Last updated: 21st October 2012
It is primarily concerned with how the mechanism of BBC funding unfairly affects those who do NOT use television. This site has been in operation since late 2001 and will remain as long as this extension of the BBC exists and its behaviour continues to embarrass the United Kingdom.
Why am I doing this? I have not had a television since the late 1980s and one would think
that would be an end to it, but it isn't. One cannot
simply refuse this entertainment service, without appearing
to be dishonest in the eyes of TV Licensing™. The non-viewer
does not fit into their framework. To TV Licensing™
there are licence-payers and licence-dodgers and the
non-viewer (with whom they have no business) is
treated as a suspect licence-dodger and a suspected liar.
How the British television licensing system unfairly affects those who do NOT have TV.
Matters involving the author of these pages:
Correspondence with TV Licensing™. I had heard nothing from TV Licensing since 23rd of December 2008; however today, I've received a letter addressed to "The Legal Occupier". Read the details here. (updated: 14/01/12)
FAQ . . . questions you might ask me. (Last updated: 21/10/12)
Book Review. My review of Ian Wishart's book Beating Big Brother, How people power turned off the T.V. tax! An account of the run-up to the abolition of the TV licence in New Zealand. (Added: 21/05/05)
"Nowhere to hide". An excerpt from the article by Bryan Appleyard published in the Sunday Times Magazine of the 15th of April 2001. This article is primarily about invasion of privacy, but mentions TV Licensing™ in the section quoted.
DCMS – BBC Charter Review public consultation – submission. This document is also available in PDF. A selection of others' submissions may be found here (Last updated 25/09/04).
Correspondence with my Member of Parliament Andrew Lansley , CBE, MP. (Last updated: 24/12/02)
Personal accounts of dealings with TV Licensing™ (last update: 14th January 2012)
Opinions, on the web (last update: 19th September 2009)
Media articles. (last update: 19th September 2009)
News items. (last update: 21st October 2012)
Sites campaigning for the abolition of the TV licence (last update: 14th January 2012)
Blogs mentioning TV Licensing™ (last update: 21st October 2012)
How the British TV licensing system is viewed by those from other countries (last update: 22nd June 2008)
TV licensing systems in other countries (last update: 9th February 2008)
UK Parliament and government links (last update: 22nd June 2008)
Government agency links (last update: 24th December 2003)
NGO links (last update: 14th January 2012)
Politics (last update: 26th June 2004)
Information on TV licensing (last update: 19th September 2009)
Forums discussing TV licensing and related matters. (last update: 20th December 2008)
Anti-TV links (last update: 20th October 2007)
Mentions of TV licensing in advice pages (last update: 12th April 2009)
Miscellaneous links (last update: 31st March 2007)
Sites campaigning for the abolition of the TV licensing
Abolish the TV Licence: www.tvlicensing.biz and www.bbcresistance.com
Erik Oostveen's excellent site; it contains a wealth of information including disturbing insights into the internal workings of TV Licensing™. This shares the common objective of hoping to end the iniquitous behavior of TV Licensing™. This site also has an active forum here. (link updated: 14/01/12)
Licence Free: "If you're reading this, the chances are that you are legally licence free, and find youself being harassed by TV Licensing." . . . "If that's you, then this site can help! We're here with loads of accurate information about who and what "TV Licensing" are, what they can and can't do, and how to dispense with their nonsense entirely, if you wish." (added 14/01/12)
Abolish the TV Licence Fee www.onebillionpageviews.org (added 20/12/08)
Letters from BBC Television Licensing: www.bbctvlicence.com (added 2/11/08)
Campaign Against Licensing: www.cal.org.uk currently at: www.spiderbomb.com/tv
An interesting, if largely static, site. Sections include: The Licence and the Law, Criminalising Television Licence Evasion and Prison Statistics
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Personal accounts of dealings with TV Licensing™
Gerald Gannaway — "If they bully you, phone the police": "From my own experience TV Licensing enforcement division serves no credit on it's employer the BBC and I would advise anyone who suffers unwarranted bullying from TV Licensing to make a formal complaint to the police of harassment of another and demand compensation if you feel their threatening letters have caused you unnecessary worry or distress." (added 14/01/12).
Hi-Fi: "A letter from TV Licensing and a response." (added 01/03/09).
J. Lyndsay: "An example of these enforcement methods was experienced by an elderly neighbour of mine when she was confronted at her back window by an enforcer who wasn't aware that she didn't own a TV set. It's the kind of thing you expect in a police state." . . . "The BBC defend themselves, claiming that they're a genuine public service broadcaster, but it's impossible to justify using totalitarian tactics to force people to pay for junk like this." (added 22/06/08).
William Dixon Smith: "Every so often I receive letter from an institution called TV Licensing, coaxing me to watch television. Sometimes they even send a rep round to hard sell the idea, but as I have never yet figured out how to work my car radio, I'm not ready to face another technological challenge." (added 22/06/08).
Peter G. Hill: "[A]s soon as an address is seen to be unregistered in respect of a TV licence, the occupant is subjected to an unending stream of letters, the constant message being that you are guilty of harbouring an unregistered TV. In the early stages, the letters are just accusatory but rapidly become bullying, insulting and finally intimidating and highly offensive. What other government organisation, business or even court of law would send out a letter in an envelope adorned in large print with the message 'Notice of impending prosecution' or 'Your next appearance could be in court'? This, when no evidence whatsoever of TV possession exists." . . . "Persecution is not too strong a word to describe the actions of TV Licensing and it beggars belief that such practices should be acceptable in society today." (added 22/06/08).
Barry Hughes: "[O]ver the past eight years my son has had a steady stream of communications accusing him of not having a valid licence. Initially, he wrote back, politely explaining he had no TV and did not intend to obtain one. However, this did not stop the flow of letters, which ultimately threatened that he would be visited by an investigator, could be interviewed under caution and might receive a severe fine. He tried phoning or returning the letters, by now covered in large red warnings, but to no avail." (added 22/06/08).
Michael Ayton: "For two years now I've had no television and the TLA has known this clearly, yet, despite my complaints, it's still bombarding me with insulting letters peppered with glaring phrases like 'official warning – this property is unlicensed', unashamedly advertising their own prejudice that everyone uses a TV and so people who say they don't are probably lying." (added 03/02/07).
Philip Dean: Personal experiences of denying "implied right of access" and other useful information. (added 29/12/06)
Letters from BBC Television Licensing: "The only fly in the ointment has been aggressive letters from TV Licensing (TVL), which collects the licence fee on behalf of the BBC. TVL/BBC sends millions of letters every year to people who do not watch broadcast television, demanding payment. For many people, these letters can be frightening. But the letters are a bluff; they are computer-generated. TVL/BBC have none of the powers their letters imply. With a little knowledge, people can stand up to the bullies. The purpose of this website is to share my TVL/BBC letters as I receive them, and to provide useful information for people who have no time for the BBC." (updated 24/06/06).
Armin Grewe: TV Licensing wasting money and TV Licensing Jubilee. Also How Soon Is Now - For TV Licensing? (updated 10/06/06).
Dr Steven Taylor: a Great Yarmouth GP writes about his experiences dealing with TV Licensing™. (added 28/02/06).
Robert Hertner: . . . taking TV Licensing™ to Court for alleged trespass . . . (added 06/11/05).
Mark Langford: "[T]hirteen increasingly menacing demands from the TV licensing people, whose previous indication that harassment will cease once you assure them that you have no TV at this address (we did, twice, and now three times) proves to be a lie." (added 10/04/05).
Anthony Daniels: "Every few months, I receive a letter from the TV licensing agency, who do not believe that I do not have a television. Once again I am threatened with a £1000 fine, and also warned that my house will soon be spied upon unless I buy a licence." (added 10/04/05).
M. Denyer: TV Licensing Authority: "You see everyone owns a television. Those who don't are liars who 'will be caught'. Frankly I find that quite offensive, I mean I know not to take the threat letters personally, but their approach is still despicable." . . . "the mechanism which gives them the right to invade peoples' property on a whim seems as immoral as it does insulting. Not only that but the blind assumption that everyone owns a TV and anyone who says otherwise is a liar is bloody annoying." (added 08/01/05).
Paul Oldham: TV Licensing Madness. A collection of letters. (added 19/08/04).
Graham Smith: BBC Television Licence. For a while now I have been one of the 2% of the population that doesn't, let me make that very clear doesn't, have a television. ... (added 12/08/04).
Kevin Boone: "I live in one of the two million or so households in the UK that does not own a television. The television licencing authorities would have us believe that not owning a television is aberrant, bizarre behaviour, and only a handful of people would be so perverse." (added 26/04/04).
Keith Parkins: "I have no TV, do not watch TV and have no wish to obtain a TV. If past experience is anything to go by I will shortly be visited by an investigative agent who will insist on searching my home for an illicit TV. If I refuse to grant permission he will return with a search warrant." (added 10/04/04)
David Lomax: "When I stopped my TV Licence on my empty house, they sent me letters literally every 4 weeks threatening me. It was horrible." (added 24/12/03)
Reg Holmes: A very brief account of a twenty-year long exchange of letters with TV Licensing™. (added 24/12/03)
Hal C F Astell: TV Licenced to Kill (added 27/09/03)
Cambridge2000:The Cambridge 2000 Memos: BBC Television License. (added 20/07/03)
Matt Mueller: A New Zealander's set of letters to and From the "TV Police" between January and April, 2000. (added 18/01/03)
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Opinions, on the web
This is Grimsby — letters: Ronald Jillings: "This money-grabbing corporation should be forced into the competitive free market and put on par with all the other media, radio and TV channels, which exist without financial public aid whatsoever (ie licence fees)." (added 19/09/09).
Daily Telegraph — letters: Andrew Sturmey: "Is there nobody who can bring this deranged and highly discredited organisation under control?" . . . Philippa Cullen: "Joanna Richards of TV Licensing writes that 'TV Licensing does not shy away from prosecuting anyone caught breaking the law'. She could have added that TV Licensing is not shy of putting bright red defamatory messages on its envelopes, which give the impression that the recipient has not paid a debt, so that anyone can read them. Nor does TV Licensing shy away from banging on the front door on a quiet Sunday morning, much to the alarm of children in the house. I would be happy if TV Licensing were a little more shy." (added 20/12/08).
Daily Telegraph — letters: "Paul Vlcek 'Since the BBC is the only beneficiary of the licence fee, would it not be more accurate to call the licence enforcement agency 'BBC Licensing'? It would do no harm to have the aggressive nature of the licence collection (Letters, November 22) clearly linked to the BBC'" (added 20/12/08).
Robert Henderson: "I have just received the piece of bureaucratic impertinence below from the TV Licensing Authority. Of course they have absolutely no legal right to force an entry without a warrant and they can only get a warrant if they have reasonable grounds for believing an unlicensed set is on the premises. Merely not having a license is not reasonable ground." . . . "I have not owned a TV set since 1969 and have been regularly harassed because of it." (added 05/08/06).
Horse Sanctuary UK Limited: "There is no doubt in our minds that the methods used" . . . "are purposely designed to be intimidating and threatening. These tactics are clearly a misuse of authority, a breach of your human rights and a gross intrusion into your private and family life". Also – The Face of TV Licensing. (updated 21/05/06).
Fully Informed Jury Association: "The BBC Licensing Authority Have No Legal Authority Unless Unanimous Juries Grant It." . . . "The FCDAE-FIJA campaign for the re-implementation of the Juror's legal Right and Duty to judge on the justice of law and every act of enforcement; and to annul the enforcement of all injustices against citizens by finding the Not Guilty Verdict." . . . "This relates directly to the TV licensing authority issue, because with the Trial by Jury operating correctly, one can safely say that the TV License would have been abolished years ago, along with numerous unjust statutes." (updated 25/06/05).
Jake Gordon: Should The BBC continue to receive large amounts of public money through the licence fee? (added 21/02/04)
Chris Longhurst: Come To New Britain (added 24/12/03)
David Sheldon: TV Licencing."It is my opinion that the Licencing people intentionally mislead people and use threatening language in order to maximise revenues. It may well be true that the majority of households in the country have a television and use it, however that is no excuse for assuming that everyone has one." (added 24/12/03)
Daryll Watts: "This ancient statute still exists because no-one actually bothers to dispute it!" . . . "The general (and typical) apathy of the U.K. public — they moan, and then pay!" (added 24/12/03)
Adrian Midgely: A Devon GP's views on the current system of television licensing.
