Warning over cold callers

Coun Phil Hamman
Coun Phil Hamman

Forceful cold callers claiming to be council workers are targeting South Ribble people offering to help claim refunds on their council tax bills.

Hundreds of concerned residents have contacted South Ribble Council in the past week after being phoned by someone saying they could help them to “reband” their homes and claim back thousands of pounds.

Some residents said they had been “guaranteed” up to £3,000, others said they had been asked for an upfront fee while significant numbers of people said the callers had given them the impression they were working for the council.

South Ribble Council’s cabinet member for shared services and corporate support, Coun Phil Hamman, said: “We’ve been inundated with calls from concerned residents this week.

“They described these operatives as persistent, forceful and even aggressive, to the extent that we’ve received a number of complaints from people who had been misled into thinking they were dealing with one of our employees.

“We would never call anybody about this and we pride ourselves on our standards of professionalism, not to mention common courtesy.

“I sympathise with the people who have been left feeling intimidated or angered by these cold calls, and I would urge anybody who receives one to contact Trading Standards or call us for advice.”

The council said that in certain circumstances some residents may be entitled to a reduction in council tax if it can be proved that their home was placed in the wrong band. Council taxpayers do not need to use a third party to do this, they can do it themselves by contacting the Valuation Office Agency.

It is also ikely that companies involved in making these calls take a significant slice of any refund due, the council added.