A few issues back I reported that Gurpreet Rehal was trying to settle a backdated rates bill with Cashzone for his hole-in-the-wall ATM. He wanted to do this as he was considering selling the business. Cashzone initially wanted £16,000.

Three years ago Cashzone offered him a ‘without prejudice’ settlement offer of just over £8K. Gurpreet wrote to the company this July saying he would now like to accept that offer, but he has been told that, in view of the time lapse, the total outstanding is now £27,480 and the settlement offer is now more than £19,000.

Gurpreet comments: “The previous offer also made clear that they would be responsible for business rates moving forward and this new offer is silent on who will be taking responsibility for rates, so I could be forking out £19k and still be responsible for rates post-June 2018 if I decide not to sell the business. Needless to say, I have scrapped any plans to sell indefinitely, but I do need a solution to this problem.”

It is obviously a huge liability.

The council bill for the ATM goes straight to Cashzone, which is specified as the occupier of the site. The old contract mentions that liability for rates and taxes lies with the retailer, but back then holes-in-the-wall were not being taxed.

No doubt the new contract makes it crystal clear that the retailer is liable, but Gurpreet has an old contract which finishes next year.

Gurpreet cannot be the only one in this fix. In fact, when I first wrote about this ATM/rates issue several retailers reported receiving big rates bills. Then it all went quiet. What happened? Have any of you paid rates to your ATM provider? Anyone gone to court over it?