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How those from other countries view the British TV licensing system
HeraldNet: TV with strings attached by Jon Bauer. "A TV tax? How un-American: If you think the IRS can get a little nasty, let us introduce you to Great Britain's TV Licensing agency, responsible for collecting the $274 annual tax on anybody who owns a TV." (added 22/06/08).
The Heights: Becoming a sitcom-viewing fugitive by Kathryn Dill. "Imagine my surprise two weeks later when I received a letter in my mail slot from TV Licensing UK stamped "Official Warning." "We have previously informed you that it is an offense to watch TV programmes at your address without a valid TV License. You should expect a visit from an Enforcement Officer shortly." The accompanying pamphlet didn't contain too much information about my rights, but it did state very clearly that I could face a court appearance and a fine of up to the equivalent of $2,000. If, after I paid my fine, I still wanted to watch TV, I would need to purchase a license, at the bargain price of $263." . . . "one important fact remained: I did not own, or have personal access to, a television set." (added 31/12/05)
A reader of the Seattle Times: "While the BBC is a great institution, it is far from immune to bias, and it is funded by draconian legislation that could not be enacted today in the UK. The British public put up with the TV license because it's all they've ever known and they grudgingly acknowledge the quality that the BBC turns out as being worth it." (added 31/12/05)
New York Times: No Telly in the House? Expect an Official Warning. by Sarah Lyall: " in its enthusiastic execution of its appointed task, the agency can sometimes be overzealous. It often seems unable to recognize the distinction between shirkers and non-television watchers" (added 09/01/05)
Le Québécois Libre: A Pernicious Invasion of our Privacy by Ralph Maddocks. "Perhaps most astonishing to North Americans is the fact that TV licence inspectors have the power to obtain and execute search warrants of private houses. Some 3000 such warrants are issued each year and yet the public seems to accept this heavy-handed and fascistic conduct with little or no reaction."
Trail of Thoughts TV Licensing. "What's with the Brits and the TV Licensing thing? I've been receiving warning letters alleging I've been watching TV in my room without a licence. The problem is; I don't even have a TV in my room!" (added 24/12/03)
Viewcrime: Paul Jacob (Senior Fellow at U.S. Term Limits) considers the British television licensing system and compares it with George Orwell's 1984. "No, it's not quite the bleak vision of George Orwell. But it's close enough." (added 10/11/03)
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*** ARTICLE *** The Times: Resisting the BBC terror tactics by James Silver "We're like the suffragettes, say a growing group of TV fee refuseniks" (added 19/09/09).
*** ARTICLE *** The Spectator: Charles Moore's reflections on the week "In last week's issue, a letter was published from Joanna Richards of TV Licensing. She said that its operations 'strictly comply with the law'. But a friend who is an Oxford don and has been threatened by TV Licensing tells me that in its letters to him, it stated that it might caution him under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. If you look at the Act, it appears to make no mention of television licensing officers. Code C of the Act does include a section on cautions, but this seems to apply only to questioning people in custody, so one cannot see how it helps a TV Licensing man on one's doorstep. It also requires 'reasonable objective grounds for suspicion'. How can the lack of a television licence be considered 'reasonable objective grounds' for suspecting that he is breaking the law? TV Licensing is on weak legal ground. Apparently, if its men call, you should say that you will film them as they try to search your premises. Then they go away." (added 01/03/09).
*** ARTICLE *** The Times: A return to voluntary subscription could work by David Elstein "Now that the BBC makes its programmes available on the internet, does this signal the end of the licence fee? Reports that TV Licensing is holding off prosecuting high-profile licence fee refuseniks (such as Noel Edmonds) and that the BBC Trust faces a multitude of complaints about the aggressive pursuit of less-famous nonpayers have added to the air of uncertainty about the future of the levy." (added 20/12/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Adam Smith Institute: The TV licensing Stasi by Tom Clougherty "There's a new billboard at the end of my road from the TV Licensing people." . . . "the complete illegitimacy of the licence fee itself makes the TV licensing authority's Gestapo tactics even harder to stomach" (added 20/12/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Times: This project is sponsored by George Orwell and his Big Brother by Ross Clark "Anyone who has lived without a television will know how hard it is to convince TV Licensing staff that is possible to exist without constant video entertainment. It is one more freedom that is to be taken from us. Like the telescreens in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four that citizens could turn down but not off, the giant screens planned for 60 towns and cities will make watching television compulsory." (added 2/11/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Guardian: Paying for the BBC - Should the BBC be merged with the council tax? by David Levy (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford) "In 2005/6 TV Licensing's 1,700 employees sent out 61m letters, handled 10m phone calls and made 3m visits. Collection costs are decreasing, but are currently £123m per annum and, with evasion at 5.1%, the combined cost of evasion and collection is 8.7% of the £3.4bn licence fee income - a total of around £295m. Greg Dyke, writing in MediaGuardian last month, cited collection costs alone as a reason to abolish the licence fee and use the savings to fund plurality." (added 2/11/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Independent: The message is clear. We are all under suspicion by Sarah Churchwell "Since moving to Britain, I have been called licence cheat, fare-dodger, and benefit thief - and all when I was just sitting on the Tube, minding my own business. "Get one or get done!" barked a TV Licensing poster. Then the tone changed from thuggish to sinister: 'Your town. Your street. Your home. It's all in our database. New technology means it's easier to pay your TV licence - and impossible to hide if you don't.'" (added 2/11/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Times: How to dodge TV licence fee: just watch repeats on your computer by Dan Sabbagh "The BBC is to conduct a review of the licence-fee system amid concern that a surge in the number of people watching television online is undermining support for the way that the corporation is funded." (added 2/11/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Times: Watch out, the Gestapo are about — The sinister TV licence advertisement shows how we have become slaves of the database state. by Eamonn Butler "I'm here and now, in the UK, watching the latest advertisement from the BBC as it tries to make us pay our licence fee. But however fine and well-spoken the words, this Orwellian campaign - with its menacing soundtrack of licence-dodgers being rounded up by airborne police dog-handlers - is complete thuggery. (The effete BBC doesn't of course wield the cosh itself. It contracts such persuasion to TV Licensing, a consortium of Capita and other private businesses.)" . . . "In just 40 seconds, this sinister advertisement shows how far we have become the slaves of the database state, rather than its masters. You thought we lived in a free society? In a free society, no government could tell its citizens, with such quiet condescension and with no hint of embarrassment: 'We are spying on you. We know all about you. Just watch your step.'" . . . "It's time we citizens stood up against this state-sponsored intimidation, particularly now that anti-terror legislation is being used to spy on whether our dogs are fouling the pavement and that we're closing our wheelie-bin properly." I'd like to see the BBC funded by some mechanism - like taking adverts that don't actually terrorise the general public." [Dr Eamonn Butler is Director of the Adam Smith Institute] (added 22/06/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Guardian: Somebody somewhere is selling you fear by Lucy Barrett "TV Licensing, which has pinned past advertising on quirky and amusing themes, has decided to take a similar big brother approach. I am not sure why. Circuit City, created by AMV BBDO, is a rather sinister ad that explains - in no uncertain terms - that towns, streets and homes are on its database: licence evasion is impossible. I'm not sure whether or not licence-fee dodgers will feel scared by this message, but I sure as hell feel intimidated. I have a licence - but that ad doesn't make me feel good about it. Instead, it makes me worry about exactly what information TV licensing is holding about me, who has access to it and how secure it is. What next? A taskforce dedicated to spying on suspected licence-fee evaders? Most of us would think not - but, unfortunately, the ad suggests the opposite." (added 22/06/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Daily Reckoning: Taking on Big Brother by Stuart Goldsmith "TV licensing? Well this is a hobby horse of mine anyway so don't get me started. How dare an entertainment company threaten us for not buying their service? Outrageous. After going through a fistful of hysterical bluster from the licensing authorities" . . . (added 22/06/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Daily Telegraph: Tom Hodgkinson launches his new column by switching off the television "'Free baby-sitting' is how the TV is often described by harried parents" . . . "Despite these undoubted advantages, I've come to the conclusion that it is best to unplug. Yes, disconnect from the state-funded image stream (the BBC) and from the commercial ad-filled pap providers (Sky TV)." . . . "The only problem you face is the enormous wrath of the TV Licensing Authority, whose employees seem to find it impossible to believe that you might voluntarily decide to refuse telly and assume instead that you must be out to defraud the State. Hence their letters become increasingly heavy and threatening in tone." (added 22/06/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Times: Forget MPs, what about our privacy? by Alice Miles "Most individuals will not have felt personally stung by the darts of hidden surveillance. But the increasing amount of upfront electronic surveillance, from speed cameras through congestion charge monitors to the aggressive letters from TV licensing cautioning that they are 'watching you', has struck all of us." (added 22/06/08).
*** ARTICLE *** The Sunday Times: Invasion of privacy by Richard Girling. "The BBC simply cannot believe that anyone would not want to watch its programmes. Anyone eschewing the pleasures of television, and thus also the price of a licence, will be presumed guilty until proven innocent. Owners of unlicensed properties can expect a leaf-storm of increasingly nasty pro-forma letters threatening visits by inspectors – enforceable by warrant – and criminal prosecution. As I personally can testify, it takes great forbearance and persistence by the victim to get the harassment stopped." (added 24/06/07)
*** ARTICLE *** BusinessBricks: TV Licensing Officers will soon be visiting Prince George Road by Matt Weston. "I've got a confession to make; I forgot to pay my TV Licence. But I'm glad I didn't pay on time, as I got this inspirational 'Pay up now, or else' letter through the post yesterday." . . . "Big Brother Corporation is watching you in other words. We know where you live, and we're coming to get you. "Big Brother Corporation is watching you in other words. We know where you live, and we're coming to get you." . . . " TV Licensing changed its tack a few years back after unsuccessfully playing the shared-responsibility card ('all this is possible because of the unique way the BBC is funded'). Now it uses a much blunter instrument to get people to pay: fear. Fear is a uniquely powerful motivating force; being penniless in retirement, getting left behind our peers, failure – all these things terrify us, and make us buy." (added 24/06/07)
*** ARTICLE *** The Sunday Herald: News Diary by Alan Taylor Long-suffering readers may recall my ongoing battle to convince the TV licensing oiks that I do not have a television and therefore have no need of a licence. This does not, of course, stop them from harassing me" (added 31/03/07)
*** ARTICLE *** The Daily Telegraph: If the BBC is so good, we will give it money by Charles Moore [Using a television] "is a criminal offence without a licence. And the licence pays for the television work of a single corporation – the BBC. It also supports the BBC's wider empire – since it makes us pay for radio programmes, whether or not we own a radio, and websites, whether or not we are on the internet. This legal obligation is fiercely enforced. On an oppressive guilty-until-proved-innocent theory, the TV Licensing authority persecutes the public. In my London flat, I do not have a television (we have one in the country). TV Licensing cannot envisage this possibility, so it keeps threatening me with prosecution." . . . "The BBC's relation to our culture resembles the old British Rail's relation to our means of transport – it is an over-centralised, expensive, unresponsive, obsolescent, occasionally magnificent but mostly squalid enterprise whose faults the managers do not see because they travel first-class." . . . "It is time for a big political party to argue for the abolition of the licence fee. None will, of course, because all are frightened of the power of the BBC to do them in. That, too, shows how, by its very existence, the BBC acts against the public interest. Time for a revolt." (added 21/01/07)
*** ARTICLE *** The Sunday Times: Dawn of a new television age by Alex Pell "Why the writing is on the wall for the TV licence — The pace of change is threatening to make the historic television licence fee redundant, or at least unenforceable. Viewers currently need a licence only to view live broadcasts but not for catch-up or on-demand TV services, or those downloaded over the internet, regardless of how they are viewed. " (added 23/12/06)
*** ARTICLE *** International Herald Tribune: As TV programs find new outlets, the tax man follows by Doreen Carvajal "New technology has pushed governments to a point where they must examine whether to expand fees to computers and mobile telephones that have access to television programming." (added 23/12/06)
*** ARTICLE *** Contractor UK: Database at TV Licensing 'relies on moaning Brits' "Brits we've wrongly asked for cash must get in touch to say they've already paid - so the e-database at the heart of our operation can be updated, TV Licensing has declared." . . . " "Despite the majority of its administration being run by Capita, the IT services expert, the group's database relies on your protestations for the accuracy of its 28 million records." . . . "In line with its Big-Brother-style advertising, TV Licensing implied a tough approach often yields better results for its business aims – to administer the collection of fees and enforce the TV licensing system." (added 05/08/06)
*** ARTICLE *** The Times: And suddenly it's got easier by Alice Miles. "[T]he repeated proforma letters from TV Licensing, which repeatedly harass householders with accusations of lying about not having a television: all the rude demands for more information, more proof – the easy and crude assumption that people are lying about everything all the time. And never, ever an apology when they are proved wrong." (added 28/05/05)
*** ARTICLE *** The Times: Editorial – As technology races ahead, so must the BBC. "in the modern age, dealing with digital delivery is almost as complex as creating the programmes. Alerted in The Times this week to the possibility of increasing numbers of people consuming BBC content without paying the licence fee by watching television on their computers, the corporation said that no such evasion was legally possible" . . . "This newspaper, likewise, upholds the law and urges its readers to do likewise. Yet it also knows an ostrich with its head in the sand when it sees one. The plain fact is that TV licensing regulations are not enforced and probably not enforcible insofar as they apply to the personal computer." . . . "If two million people in Brazil and twenty million in China watch a BBC broadcast on a PC are they watching television? And should British viewers be subsidising their pleasure?" . . . "The BBC should be considering a brave new future funded partly by subscription and partly, if necessary, by a lower, fairer statutory levy. Instead it has been granted £28 billion of stability over ten years, without enough incentive fully to embrace the technology that will transform its commercial rivals over the same period." (added 05/03/05)
*** ARTICLE *** The Sunday Times: Ten years of Beeb wars by Beatrice Newbery. Lynne and Steve Lawrence have been fighting the BBC's agents over their TV licence for a decade. Despite the threat of prosecution, they fought on and won. (added 24/12/03)
*** ARTICLE *** The Daily Telegraph: A free country by Stephen Robinson. (added 24/12/03)
*** ARTICLE ***Bucks Free Press: Journalist Stephen Cohen considers how TV Licensing™ treats non-viewers in terms of cash wastage. "The premise always appears to be that anyone without a licence must be a cheat, because everyone has a telly these days." (added 24/12/03)
*** ARTICLE *** This is the North East: Journalist Alan Wright discusses the "lunatic licence". (added 24/12/03)
*** ARTICLE *** Privacy International: Capita (a.k.a. TV Licensing™), again, wins "MOST INVASIVE COMPANY" category in The 2003 UK Big Brother Awards. (added 9/04/03)
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*** NEWS *** Tamworth Herald: My horror at court listing "One day I became a criminal and had absolutely no idea of how this had happened to me. I woke up one morning and received a few telephone calls from family and friends to say that my name was featured in the court pages of the Herald for TV Licence evasion. I'd been taken to court in my absence and a judgement had been made against me, resulting in fines, costs and worst of all, a 'criminal record'!" . . . "On Tuesday, September 25, I attended Burton Magistrates Court at my own expense and signed what is known as a 'Statutory Declaration'. This is a document whereby you swear on oath in front of a magistrate that you have no knowledge and are not guilty of the alleged offence. TV Licensing were also present at court. All fines and costs were dismissed and I no longer have a 'criminal record'." . . . "According to Burton Magistrates Court what had happened to me is a recurring problem." – Rikki Thursfield. (added 21/10/12).
