Business owners erroneously hit with increases of up to 1,500% in fees for outside seating and advertising boards have received an apology from Hounslow Council.
Small business holders across the borough had warned the astronomical rises in licensing charges would prove ruinous, and the council now admits the figures quoted were not correct.
Council leader Steve Curran issued a personal apology on Tuesday (March 31), and said the charges were being suspended with immediate effect, pending a review.
Councillor John Todd had highlighted the soaring fees after being contacted by around a dozen firms appalled by the size of their latest bill.
The Conservative councillor for Chiswick Homefields welcomed the council's about-face but said the massively inflated bills should never have been issued in the first place.
Roger Bateman told how the licence for an A-board outside his hair and beauty salon had increased from £107 to £1,710 for six months - a rise of just under 1,500%. "How can the council possibly justify this?" he asked on the local forum ChiswickW4.
David Cheesman-Biggs, who runs The Duke of York pub in Devonshire Road, Chiswick, meanwhile, said his fee for outdoor tables and chairs had shot up from £300 to over £1,500.
"We're a small family business and there's no way we could afford this. It's absolutely ludicrous," he told getwestlondon. "We're glad these charges have been suspended but those bills should never have been sent out in the first place.
"They say it's for administration costs but what costs are there when we have to calculate the area needed [for tables and chairs to be placed]? They seem to have plucked a figure out of thin air."
Mr Curran thanked Mr Todd for highlighting the "significant increases" to licence fees and apologised to businesses for any concern they had caused.
"These increases are not correct and have happened as a result of a review undertaken by Hounslow Council officers who looked at the charges for such licences elsewhere in London," he said.
"Limits to the fees charged for the licensing of pavement cafés and A-boards which are applied elsewhere across the capital, were mistakenly not taken into consideration when applied to the new proposed charges for businesses in Hounslow.
"And of course we will publicly communicate the outcome of these discussions in due course before any final decision is taken.
"I would like to apologise for any inconvenience and concerns these notices have caused."