offered to take class action and that got a big response.

RVA operates out of Manchester, where Strattons and Oldfields first spawned their range of multi-million pound rates rip-offs back in 1993 and were eventually closed down.

It beggars belief that, all these years later, it’s still happening. The advice is still the same. Don’t pay. Better yet, head ’em off at the pass by not signing.