*** NEWS *** Thurrock Gazette: Man wins TV licence battle "A man who took on the TV Licensing authority in court and won is still waiting for his costs to be paid. Michael Shakespeare, from Grays, made sure all his equipment at home could not receive a live TV signal" . . . "wrote to the authority to inform it what he had done, inviting it to send someone round to check it" . . . "and Mr Shakespeare filmed it. He heard nothing more until five months later, when a summons for court arrived." . . . "TV Licensing obtained a copy of Mr Shakespeare's video, which was uploaded on to YouTube, and said it showed a frozen image on a TV screen of The One Show" . . . "But Mr Shakespeare said the image was not present in his original video. In a landmark case at Basildon Crown Court, the judge found Mr Shakespeare had no case to answer, as TV Licensing could not prove the validity of the video. Their own inspector also said in court he had not seen the frozen image when he visited." (added 01/09/12).
*** NEWS *** Daily Record: Pensioner endures 39-year TV Licence fight.. even though he's never owned a telly by Kevan Christie. "A pensioner who has never owned a TV has been subjected to a campaign of harassment by TV Licencing enforcers - for 39 years. Jim McLauchlan, 69, says he has had a letter from the body every year since 1972 when he got married to wife Mary and bought his house." (added 14/01/12).
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: BBC admits it knew about false statistics – but carried on using them by Alex Singleton. "The BBC Trust's report on TV Licensing is out - and it contains a remarkable admission. TV Licensing continued to use false statistics in its mailings for two whole years after they were discovered in an internal BBC report." (added 12/04/09).
*** NEWS *** Guardian: BBC 'too harsh' in licence fee letters, review finds by Mark Sweney. "The BBC can be too heavy-handed and 'accusatory' in chasing up licence fee payments from viewers and listeners, but should be tougher on 'hard core evaders', a BBC Trust review has concluded." . . . "The BBC Trust also said TV Licensing should be less heavy-handed with its approach to households that do not have TV sets." (added 12/04/09).
*** NEWS *** Cambridge Evening News: TV licence demands to be toned down by BBC by Raymond Brown. "Victims of TV Licensing 'bully boy tactics' were delighted after a watchdog found it was too harsh in chasing up fees." . . . "Sir Michael Lyons, the Trust chairman, said the first point of contact should be 'warmer' and 'friendlier'. He said: 'Early reminders are too harsh, based on the presumption that people are trying to evade. We've asked BBC management to take early steps to improve the tone of these letters.' From April 2008 to February 2009, 32,064 complaints were made to Television Licensing - including 12,465 complaints from people objecting to mailings to unoccupied addresses and addresses that do not have televisions.' (added 12/04/09).
*** NEWS *** Wiltshire Times and Chippenham News: Resident's fury over TV licence warning letters by Victoria Ashford. "A west Wiltshire resident said he feels 'harassed' and 'hacked off' after receiving regular warning letters from the TV Licensing Authority despite the fact he doesn't even own a television. Tom Pettitt, 45, of Silver Street, in Bradford on Avon, has rceived several letters from the authority over the years but a recent one, which threatens to send enforcement officers round unannounced, proved to be the final straw" . . . "'I can't be the only person this happens to.'" (added 12/04/09).
*** NEWS *** The Journal: Sharron Elliott's grieving mother's fury at TV blunder by Ian Robson. "TV licence bosses demanded payment from a dead war hero. Sharron Elliott became just the second female soldier to lose her life in the Iraq war when her patrol boat was blown up in November, 2006. But TV Licensing sent a payment plan in her name to her mother's address, causing upset to her family. Sharron's mum Elsie Manning spoke of her upset and said she was angry after repeatedly trying to get her daughter's name off the register." (added 12/04/09).
*** NEWS *** Southport Visiter: Ainsdale family who haven't watched TV for ten years pursued by TV licensing authority "An Ainsdale couple has been bombarded with letters from the TV licensing authority despite not being able to watch TV in their house." . . . "Pat and Cath Regan, of Sandbrook Road, Ainsdale, haven't had TV reception for over 10 years yet they are still getting letters from the authority demanding proof." . . . "'We've got it in writing that we can have the set for watching videos so we've got a TV that's detuned. I recently had to complain to the TV Licensing authority for sending me intimidating letters, even though they are fully aware I have no means in my home to receive TV channel reception. They threatened to come to my door and check on my word over this issue. I therefore warned them that to do so would force me to contact the police.'" (added 12/04/09).
*** NEWS *** Ayrshire Post: Prestwick Man Hounded by TV Licence Authority by Edwin Lawrence. "TV Licensing snoops are making life a misery for a man who faithfully pays by direct debit. Bill Thomson, 68, has had a barrage of threatening letters." . . . "Bill has found it all so distressing that he has had to see his doctor." . . . "'I have high blood pressure which has led to an operation being twice postponed.'" . . . "Bill is so upset, he aims to report the Television Licensing Authority (TVLA) to Trading Standards. And he is also prepared to consult a lawyer if the letters continue." (added 12/04/09).
*** NEWS *** Cambridge News: Solicitor threatened over unpaid TV licence by Jack Grove. "A solicitor has been repeatedly threatened with legal action for failing to pay her TV licence fee - despite not owning a television. Sarah Coates, who works at a city law firm, says she is fed up after receiving a torrent of demands for the £139.50 annual fee which funds the BBC." . . . "'As a solicitor, I am very familiar with the legal system, but if you weren't, these letters could be very scary.'" . . . "City MP David Howarth was contacted by around 20 people last year complaining about their treatment by the licensing authority. He said: 'There is no justification for treating people in this way.'" . . . "Mr Howarth has taken the matter to Margaret Hodge, minister for culture, creative industries and tourism, who recommended that the BBC investigate." (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** Derry Journal: 'Despicable' threats left at Long Tower church "Parking attendants and TV licensing officials targeted" . . . "Derry's police chief has condemned threats that have been made against parking attendants and TV licensing officials in the city. On Monday night a letter was left at Long Tower church purporting to be from the self-styled Bogside Republican Action Group and threatening to 'use force' against the officials and the attendants." (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: BBC has pressed delete on its Freedom of Information website by Alex Singleton. "At the end of 2008, after a Sunday Telegraph investigation into TV Licensing, they cut the responses displayed on their site from 164 down to 16. The deletions included the removal of an FOI request which helped the Sunday Telegraph corroborate evidence that TV Licensing had used fake statistics in millions of letters to members of the public." . . . "All I can assume is that the deletion of hundreds of past FOI requests was a cynical attempt to prevent scrutiny of the BBC. But, although the BBC has made it more difficult for researchers and journalists to investigate TV Licensing, it's also quite encouraging. For those of us who oppose the intimidatory threats in TV Licensing's letters, and the unacceptable implication that TV Licensing has the legal right to enter homes, it's a good indication that the BBC knows it is losing the public debate." (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** Guardian: Civil servants attacked for using anti-terror laws to spy on public by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis. "Controversial surveillance powers employed to fight terrorism and combat crime have been misused by civil servants in undercover 'spying' operations that breach official guidelines, the Guardian has learned." . . . "Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show some government departments and agencies have used these powers incorrectly or without proper controls." . . . "Other organisations which have used surveillance powers include" . . . "the BBC (for TV licensing detection)" (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: Mark Thompson should call a moratorium on TV Licensing mailings by Alex Singleton. "Once again TV Licensing has managed to embarrass the BBC. Today's report by Telegraph journalist Urmee Khan reveals that TV Licensing sent out personal details - including dates of birth and national insurance numbers - to the wrong addresses. It is another addition to a whole catalogue of mistakes by TV Licensing, which has sent out millions of letters containing false statistics and fake signatures. " (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: Fishburn Hedges caused weeks of bad publicity for TV Licensing by Alex Singleton. "This autumn, the Daily Telegraph ran several weeks of letters from readers attacking TV Licensing's mistakes and discourteous, heavy-handed attitude. We would have printed far fewer letters had it not been for the cack-handed influence of a public affairs company called Fishburn Hedges." (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** South Wales Echo: I haven't got a TV, so leave me alone by Lisa Jones. "A grandmother who doesn't own a television has vowed to continue her battle against licensing authorities who she claims are harassing her. Ruth Collishaw says she hasn't owned a television since 1980 but has received demands and visits from television licensing officers since 1991." (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: BBC sends personal details of 1,500 pensioners to wrong address by Urmee Khan "TV Licence renewal documents - including names, dates of birth, first lines of address and National Insurance numbers - were sent to 1,199 residential care homes in December 2008. The details of 16,521 people over the age of 75 were sent out, but many were sent to the wrong care homes. Once notified of the error, 852 of the care homes were contacted by the BBC. At least 1,512 had gone to the wrong place, the BBC has admitted." (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** News of the World: Time for a TV repeat by Davie Provan. "I received a letter from John Hales this week. Thought it might have been a Happy New Year card but not quite. Dear John is head of TV Licensing enforcement and he's coming for me. My property is under investigation he tells me. " (added 01/03/09).
