I’ve had emails from a well-trusted chartered surveyor in Preston (Ken Batty) with examples of what another firm is sending out to retailers to tout for business.

Here is what the letter from Hampton Lovett says verbatim: “Hello, As You will now be aware, your business rates increase for 1st April 2018 is now fully effective.

“I tried to contact you sometime ago regarding your business rates at THE BAKERY as having researched similar local premises, I have noticed in some cases you are paying almost double for the same areas.

“There may well be a valid reason for this, for example a new building, however having looked in to your assessment I feel you could be being overcharged and would like to discuss my findings with you in more detail.

“Many businesses in LEATHERHEAD have already had their business rates reduced and received thousands back in overpayments allowing them to put money back into their cashflow and not HMRC.

“Hampton Lovett work on a ‘no case for resolution, no fee’ basis. We have a proven track record in business rates reduction. You may be entitled to a cash rebate for money you have paid and a discounted bill up to April 2021.”

As Ken Batty says he couldn’t believe how ignorant this company is of the fact that business rates no longer go to central government, but to local councils. As Ken concludes: “The ineptitude beggars belief.”

There are lots of firms out there claiming to be able to save you money on your business rates, but before you jump in, run a few checks first. And the message remains: don’t go with cold callers.