*** NEWS *** The Independent: I'm not giving in to the BBC's hired thugs by Philip Hensher. "I thought I was alone, or at least unusual, in being a victim of the TV authorities' persecution until quite recently." . . . "in Devon [I] have no television set. The licensing authorities simply do not believe this, and have sent me, over the years, a quite incredible number of threatening and unpleasant letters. No amount of explanation seems to turn aside their bullying." . . . "The little letters from the TV Licensing people, arrogant, bullying and quite dishonest, have aroused such fury because they seem to parallel the complacency in the BBC's structure. It seems unlikely that public broadcasting will be funded in this ramshackle way in the near future. The complaints about TV Licensing's tactics are only the first noises of a fierce storm." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** Marketing Week: BBC sacks Proximity for data inaccuracies. "The BBC has sacked direct marketing agency Proximity for sending out inaccurate statistical information in letters relating to TV licensing. The public broadcaster is now re-tendering the business" . . . . "Proximity has either sacked or taken disciplinary action against staff that had worked on the business, but the agency would not confirm if it would be involved in the re-tender process." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** Broadcast Now: BBC drops licence fee direct mail firm by Katherine Rushton. "John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons, Media and Sport Select Committee, has described the TVLA's tactics as outrageous and accused it of behaving 'like the Gestapo'". (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** The Daily Telegraph: BBC allows a new intimidatory letter by Alex Singleton. "The letters sent by TV Licensing are not acceptable. Rather than treat the BBC's customers decently, TV Licensing instead sees them as vermin, sending letters that intimidate and cause distress." . . . "Given that there are many people do not need a television license, and that others who continue to receive letters despite owning a licence, sending this sort of marketing communication is shameful. Readers have been writing to me about the particularly alarming effect that such letters have on the elderly and mentally ill - including suicide. The BBC should put its house in order: TV Licensing must be made to stop." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** The Daily Telegraph: BBC sacks contractor over licence fee warning letters containing false statistics by Alex Singleton. "The corporation took the action after it was forced to admit, following an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph, that 6.6 million inaccurate letters had been sent by its TV Licensing arm over the past three years. " . . . "The letters, which were criticised as 'intimidatory' by a senior MP, warned viewers that they faced being questioned in their homes by enforcement officers if they failed to pay their licence fee. The investigation was launched after one viewer complained that he had received two similar letters from TV Licensing on the same date. One of the letters stated that 33,781 licence fee evaders had been caught in the previous month, the other gave a figure of 69,838." . . . "This newspaper's investigation also found that all of TV Licensing's mass mailings, which were 'signed' at the bottom with the preprinted signatures of named officials, in fact bore fake versions of the individuals' signatures which varied over time. The BBC initially refused to explain the discrepancy, but has now said that fake signatures were routinely used 'to prevent fraud'. John Whittingdale, the chairman of the all-party Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, accused TV Licensing of behaving 'like the Gestapo', employing 'tactics that are outrageous'. He said that TV Licensing should use real signatures and criticised the wording of its letters, which wrongly implied that its employees have police-style legal powers to enter homes and interview suspects." . . . "Mr Whittingdale said: "The tactics used by TV Licensing in their letters are intimidatory and cause genuine distress. Their records are not always correct, but they write letters that assume members of the public are criminals." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** Lytham St Annes Express: Conmen callers on the prowl. "Over the past few weeks, a number of residents have been visited by the men, who approach the houses on foot stating they are TV license inspectors and asking if they can come in to check on the television." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** Broadcast Now: Tories call for licence fee breakdown by Katherine Rushton. "The Conservative Party has called for the TV Licensing Authority (TVLA) to adopt BBC branding and to offer a breakdown of how the licence fee is spent with any requests for payment." . . . "Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust" . . . "Hunt also requested the TVLA to make its link with the BBC much clearer, after an Ofcom report found that just 44% of the population associated the licence fee with the BBC, when asked unprompted. Hunt also welcomed the Trust's ongoing review of the TVLA's activities, which will take into account the tone of its letters to non-payers and its treatment of people who are not required to pay the licence fee. The BBC has traditionally used TVLA as an arm's length collecting operation, in order not to colour the BBC brand with its sometimes aggressive demands for payment." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** The Times: BBC shies from fight with licence rebels by Dipesh Gadher. "Public figures refusing to pay TV the fee are being let off to avoid making them heroes" (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** The York Press: Even fascists have rights by Mike Bentley. "Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, has been complaining bitterly for months in the pages of The Spectator about how the TV licensing storm-troopers, employed by that model of common sense, Capita, refuse to believe that he doesn't have a television at his London flat" . . . "Unfortunately for the Beeb, he's had letters from hundreds of other viewers who have similarly held back their telly tax – seemingly without the fear of prosecution." . . . "This ended up as a full page in the Daily Mail, and that's when you know it's getting serious. The theory is that Capita, aka the BBC, is afraid to prosecute big-name conscientious objectors, fearful of making them martyrs, but is happy to persecute impoverished council estate scrotes. So what would happen if Middle England refused en masse to cough up? The jails couldn't hold them, even if the political will was there to further criminalise the voting classes. This could get very interesting." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** Daily Star: Beeb in panic over "dump the fee" bid by Jess Bauldry. "BBC chiefs were panicking last night over a celebrity-led rebellion against paying the licence fee." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** The Daily Mail: Celebrities join BBC backlash after Brand and Ross scandal as more and more ask 'why SHOULD we pay licence fee'? by Paul Revoir. "A growing number of public figures are joining a backlash against the BBC licence fee." . . . "there had already been widespread discontent over the threatening behaviour of licence-fee collectors" . . . "An array of influential names are now threatening to withhold their fee out of principal." . . . "It has been alleged that the corporation fears creating a group of licence fee 'martyrs' if it enters into high-profile prosecutions of well-known faces" . . . . "Many ordinary members of the public say they have been the victim of 'bullyboy' tactics." (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** The People: Blind Michael charged £250 for TV licence.. Even though he doesn't have a TV by Eddie Fitzmaurice. "Blind Michael Bailey was charged more than £250 in TV licence fees - even though he does not own a telly." . . . "He learned he should only pay HALF the £139.59 for a colour licence. But instead of refunding him several years of fees - around £250 - licensing bosses wouldn't budge. Michael said: 'They told me I couldn't have the money back unless I provided the old licences for all four years. I explained that would be hard to lay my hands on them, as I am blind and live on my own. I sent my bank statements showing the licence payment and the receipt for my sound receiver but they said it was not good enough.'" (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** The Daily Telegraph: Dentist sent 90 letters claiming he failed to pay TV licence by Alex Singleton. "Dr Nigel Knott received the letters because TV Licensing, which is contracted by the BBC, had been holding a number of slight variations on his address." . . . "Dr Knott claims that the letters amount to 'deception and intimidation' and objects to notices on the front of some of the envelopes." . . . "He said: "Saying 'notice of impending action' on the front of the envelope is not something I want the postman to read. It impugns my professional reputation." . . . "'This organisation needs to be called to heel. It's outrageous that the cost of the licence fee has been wasted in sending me all these letters.'" . . . "He said that the BBC 'wouldn't dare writing these sorts of letters if its logo appeared on them.'" . . . "Dr Knott added that the organisation 'is totally out of control', running a database 'that's stuck in a feudal state' and is 'concerned solely with assuming people are criminals'. 'Several of the letters implied that TV Licensing staff had police-style powers, despite their staff having no such rights'" (added 20/12/08).
*** NEWS *** Brand Republic: BBC's TV detecting operation must be secret, rules information watchdog by Dan Leahul. "The Information Commissioner's Office has ruled that the BBC does not have to reveal information about its TV detection operation, including how many detector vans it has, to avoid damaging the public's perception of its effectiveness." (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** This is Nottingham: Court info sent to wrong address "A stunned householder said he couldn't believe it when he received a bundle of court summonses in the post - papers containing other people's personal details. The package was supposed to go to Nottingham Magistrates' Court. Instead it was sent to Stuart Zabinec's home in Harewood Avenue, Bulwell. Inside were summonses for 51 people who had not paid their TV licence. They included the names, addresses, dates of birth and in some cases employment details for the defendants, who all had to appear at court on December 16." (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** Financial Mail: 'Menacing' TV licence adverts face axe by Jon Rees. "Menacing commercials showing TV licensing authorities tracking down evaders may become a thing of the past following a review of the licence fee by the BBC Trust. " (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** The Daily Telgraph: Television licence fee to be reviewed over bullying claims by Nicole Martin. "Faced with accusations of harassment, the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, will investigate whether the methods employed to gather the £139.50 fee are 'efficient, appropriate and proportionate'. The public consultation follows complaints that people who do not even own a television set are receiving threatening letters from the organisation responsible for collection the fee. " (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** The Times: BBC licence fee collection to come under public scrutiny by Dan Sabbagh. " To discourage evasion, TV Licensing, the body that collects the fee, uses a marketing campaign in which a menacing voiceover tells viewers that every household in the country is monitored for compliance with the slogan that "It's all in the database". Jocelyn Hay, from the Voice of the Viewer and Listener, a media pressure group, said: "The tone of the advertising is very intimidating". People who do not own a television set - about 2 per cent of households - may receive strongly worded letters telling them they have not paid. Mr Whittingdale said: "If you think the advertising is aggressive, you should read the letters that are sent to people without a television. They behave like the Gestapo." (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** The Guardian: BBC looks at whether TV licence reminders strike right tone by Owen Gibson. "A recent Ipsos Mori survey for MediaGuardian showed that support for the licence fee appeared to be less widespread than the BBC has claimed. " (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** inthenews.co.uk: BBC probes TV licence after 'heavy-handed' complaints "Conservative MP Gary Streeter tabled an early-day motion in parliament in 2007 which attacked the approach taken to ensuring that the one million Britons who do not own a TV prove their "non-use". And fellow Tory David MacLean criticised advertisement methods for the licence - which recently featured a helicopter bearing down on a street, followed by the legend: "Your town, your street, your home... it is all in our database."" (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** Daily Mail: Noel Edmonds: "I won't pay TV licence because of 'threatening' BBC adverts" by James Tapper. "Noel Edmonds is refusing to pay his television licence fee in protest at 'threatening' BBC adverts promising to catch evaders." . . . "Edmonds accused the BBC of wanting to 'badger, hector and threaten people' over the £139.50 charge in its commercials and poster adverts, which warn viewers it is 'impossible to hide'." (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** Filey Mercury: Police alert over bogus officials "Police are asking householders to be on their guard after bogus officials were found to be operating in Filey. The latest spate of incidents has involved people claiming to be from the TV licensing company trying to gain access to residents' homes. The fraudsters have been asking to see to people's TV licences and trying to obtain their bank details." (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** The Guardian: Has the sleeping dog been given a licence to bark? "[P]erhaps most worrying of all: is it an appropriate way of funding the BBC? Only just over half of those polled and expressing a view thought it was. These findings appear not only to contradict the findings of much previous research in this field, but also represent a pretty fundamental challenge to the long-standing view that the licence fee (and by implication the BBC itself) is the subject of a broad consensus of public support." (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** The Daily Mail: 53% say BBC is not good value for money in new poll that threatens future of licence fee by Paul Revoir. "Nearly half of the public think the BBC does not represent good value for money, a survey has revealed. And many admit they have become disillusioned with the corporation's failure to produce enough distinctive programming. " (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** The Sun: John Laing feels treated like a criminal for having no TV by Ian Robson. "John, 68, said he felt bullied when a letter dropped on his doormat saying he faced being interviewed under caution by its enforcement division." . . . "It's as if they are treating me as a criminal because I don't have a TV set. "'They can't get it into their heads that I don't have a license for the very simple reason that I don't need one. The assumption was that I must be breaking the law.'" (added 2/11/08).
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: BBC to investigate bully tactics for television licence collection by Tom Peterkin. "The BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, has called for the inquiry amid complaints about the heavy handed approach to licence collection taken by TV Licensing" . . . "Some people have reported receiving dozens of threatening letters from TV Licensing even though they do not have a television set." . . . "Last year Gary Streeter, the Tory MP for South West Devon, put down an early day motion, signed by 60 MPs, objecting to the behaviour of TV Licensing." . . . " Mr Streeter said: 'This is a serious matter. A surprising number of people - particularly elderly people - don't have a television and I don't see why they should be bullied and harassed in that way.'" David Maclean, the Tory MP for Penrith and The Border, said the system was 'shambolic' adding: 'The BBC can't hide behind this. TV Licensing is acting under their instructions as a contractor and it is time to call the dogs off.'" (added 13/07/08).
*** NEWS *** Southern Reporter: TV Licensing comes under fire after OAPS receive court threats by Mark Inchley. "Elderly television viewers have been left angered and distressed after receiving threatening letters and even doorstep visits from enforcement officers for non-payment of the BBC licence fee, despite being exempt from the charge because of their age." . . . "Borders MP [Michael Moore] has hit out at TV Licensing for sending what he sees as heavy-handed and distressing payment demands to pensioners." . . . "He said: 'TV Licensing seems to completely disregard the notion of "innocent until proven guilty". Rather than continually harassing these individuals with ever more threatening letters, which is a total waste of time, effort and money, they should be rethinking their strategy and focusing on the people who are genuinely trying to avoid paying. Their tactics are causing a great deal of anxiety and distress, and I sincerely hope they will urgently rethink their entire approach.'" (added 13/07/08).
*** NEWS *** Daily Mail: TV licence fee collectors under investigation over 'bully-boy' tactics on people with no sets by Paul Revoir. "Stung by accusations that bully-boy measures are often employed on innocent people, the BBC Trust will investigate whether procedures are 'appropriate and proportionate'." . . . "The corporation's governing body has acted after scores complained about being harassed. Some have received dozens of threatening letters even though they do not own a set." . . . " [Gary Streeter] MP for Devon South West said: 'I don't see why you should have to prove a negative. If you don't have a TV set, I don't see why you should have to answer these letters.'" (added 13/07/08).
*** NEWS *** Belfast Telegraph Manhunt for TV licence offender by Deborah McAleese "A prisoner at the centre of a high-profile manhunt after he escaped from police custody last week has revealed that the dramatic six-hour chase was over an unpaid TV licence." (added 22/06/08).
*** NEWS *** Glasgow Evening Times: Woman gets TV licence bill for her dead husband by Catriona Stewart "Helen Weir's husband James passed away five years ago. But last week the great-grandmother received a demand from TV Licensing that she pay £139 on her husband's behalf. The 71-year-old, from Bridgeton, Glasgow, was doubly confused as she already has a TV Licence for her home in her own name." . . . "'I told the television licence people when my husband died and you would think that would be enough.'" . . . "'I expected that TV Licensing would have written to apologise or at least admit their error by now but I haven't heard anything yet.'" (added 22/06/08).
*** NEWS *** The Mail on Sunday: BBC herald the end of the television set with live broadcasts over the internet by Paul Revior. "While the BBC claims people watching programmes via their computers will still be liable for the annual charge, many say it will be powerless to enforce this on the internet. Others fear those who carry on paying their licence fee to watch shows on TV, will end of subsidising those who go on-line to avoid the payment." . . . "Tory MP Philip Davies, who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee, said: 'This seems to be the beginning of the end of the licence fee without a shadow of a doubt'" . . . "'it's completely impractical and unenforceable.'" (added 22/06/08).
*** NEWS *** The Independent: Which? names 30 firms in its 'hall of shame' "Banks, utility firms and government agencies are scooping millions of pounds each year from their customer helplines" . . . "More than 30 organisations were named in the Which? "hall of shame", including British Gas, Barclays and Tiscali, as well as the Government's [sic] TV Licensing and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)." (added 22/06/08).
*** NEWS *** This is Money/Daily Mail: Revealed: Worst high-rate helpline culprits by Paul Sims "Customers who call helplines are being ripped off by premium rate phone charges, according to the consumer group Which?" ... "A spokesman for TV Licensing said: 'If we provided free phone calls, less money would go to BBC programmes and services.'" . . . "The worst culprits (average cost of 10-minute call)" . . . [TV Licensing's call costs:] 0844 (50p), 0845 (60p)." (added 22/06/08).
*** NEWS *** Wigan Today: Police threat over £1 debt by Chris Wilkinson "A pensioner has hit out at the TV Licensing authority for what he says is the heavy-handed way they went about claiming a £1 debt. Robert Halliwell, 74, of Kingsway, Higher Ince, recieved a letter threatening him with a visit from the police if he did not pay what he owed - a sum which was not disclosed - despite having paid for his licence" (added 22/06/08).
*** NEWS *** Manchester Evening News: Dead man fined over TV licence. "A man was fined for not having a TV licence —six weeks after he died." (added 9/2/08)
*** NEWS *** Rochdale Observer: Dead man fined by Bethan Dorsett. "A Kirkholt man has been fined for not having a TV licence – even though he is dead." (added 9/2/08)
*** NEWS *** Daily Post: TV licence shock by Steve Bagnall. "A grieving widow hit out at TV licensing chiefs yesterday after they prosecuted her dead husband. Maureen Davies, 47, was stunned to learn a court had fined her husband £180 in his absence for not having a licence, five months after his death. The widow, of Townhill, Swansea, South Wales, claims she was all the more angry because their home had a valid TV licence, in her name. She claims the error should never have happened because she has repeatedly informed TV licensing officers of their mistake." (added 20/10/07)
*** NEWS *** Chester Chronicle: Homeowner blasts TV licence 'sadists' by Richard Fletcher. "A housebuyer pushed open the door to his brand new home and found almost two years worth of threatening letters from TV Licensing. Dr Ron McCulloch, of Seller Street, Chester, opened more than 20 letters, many of which were identical, despite being the first person to move into the flat in the new complex." . . . "'I couldn't believe it - the apartment was vacant and there was no owner. Bear in mind I've just turned 65. Anyone in their 70s would be intimidated. It was rather hostile.'" (added 20/10/07)
*** NEWS *** Shropshire Star: Sell BBC and give back fee – MP by John Hipwood. "Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard has called for the BBC to be broken up and sold off and for the £135 licence fee to be refunded. The Tory MP urged the Government last night to privatise the state broadcasting corporation following a series of humiliations and mistakes for which no one has paid the price." . . . "Mr Pritchard said the Metropolitan Police should investigate allegations of 'serial deceit and mass deception', adding: 'I cannot ignore the irony that TV licence-fee dodgers are more likely to face a custodial sentence than any BBC employee who might subsequently be convicted of deception or fraud.'" (added 20/10/07)
*** NEWS *** The Independent on Sunday: People without TVs 'intimidated' by licence reminders by Martin Hickman. "MPs have finally raised the matter in Parliament with a Commons motion that demands an end to such letters – and criticises the outsourcing company Capita." . . . "Early Day Motion 1289 says householders receive 'intimidating' letters without any evidence that they own a television, and refers to 'many constantly reported cases of non-television owners being distressed by such threatening letters'." . . . "Gary Streeter, the MP for Devon South West, tabled the motion after being contacted by a constituent, Derek Cheesbrough, who has received 48 letters from TV Licensing, which he has refused to answer. 'The duress and oppression they inflict on innocent citizens, who often live alone, is causing widespread mental worry,' complained Mr Cheesbrough" . . . "Mr Streeter, whose motion has been signed by 54 MPs, said: 'I think that he's got a very good case. I don't think this should be happening.'" (added 24/06/07)
*** NEWS *** Belfast Telegraph: Licence threat student with no TV by Sam McBride. "An Ulster man has hit back at a series of 'threatening' letters from TV Licensing claiming he is in danger of prosecution for not having a licence – even though he doesn't even own a television." . . . " Timothy Patterson (22) a second year computer science student at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, said the frequent letters made him feel intimidated. "I find it quite threatening, especially when they say 'the consequences of such an investigation can be serious'," Mr Patterson said." . . . "A Lithuanian man living in Newtownabbey also said he was confused by the letters, as he only used his television set to watch DVDs – something he does not require a licence for." (added 24/06/07)
*** NEWS *** SurreyOnline: Man angry at cost of TV licence sent death note in post by Mhairi Macfarlane. "A television viewer was so incensed at the cost of his TV licence that he sent a death threat to the Government department that issued it." (added 24/06/07)
*** NEWS *** Press Dispensary: Costs Mount in Texas Ambassador's TV Licence Court Battle "TV Licensing officials have so far run up a GBP £27,000 bill in their long running legal battle with a London-based, Texan-born film maker, Robert Hertner, who took them to court after insisting he is not liable for the TV license tax" . . . "Mr Hertner alleges that TV Licensing breached court rules on February 16 this year when it sent two inspectors to his flat while with the civil case still active and awaiting an appeal hearing by the European Court of Human Rights." (added 30/03/07)
*** NEWS *** 4NI: Woman injured in 'mail bomb' blast "The woman was injured by what is believed have been a letter bomb which was found in the Capita building in Victoria Street." . . . "Capita is responsible for managing a number of services for the government, including the congestion charge in London and collecting revenue from TV licensing." (added 30/03/07)
*** NEWS *** The Times: The Andrew Davidson Interview: Capita bats away the charges "Aldridge resigned last year, in another press stink, after admitting he had made a personal loan to the Labour party – not a smart move when Capita gets half its turnover from the public sector." (added 03/02/07)
*** NEWS *** The Daily Telegraph: From brickbats to matchstick cats by Simon Goodley "Rod Aldridge, former Capita boss, has another job – chairman of The Lowry after the death of Charles Levison. The Salford gallery views the appointment as a coup." . . . "It leaves no room to talk about another part of his career – being embroiled in the cash-for-peerages scandal and quitting Capita last year after claims his £1m loan to the Labour Party landed the group government contracts. At the time he said any such claims were 'entirely spurious'." (added 03/02/07)
*** NEWS *** BBC News: Unveiled – Labour names Lenders "Labour has published details of the almost £14m in secret loans from wealthy businessmen. The list was unveiled after it emerged that some of the lenders were later recommended for peerages." . . . "Rod Aldridge – £1m Executive chairman of IT support firm Capita [currently contracted by the BBC to run TV Licensing™], which has won millions of pounds worth of public contracts. He said the borrowing was at commercial rates, adding that it was a 'personal decision on my part'." (added 03/02/07)
*** NEWS *** The Sun: TV licence should be for TV by George Pascoe-Watson "GRUMPY Beeb bosses have a Bloody Big Cheek moaning about the size of their Government handout for the next six years. The billions they are guaranteed will still make life as cosy as a pair of old slippers. Their state funding should have been SLASHED to force them to compete in the real world – or close down." . . . " Which other firm could survive sending costs sky high while losing customers?" . . . "All of the BBC's rivals are united by one feature – NONE gets a single penny piece from taxpayers. They exist because they have taken a huge gamble with private cash and ensured efficiently-made and entertaining shows are the order of the day." (added 21/01/07)
*** NEWS *** Evening Standard: TV licensing authority try to collect fees from cemetry 'residents'. "About 225,000 people are buried in Brompton Cemetery, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Bernard Levin, and whatever the realities of the afterlife it is moderately certain that none of them spends much time watching television. That, however, did not stop the TV licensing authority from sending the residents a threatening letter warning that they would be in line for a £1,000 fine if they do not buy a £131.50 licence." (added 23/12/06)
*** NEWS *** The Register: TV Licensing abandons case against TV owner "A former prisoner at the forefront of prison law advocacy has overturned a TV licensing conviction on appeal. John Hirst said he used his television only for watching videos, DVDs and CCTV footage of his own house but was found 'technically guilty'." . . . " Despite the fact that Hirst was discharged, he took the appeal on a point of principle. 'The TV Licencing Authority assume if you say that you don't watch your TV for live broadcasts you're a liar,' Hirst told OUT-LAW Radio. 'It's still down to the prosecution to prove guilt, not for the assumption to be there that you are guilty and you need to prove innocence. 'As far as I am concerned there is nothing such as 'technically guilty' in English law, you are either innocent or you are guilty,' he said.'" (added 23/12/06)
*** NEWS *** Bloomberg: Europe's Television Taxes Can't Survive Internet by Matthew Lynn " Browsing for a snazzy, new personal computer that allows you to watch and record television shows? Then watch out. In much of Europe, you might be about to commit a criminal offence. In countries such as Germany, the U.K. and Sweden, governments are imposing taxes on the most up-to-date computers and cellular phones. Even by the standards of overregulated, overtaxed Europe, that is crazy. The most elementary economics course teaches that if you tax something, you reduce the demand for it. Either Europe turns itself into a technological backwater, or else the TV taxes will have to be abolished." . . . "You can't hope to hold the line against technology. Computing is changing broadcasting fundamentally. Not only can you watch broadcasts on a range of different devices. You can also watch programs from just about anywhere. To take the U.K. example, why should British taxpayers be paying 3 billion pounds a year to create Web sites, radio and television that can now be enjoyed by anyone in the world?" . . . " TV taxes look about as sensible as the levies the U.K. government used to impose on windows in the 17th and 18th centuries. Not surprisingly, the British responded by bricking up their windows. Now people may respond by getting rid of some high-tech devices. What good will that do?" (added 05/08/06)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: Yesterday in Parliament "The government is to press the BBC to stop TV licensing officials hounding people who do not own a television. Creative industries minister Shaun Woodward pledged to raise concerns about letters sent by inspectors arriving in envelopes suggesting the recipient is breaking the law and the practice of regularly contacting homes without a TV. But he insisted that with half of claims not to own a television being found to be false, it was now necessary for inspectors to visit everyone using the explanation to avoid paying a licence." (added 05/08/06)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: It's TV, but not as we know it "The European Commission and the UK are once again set on a collision course" . . . "[t]hat will put stress on the UK's TV licence, which is already undergoing frantic reinterpretation as a result of internet technology" (added 05/08/06)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: Yesterday in Parliament — TV Licenses. "Women fleeing domestic abuse are being unfairly treated by the TV licensing system which gives concessions to hotels while targeting refuge centres for fines" (added 20/05/06)
*** NEWS *** MedialBulletin: Neophile Beeb is risking licence fee by Raymond Snoddy "It will be really interesting when the first prosecution is mounted against someone for illicitly watching BBC News 24 on their mobile phone. Even if such prosecutions do actually stick - a moot point in itself - the real problem would be one of detection. " . . . "The obvious problem is that both computers and mobile phones have primary functions that have nothing to do with watching television. The mischievous will take delight in using them to avoid paying the licence fee. Hackers are already avoiding it and the ongoing campaign to ensure students pay their licence fee could gradually be undermined." (added 08/04/06)
*** NEWS *** Guernsey Press and Star: TV licence fee law 'does not technically exist' by Tom Bradshaw "THE island's TV licensing fees are collected under a historic legal loophole rather than an official Guernsey law. The BBC licensing authority maintains that islanders' fees are collected under the Communications (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Order, 2004, which binds the Bailiwick to the UK's Communications Act 2003. But technically, such a law does not exist." (added 08/04/06)
*** NEWS *** Silicon.Com: Capita chairman made £1m loan to Labour Party by Andy McCue "The list shows Capita chairman Rod Aldridge gave the Labour Party a commercial loan of £1m. Aldridge's donation has come under scrutiny in the media because Capita runs many high-profile government IT projects, including the London Congestion Charging scheme, TV licensing and the Criminal Records Bureau." (added 08/04/06)
*** NEWS *** Mail on Sunday: Got a licence for that mobile? by Simon Fluendy "[TV Licensing] are warning that anyone caught watching streamed programmes over the internet or on their phone without a licence will face the same £1,000 fine" . . . "The rules apply to people watching any broadcaster's programmes - not just the BBC's. And licensing authorities warn that it could even affect foreign businessmen travelling into Britain who use laptops to catch 'streamed' programmes from anywhere in the world.". . . "'It does not matter where the programme is being broadcast from. If you are watching live TV in Britain, you need a licence,' said a TV Licensing spokesman." . . . "Officials are so serious about enforcing the rules that mobile phone and computer shops are passing on personal details about customers - just in case they start watching programmes on their 3G handsets or via broadband." [Editorial comment: I understand this means that TV Licensing are saying that the licence no longer applies solely to the the use of a television receiver for the reception of broadcasts from UK broadcasters but is required for the use of any device that is used to receive any broadcast from anywhere – even if that broadcaster is not in the UK and has nothing to do with the BBC, and where no TV tuner is involved, at all. That is, regardless of where the broadcast originated, what medium was used to convey it, or what was used to receive it – the BBC must still be paid.] (added 19/02/06)
*** NEWS *** Guernsey Press and Star: 'As long as it's a tax, I won't buy a TV licence' by Will Wachtmeister "The Housing minister announced yesterday that he would not pay for his TV licence as long as the charge was classified as a tax." . . . "'I will simply refuse to pay it until it is clarified whether or not it is a service charge' . . . "he stopped short from calling on other residents in the Bailiwick to do the same. 'As a minister, it would be irresponsible for me to do that but I will say to them that it is a stand that is worth taking. " . . . "The UK's Office of National Statistics explained that it had reclassified the former service charge because the TV licence fitted more closely with its definition of a tax. But a spokesman for the quango did not know where this left the independent fiscal status of Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man but pointed instead to a paragraph in the reclassification report that said: 'The television licence is also required in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.'" (added 11/02/06)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: Now it's the TV cops who are in the dock by Rupert Jones "Could the TV licence police have met their match in Robert Hertner, the self-styled Texan ambassador to Britain? Mr Hertner, a Texas-born, London-based writer and filmmaker, is seeking up to £4.5m in damages in a lawsuit against TV Licensing and Capita, the company which collects the licence fee." (added 15/10/05)
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: 0870 helplines number makes millions for state agencies by David Derbyshire. "Although 0870 numbers are mistakenly described as 'national rate', they cost twice as much to call as a 01 or 02 number. Unlike conventional phone numbers, the owners can take a share of the revenue generated." ... "TV Licensing, which contracts out its call centres to Capita Business Services, said its 0870 number was called by seven million people last year. A spokesman said: 'The BBC and TV Licensing do not receive any profit from these calls although the national rate numbers help TV Licensing to keep the costs of collection down and maximise licence fee revenue.'". Read more about 0870 numbers here: Say NO to 0870 (updated 01/10/05)
*** NEWS *** The Scotsman: Come on BBC, get real over TV licence – profit and loss by Jim Stanton. "while Auntie is happy to provide us with figures on offenders and sums involved, I can't ever recall them providing any stats on how much they spend to recoup a single dodger licence fee, or anything that tells us how many licence-less people hauled before the courts get slapped with the maximum £1000 fine - I'd guess none." (added 03/09/05)
*** NEWS *** Yorkshire Post: Blunder over cancer victim angers carer by Joanne Ginley. "Dorothy Hunter wrote to the TV licensing authorities to tell them of the death of her close friend Mark Stott and apply for a rebate on the time left to run on his licence." ... "Soon after notifying TV Licensing of his death, a letter was sent – to Mr Stott – responding to the rebate query. She thought this was a simple error and decided not to complain." ... [she has now] "spoken of her shock after receiving a cheque made out to 'Mrs D Cremated'".(added 23/07/05)
*** NEWS *** Leeds Today: TV Licensing in rebate apology – "clerical error" adds to grief for friend by Katie Baldwin. "A woman grieving for a close friend has been left distressed after TV Licensing sent a rebate to 'Mrs D Cremated.'". (added 23/07/05)
*** NEWS *** The Register: TV licence needed for TV-to-mobile services by Tim Richardson. "According to a Green Paper published in March the licence fee could be replaced by a tax on having a PC instead of owning a TV." (added 23/07/05)
*** NEWS *** The Times: Computer tax set to replace TV licence fee by Adam Sherwin and Dan Sabbagh. "THE BBC licence fee should be replaced by a tax on the ownership of a personal computer instead of a television, ministers said yesterday." (added 05/03/05)
*** NEWS *** The Scotsman: Call to decriminalise non-payment of licence fee. "the Culture, Media and Sport Committee said in its first report on the future of the BBC. The BBC should stop "menacing" the public with heavy-handed adverts warning of the consequences of not owning a licence. Instead it should regard the money it gets from licence payers as a "privilege'". (added 09/01/05)
*** NEWS *** Lincolnshire Echo: TV turmoil of Harold, 90. "Fed-up Harold Answer (90) today told how he had been hounded by debt collectors demanding he pay his TV licence. The pensioner has been bombarded with letters and had three visits from licensing officials. In 12 months he has received 10 letters threatening legal action if he failed to pay the £121 fee. Yet Mr Answer has always had a TV licence and has been eligible for a free one for more than 15 years. " (added 25/09/04)
*** NEWS *** The Telegraph: Majority say the BBC is not giving value for money. "Less than half the public think the BBC provides value for money, according to a Government study." ... "A 'significant minority' questioned in the survey also believed that the licence fee should be abolished." (added 24/07/04)
*** NEWS *** The Scotsman: So is it time to switch off the licence to bill? by Ian Johnston. (added 3/04/04)
*** NEWS *** dotJOURNALISM: TV debate on BBC funding continues online by Jemima Kiss. " A BBC programme on the future and purpose of the corporation triggered a massive public response at the weekend as viewers took advantage of the BBC's online feedback system." (added 14/03/04)
*** NEWS *** BBC News: Majority 'want change to TV fee'. Almost 70% of people in the UK want changes to the way the BBC is funded, according to an ICM poll for Panorama. Poll results from ICM may be found here. [Note: this poll does not consider the option of direct-grant funding or sponsorship.] (updated 14/03/04)
*** NEWS *** dotJOURNALISM: BBCi 'threatens' local papers. "This was an unjustified use of licence fee money," ... "It distorted unfairly local media markets to the public detriment." (added 6/03/04)
*** NEWS *** MediaWeek: Bid for public's view brings small response. "According to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, the campaign inviting the public to have its say on the role of the BBC and how it should be run has prompted just 2,000 responses – which equals 0.0047% of the adult population of the UK." (added 6/03/04)
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: Media experts urge radical overhaul for 'failing' BBC by Tom Leonard. "The BBC is failing in its public service remit and should be radically overhauled, a panel of media experts will say today." ... "'contestable funding', a system which has already proved successful in New Zealand, would be a more equitable, accountable and transparent alternative to the licence fee. (added 28/02/04)
*** NEWS *** The Sunday Times: Here's another apology from the BBC by Maurice Chittenden and Nicholas Hellen. "This month, an inquiry chaired by David Elstein, the former chief executive of Channel 5, will publish recommendations that the licence fee, which rises to £121 a year in April, should be scrapped." ... "In future, the inquiry will say, purely public service broadcasting should be funded by tax and administered by a new public broadcasting authority" (added 21/02/04)
*** NEWS *** The Times. Tune in, drop out: the BBC must ditch its commercial itch by Camilla Cavendish. "the more commercial the BBC has become, and the less attention it pays to anything that can be described as public service broadcasting, the harder it is to justify the licence fee" (added 14/02/04)
*** NEWS *** Ananova: An ICM poll finds that 56% of the population believe they should not have to pay a licence fee. This figure is 40% up on a similar poll in October. (added 07/02/04)
*** NEWS *** The Scotsman: Time to Overhaul the Licence Fee by Jamie Cowling, a research fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research. "Unlike other public services, such as health or education, the BBC is funded by a poll tax..." (added 17/01/04)
*** NEWS *** epxNews: Link TV Licence with Income Tax Says Think Tank by Chris Smith. "A think tank close to the government has called for radical changes to the way the BBC is paid for and run. The Institute for Public Policy Research has called for a radical reform of the BBC licence fee that would link it to income and would be collected by the Inland Revenue." Jamie Cowling: "the licence fee should come from income tax paid by individuals and not a 'poll tax' paid per household" (added 17/01/04)
*** NEWS *** RTE: A violent protest in Larne (Northern Ireland). (added 24/12/03)
*** NEWS *** Telegraph: Tories promise to halve TV licence. Under plans being drawn up by John Whittingdale, the shadow culture secretary, the BBC's output would be reduced to purely public service broadcasts. "I don't believe that the BBC should be receiving £2.7 billion for eight TV channels and 12 radio stations." (added 27/09/03)
*** NEWS *** Telegraph: Will the BBC be smiling for long? Allies of the state-run broadcaster are hard to find as enemies close in, report Tom Leonard and Matt Born. (added 30/08/03)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: BSkyB chief launches attack on licence fee. The chief executive of BSkyB will today fire a powerful missile at the vulnerable underbelly of the BBC, with a claim that most viewers oppose the licence fee and a call to raise a "red flag" over the corporation's "expansionary ambitions". (added 23/8/03)
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: I may be standing in the dock, but it is the BBC that is on trial By Jonathan Miller. "the lawfulness of the licence fee has expired, without anyone noticing". (added 19/07/03)
*** NEWS *** The Sun: "Tracking down licence dodgers is an industry in itself. More than 1,200 staff are employed at the TV Licensing Contact Centre in Bristol, and over 500 throughout the UK." (added 31/05/03)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: Dyke critic [David Cox] joins Tories' licence fee committee. Cox: "At least Margaret Thatcher's poll tax paid for vital public services. This surviving poll tax essentially funds entertainment". (added 24/05/03)
*** NEWS *** BBC News: Tories ponder BBC's future. Culture spokesman John Whittingdale: "difficult to justify the current arrangement of the licence fee which he said faced growing public opposition." ... "I see the BBC's raison d'etre as a public service broadcaster - it should not be replicating a large amount of the output seen on other channels." ... said he objected to the compulsory way the BBC was funded, saying revenues of £2.5bn raised by the licence fee were "an extremely large amount of public money". (added 10/05/03)
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: TV licence should be scrapped, says poll. The BBC licence fee can no longer be justified in the age of multi-channel television, according to a poll for The Daily Telegraph. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said the £112 licence fee should be abolished given that more than half the households in Britain have satellite or cable television. (added 28/12/02)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: Kill the licence fee, says New Statesman. Freelance television producer David Cox accuses the BBC of "gross inefficiency and waste", lambasting "the channelling of so much spending through an unaccountable, self-regulating state dinosaur". Also Cox's article from the New Statesman (added 26/12/02)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: Channel 4 News anchor, Jon Snow questions 'artificial' licence fee has warned that the corporation might face serious problems in the future unless the issue of the BBC's licence income is addressed. And he was backed up by the Telegraph's editor, Charles Moore, who said he thinks there will be a revolt amongst viewers against the licence fee when it comes up for renewal in 2006. Moore branded the BBC a "very arrogant organisation". (added 26/12/02)
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: Don't pay TV licence fee, campaigners urge viewers by Edmund Conway. "A former Soviet dissident launched a campaign of civil disobedience yesterday by urging television viewers not to pay their licence fee, calling it a 'medieval arrangement'.
*** NEWS *** www.tvlicensing.biz: Sunday Times journalist Jonathan Miller challenges TV Licensing on breach of the Human Rights Act of 1998. (added 26/12/02)
*** NEWS *** Guardian: BBC's licence to bill by Kip Meek. (added 8/3/03)
*** NEWS *** Ananova: Error leads to thousands being sent TV licence demands. A mix up led to around 800,000 [eight-hundred thousand] people being wrongfully threatened with prosecution for not paying their television licence.
*** NEWS *** Daily Telegraph: The BBC's licence fee is a poll tax – pull the plug by Stephen Robinson. "Imagine for a moment that you went to your local newsagent to buy your preferred newspaper. You might need it for its superior television listings, or its comprehensive stock prices, or its peerless weather forecasts. Then imagine being told that the Government had decreed that you could only buy your newspaper if you also paid for the Daily Mirror, the Sun and Hello!"
*** NEWS *** The Times – (17th February 1993). TV licence authority loses court case by Gillian Bowditch. "A man who has been pestered to buy a television licence for 16 years, in spite of never owning a television, won a victory over the licensing authority"
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davefaq.com: "'I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's one called brightness, but it doesn't work.' — Eugene P. Gallagher" (added 08/04/07)
EnergyGrid Alternative Media: TV Licensing Guilty of Harassment. "TV Licensing is guilty of harassment and intimidation by assuming that those without TV licenses are lawbreakers. But many are ordinary people who swapped their TV for a real LIFE." (added 08/04/07)
Trash your TV! "Your complete guide to a TV-free lifestyle" (added 10/04/05)
Escape your Television – Diary of an Addict "I'm a normal guy who's fed up with having my life 'experiences' being force fed as nauseous lumps of television programming just because it's a social requirement. I refuse to believe I can't live without it and plan to find out what will happen when I switch it off." (added 12/03/05)
TV B-Gone from Cornfield Electronics: a one-button remote-control that turns off almost any television. (added 08/01/05)
Kill Your Television: Ron Kaufman's anti-TV site.
Pravda: "Weekly, Americans spend 28 hours watching other people's (fake people's) lives on television. That's 60 days a year, 24 hours a day." (added 24/12/03)
White Dot: White Dot is the international campaign against television, based in Chicago and Brighton. We seek to answer that ridiculous question: "What do you do if you don't watch TV?"
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UK Parliament and Government links
Department for Culture, Media and Sport: Freedom of Information Request — BBC Funding and TV Licensing - Case 56427. Includes letter from Shaun Woodward MP to Michael Grade (BBC chairman) and from James Purnell MP to Dr Andrew Murrison MP. (added 22/06/08).
Broadcasting (Television Licence Fee Abolition) Bill 2007-08: Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill) introduced by Christopher Chope. Second reading on 17/10/08. (added 22/06/08).
10 DOWNING STREET: E-Petition. "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish the UK TV licence and permit advertising and other means of finance generation to the BBC. Independent economic research analysis and investigations by consumer protection organisations such as the National Consumers Council have consistently concluded, for many years, that the UK TV licence is a levy which is regressive in its financial impact on the poor. This gross iniquity is perpetuated in essence by the UK Government upon its most vulnerable citizens. This situation is even more outrageous in an age when the poor may receive only 5 terrestial TV channels, for which the TV licence contributes to the cost of only BBC output, yet the more wealthy within the UK tend to enjoy dozens, or even hundreds of digital or satellite TV channels at comparatively little extra cost to them per channel. This petition accordingly urges the Government to abolish the UK TV licence and allow the BBC to make use of all lawful, reasonable, modern means of capital and revenue generation including share issues, property equity stakes and loans and advertising on BBC TV, radio and internet broadcasts." (added: 28/10/07)
10 DOWNING STREET: E-Petition. "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop the TV Licensing Authority threatening those who have no television. TV Licensing sends regular accusatory and threatening letters to all who have no licence. However, many people have no licence because they have no television reception. We petition the Prime Minister to support the right of those who do not receive television signals to do so without being hounded." (added: 23/12/06)
Westminster Hall debates – Television Licence Agents. Mark Todd , Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire: "I wish to raise the issue of how the licensing authorities deal with those who choose not to own a television—or own one, but only to play videotapes or DVDs, not to receive broadcast material". This speech is also available from Hansard (added 05/08/06)
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Blogs that mention dealings with TV Licensing™
Use G o o g l e to search for references to "TV Licensing" in Blogs. (added 28/10/06).
Watchkeeper's Log: Many interesting articles here. 'The Heather Case' in particular, giving some detail of the subsequent action in court and Mr Heather's defence presented by Lewis Crayem-Holloway of Palmers Criminal Defence Solicitors, Deal, Kent. (added 21/10/12).
Andrew Savory: "The BBC truly delivers world-class productions across a range of media. I think it's terrific value for money and so I gladly pay the £145.50 annual fee. So it's bitterly disappointing that the BBC's glorious reputation and legacy is tainted here in the UK by the thuggish and threatening behaviour of the TV license collection agency, 'TV Licensing'." (added 14/01/12).
TV Licensing blog: "This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of genuine non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees. If you use equipment to receive or record live broadcast television programmes then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one." (added 14/01/12).
Jonathan Miller: "When will the British say enough and refuse en masse to pay? It would probably not take much to make the entire licence fee edifice crumble. If the BBC wants to become part of a diverse public broadcasting sector, good luck to them. But the argument for the licence fee is a tissue of lies, wrapped in hypocrisy. But will anything change? You gotta ask yourself the question: are the British willing to stand up to the bullying BBC, or when the Inspector calls, will they revert to the customary reflexive cringe?" (added 20/12/08, updated April 2010).
Life, the Universe and Everything: Practical Pest Control #37 – TV Licensing Enforcement Officer "As with all our articles on pest control, we start with a little biology." (added 12/04/09).
Justin Whyllie: TV Licensing "I've been getting another batch of nasty, frightening letters from 'TV Licensing'. The software starts the sequence after every 12 or 18 months. A series of increasingly nasty letters." (added 01/03/09).
Free Britain: BBC TV licence fee collectors under investigation "The BBC is to hold an inquiry into the 'heavy-handed' tactics used to collect the licence fee. Stung by accusations that bully-boy measures are often employed on innocent people, the BBC Trust will investigate whether procedures are 'appropriate and proportionate'. TV Licensing, the body which over-sees the collection of the fee, has been accused of a 'Big Brother' approach." (added 01/03/09).
Bitter Wallet: TV licensing detector vans – menace or myth? "The BBC refused to answer questions concerning how many detection devices the corporation possessed, how often they were deployed and the technical specification of TV detection devices, if they existed at all." (added 01/03/09).
Mark Belam: The BBC stole my money, and now I'm battling to get a TV Licence refund "Thanks to the unique way that the BBC is funded, yesterday I got to enjoy Wallace & Grommit, and the Doctor Who Christmas special. Thanks to the unique way that the BBC collects that money, I got to pay twice for the privilege." . . . "They were quite capable of going directly to my bank account to steal the money for the duplicate TV Licence. But for a refund? Well, I have to apply for that." . . . "The burden of proof, naturally, falls on me, so I had to supply them copies of my bank statements to demonstrate that they had taken an unauthorised payment from my account." . . . "Customer service isn't about smiling at the customer when things are going right - it is about swiftly and gracefully rectifying mistakes." (added 01/03/09).
TV Licensing: Lies, Damn Lies and TV Licensing "As the Daily Telegraph continues to kick TV Licensing as it lies winded in the gutter, I just thought I'd remind readers of some of their deceitful tactics." (added 01/03/09).
TV Licensing: BBC Try To Rewrite FOI History "The last month saw the Daily Telegraph mount a relentless attack on TV Licensing - attention the BBC could no doubt do without, which raises the real possibility that the BBC have censored their website as a result. Can the timing of their online cannibalism be coincidental? Quite simply people are asking too many questions about TV Licensing. The BBC are afraid of providing too many answers because they know it will undermine the effectiveness of the entire licensing system (based on phantom detection methods and deceitful mailshots)." . . . "screenshots show the TV licence section of the BBC FOI web pages on 11th November 2008 (containing 164 disclosures) and 21st December 2008 (containing 16 disclosures). The slimmed down content is very evident." (added 01/03/09).
Guido Fawkes: "Charles Moore is Britain's Gandhi : 200,000 Pledge Not to Pay TV Licence" (added 20/12/08).
Graham Smith and Hazel Rudge-Pickard: "For a while now I have been one of the 2% of the population that doesn't, let me make that very clear doesn't, have a television. I know you are probably rather shocked by this announcement but it's true. I can only conclude that you must be shocked by this because it would seem that having a television is mandatory in the UK, at least according to the television licensing people. " (added 2/11/08).
Colin Angus Mackay: " TV Licensing are a bunch of... I don't really think I can say what I think of the TV Licencing people at the moment. I've just moved into my new flat. I got my TV Licence transferred over the day before I moved in. And now, three weeks later, they are sending me threatening letters." (added 2/11/08).
Iain Dale: "The Jobsworths at TV Licencing: Readers of Charles Moore's Spectator column will be familiar with the TV Licencing authorities." . . . "A few days ago I received a very rude letter from TV Licensing telling me they had no record of me buying a licence at my address and what was I going to do about it? They said that unless I could prove my address had a licence they would take me to court. Excuse me? Do they not have a computer? It would tell them, if they bothered to look, that my house does indeed have a valid licence." (added 2/11/08).
tv-licensing.blogspot: "unofficial guide to television licence rules, regulations, loopholes and enforcement in the UK" (added 2/11/08).
Matthew Wilson: " TV licensing have got to be one of the most inefficently run organisations in Britain and i've had more than the occasional run in with them. As I am a student and change properties on a regular basis I am the perfect candidate to confuse their database system." (added 2/11/08).
Abandon all Fear: "I do not believe in TV Licensing. There are few countries in the world today that force their citizens to pay for a telecommunications licence. The people of New Zealand are the most recent example of a nation successfully rising up to challenge and overturn their draconian licencing laws. I would encourage people here to also protest and write to their MPs. There are also countries who have proved that public service television can be successful without licensing. Canada, for example does not require you to own a licence to view public service television. There are only two channels available for free, then you purchase cable for the rest." (added 22/06/08).
Roo Reynolds: "I recently wrote about the iPlayer, and made a throwaway comment about not having a TV licence, yet enjoying the ability to finally be able to legally watch TV programmes online, on my Mac. It sparked quite a discussion." . . . (added 22/06/08).
Bent Society: Correspondence with TV Licensing discussed. (added 22/06/08).
Jon Gibbins: "TV Licensing are never happy with people who say that they don't watch television." . . . "Having previously explained our situation to TV Licensing, we find ourselves getting increasingly annoyed at the small tree's-worth of correspondence we get through our door, bullying us with threats of being fined for not having a license." . . . "The TV Licensing logo is blue. Everywhere you see the logo – on their website, vans, adverts (yes, we have seen adverts before) – it is blue. Except, when you get something through the post from them and the logo becomes red." (added 24/06/07)
Ricardo Cabello: "This company kind of reminds me SGAE in Spain. I wouln't be able to run a company creating fear in the people in order to paying me." (added 24/06/07)
Mike Dimmick: "TV Licensing has serious issues (Note for non-Brits reading this [if any]: in the UK we are required, if we want to watch broadcast television, to pay a licence fee of £131.50, which goes to support the BBC – BBC TV has no commercial advertising, except for other BBC programmes. You have to show that your TV is physically incapable of receiving broadcast television to avoid it.)" (added 24/06/07)
Aral Balkan: "The BBC's tactics: intimidation and extortion? I can't believe these people! The BBC, under the name of TV Licensing, appears to be raging a war of terror on the population of Britain and I have no idea why anyone here puts up with it." (added 24/06/07)
Storyteller's World: "Among the post is the first of a new round of messages from our friends at TV Licensing™. As they correctly state, it's some time since we informed them that there was no television in use at this address. (They forebear to mention the series of letters I exchanged with them and my MP at the time, which I imagine are still on file.)" . . . "My statement as to the situation is not accepted, implying that I am a liar" (added 03/02/07).
Paul Battley: "I hate the TV Licence implementation" . . . "It's a tax–they may call it a licence, but the National Statistics Office classifies it as a tax–collected by a private company using fear and intimidation." . . . "No one has ever been convicted on the evidence of a detector van. They collect evidence by peeking through windows and conning their way into private residences to 'check'. I say 'conning' because they have no right of entry, regardless of the legal nonsense they pepper their rude letters with." (added 27/01/07).
Woolgathering: "Incredibly threatening letter from TV Licensing today. We are to be "enforced'" (added 27/01/07).
Liyang: I habitually bin letters from TV Licensing on arrival. This afternoon I was visited by the TV Licensing man. I don't watch TV; I don't even have a TV, a fact which I informed him of. Naturally, he wanted to have a look around. Being in a not very compliant mood today (and vaguely aware of the kind of people TV Licensing loves to target), I informed him he has no legal powers and I was not obliged to let him into the house." (added 27/01/07).
Televisionfree Television is a stupifier. (added 21/01/07).
Diagnosis? N.F.I. "Yesterday, I received yet another 'red' letter from Mr Ross McTaggart of the TV Licensing Authority. " (added 21/10/06).
"Thomas Cranmer" "You will be threatened with a £1000 fine for non-payment. In practice the average fine is £140 -- about the cost of a TV licence, should the matter ever come to court, which is most unlikely -- should you inform TVL that you withdraw their implied right of access. Wearing now my lawyer's hat, I rehearse the fact that no one has any right to set foot on your property without your permission. The postman, milkman, &c., who freely walk up your garden path are relying on their "implied right of access" thereto. But this can be withdrawn." (added 21/10/06).
TV Licensing – LEAVE ME ALONE! "It might be hard for you to believe but it is quite possible for a person to live without a television. I am perfectly within my rights to decline such a puerile form of entertainment without fear of being intimidated by your company." (added 05/07/06).
The World according to Keates: "When I got in from lectures yesterday, on our kitchen table were four envelopes for various people in our flat from TV licensing. They were filled with the usual 'our dectector vans are in the area and we will catch you if you haven't got a licence' and so on." (added 10/06/06).
Moo: The Plague that is TV Licensing "I recently moved home. We have mail boxes. On opening my new mail box I discovered half a bin liner worth of letters, menus and other advertisements from the past year during which the property was empty. The competition was between British Gas and TV Licensing". Comments on this blog can be found here. (added 10/06/06).
Pete Ashton's weblog: "It's the manner in which these letters are written that pisses me off. Having a television is a choice and part of that choice is the requirement to buy a license. When you don't have a television you haven't opted out or made a choice - you simply don't have a television. There shouldn't be a requirement to be registered for something you never even wanted to be involved with. You also need a license to own a firearm but I don't think anyone ever gets threatening letters from the firearms licensing authority demanding that they prove their lack of a gun." (added 03/09/05).
Free Market Fairy Tales: "Shortly after Christmas, you[r] humble correspondent bought his nippers a combined video DVD" . . . "About three weeks later, I erroneously received a letter from the TV Licensing Authority informing me that I had recent purchased equipment capable of receiving television signals but incorrectly stating that I did not appear to have a TV license. So my personal details & the details for my transaction had been entered on to a government database & an extortion letter duly issued ... who says that Big Brother isn't watching? This is the beast we are dealing with." (added 28/05/05).
James: "At least 3 times a year for the last 4 years, the TV licensing company has sent me various letters warning me that they're going to send the boys round to deliver a thousand pound fine and possibly a bit of a kicking." (added 28/05/05).
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TV Licensing systems in other countries
Malta: MEP urges removal of TV licence fees "Government should remove the TV licence fee, as had been promised prior to the general elections, Labour MEP Glenn Bedingfield said on Thursday." (added 19/09/09).
Ireland: Licence fee system should be scrapped by Patricia McDonagh. "The Government was urged yesterday to scrap the "archaic, expensive and regressive" TV licence collection system, which is forcing people to cover the costs for those who do not pay." (added 9/2/08)
Finland: An a American living in Finland describes the Finnish licensing system. (added 30/05/05).
Israel: Prof Eli Pollak's article "Cut the regressive TV tax" in the Jerusalem Post of 17th March 2002. (added 30/05/05).
New Zealand (up to 2000) – Anti-TV Licence Campaign Crusaders Celebrate – "The group that successfully campaigned for the abolition of the broadcasting tax this year says its push to make Governments and bureaucrats accountable to the New Zealand people is only just beginning." . . . "The tax was abolished not because the group won in court, but because a frail 78 year old pensioner managed to convince a hundred thousand fellow New Zealanders that they shouldn't pay the tax." . . . "that pensioner, Ned Haliburton said 'we were a small band of dedicated idealists with a three year campaign of civil resistance, that peacefully brought about the scrapping of what we considered to be an immoral and unfair tax.'" (added 23/04/05).
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Information on licensing
Information Commissioner's Office: — BBC's refusal to disclose information related to the use and effectiveness of television detector vans (PDF document). (added 19/09/09).
Wikipedia: Television licensing in the United Kingdom (link updated 01/03/09)
Television Licence Information — "This site is not associated with TV Licensing, but was created to help correct misinformation regarding the UK Television Licence." (added 01/03/09).
ChristianSat Guide: "[M]any Christians do not have a TV. Others do have a TV but use it solely for watching videos or DVDs. If you are in either of these categories, why not get a satellite system for all the wonderful Christian Radio that's now available?" . . . "If you decide to get a Sky box solely for radio, you don't need a TV Licence. TV Licensing have agreed that the use of a Sky box for radio channels only does not require a TV licence. But we recommend writing to TV Licensing first, asking for written confirmation that your situation is okay. See our TV Licensing issues page for advice on what to say in your letter." (added 24/06/07)
Out-law.com (Pinsent Masons – solicitors): TV licence now needed for Internet (added 21/01/07)
Christina Pantazis &ndash Gender, Crime and Poverty in England and Wales: How women feature disproportionately in television licence offence statistics. (added 21/05/06)
TV Licensing - mini FAQ: This site provides information on what equipment does, and does not, require a television licence.
European Audiovisual Observatory: Sources of information on licence fee funding of public service television in Europe. (added 21/02/04)
The Real yUK: The television licence and streaming media. (added 24/12/03)
Darren Snow: Using video equipment to view pre-recorded material. (added 24/12/03)
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TV sinners: a CAB evidence report on the BBC licence fee produced by the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux. Every year, around 200,000 people get a criminal record when they are prosecuted for non-payment of the television licence fee. The majority of these offenders are women. Many of those who consult a CAB adviser when they face prosecution are lone parents, or have mental health problems. Many do not have English as their first language. Most are living on a low income and have not paid the fee, because they simply cannot afford to do so. (added 17/3/02)
Review of Criminal Courts of England (Chapter 9), Decriminalisation and alternatives to conventional trial. [Lord Justice Auld report]. PDF document. (added 27/7/02)
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NGOs and reports
Centre for Citizenship: Britain's Deficient Democracy - The television licence. "The Licence and Civil Liberties. For the BBC speech is not free when it takes the form of TV broadcasts. Watching TV requires its permission and an annual payment of £142.50. This gives it £3.49bn a year to spend as it likes. Not only does the corporation disdain to offer its goods to be bought or rejected according to individual wishes. It gets its money with methods that no private business or state agency would dare use. Those who do not have a licence, even those who own no TV or VCR, can expect close attention from the media giant. After a number of threatening letters its agents will visit. They will demand to search without a warrant if the property owner says she does not have a TV." (updated 14/01/12)
Institute of Public Policy Research:. Press release – BBC Governors should be independent and licence fee more progressive (added 17/01/04)
Privacy International: Privacy International (PI) is a human rights group formed in 1990 as a watchdog on surveillance by governments and corporations. PI annually holds The Winston Awards for services to, and threats against, privacy. Two years running, TV Licensing™ has been nominated: Most Invasive Company.
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Mentions of TV licensing in Advice Pages
Daily Mail: Lisa Buckingham "Innocent until proven guilty is clearly not a concept with which our TV Licensing authorities are familiar. One reader - as incensed as she was frightened - was threatened with a visit from the Enforcement Division for an interview 'under caution' in compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984." . . . "The only trouble was that our reader does not have a television —an eccentricity the TV Licensing folk appear not to comprehend." . . . "When contacted by Financial Mail, the organisation admitted its records showed it had been contacted 'several times' and while it can monitor 30 million homes, it could not update this information. This particular reader is not alone. And even though the reader has been promised an 'unreserved apology', TV Licensing is already threatening to start 'checking' in the future to ensure the situation has not changed. " (added 12/04/09).
Guardian &ndash Capital letters: Tony Levene "The website does not allow you to report you do not need a licence, leaving a high-cost 0844 phone line. I am not condoning non-payment, but why should I pay to protest my innocence?" (added 01/03/09).
Daily Mail: Margaret Stone "I have been trying to resolve my elderly aunt's problems with TV Licensing since April, and am at my wit's end. She is over 100 years old, totally blind, has lived at her present address for more than 40 years and had her free TV licence issued at this address. At the beginning of April, TVL wrote to her saying the address was unlicensed, and threatened an investigation by its enforcement division." (added 2/11/08).
The Guardian: Anna Tims "Here, she relates your most extreme stories of bad customer service, from the bizarre to the unbelievable" . . . "TV Licensing, which invented four different addresses within one apartment block for a valid licence-holder so that it could persecute her for unpaid dues" (added 2/11/08).
The Observer – Cash: Margaret Dibbens "The official response from TV Licensing is that you need a licence whatever type of television-receiving equipment you use to watch programmes, including computers and mobile phones. But you do not need a licence if you genuinely do not watch television." . . . "but there is no guidance on how you can prove you never watch television" (added 01/04/07)
Guardian - Life & Health: The Guardian's consumer champion – Anna Tims "Vicky Kennard wanted to buy a present for her mother-in-law and ordered a video and DVD player from Dixons. It was to be delivered directly to her mother-in-law's address, but nevertheless Kennard - who does not own a television - was contacted soon afterwards by TV Licensing." (added 27/01/07)
Guardian - Life & Health: The Guardian's consumer champion – Anna Tims "An organisation that would do well to check its records is TV Licensing, whose extraordinary endeavours to criminalise blameless citizens are well documented. This fearsome predator refuses to believe that some people live without television and does not regard payments to itself as proof that a licence has been purchased." (added 28/10/06)
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Facebook: 10 Million for no licence fee (added 20/12/08).
uk.legal (added 2/11/08).
Consumer Forums — Harrasment from TV Licensing. (added 22/06/08).
BBC Resistance – TV Licence WiKi (added 9/02/08)
MoneySavingExpert.com (added 24/06/07)
BBC – Action Network: Anti TV Licence Fee and BBC Waste/Arrogance and Against TVL Human Rights abuses . (added 21/01/07)
Digital Spy: Threatening letter from the TV licensing centre. (added 21/01/07)
Samizdata.net: A "blog" bringing news and views from a robust, critically-rational, libertarian perspective. (added 24/12/03)
The Weekly Gripe: The Television Licence — is it worth it? Read and rant here. (added 24/12/03)
The BBC Resistance Discussion Group, hosted by Erik Oostveen's site. (requires registration to post messages): (added 9/02/03)
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NO2ID: "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" "I got a letter once from the TV licensing people. It was awful. I'd bought a TV for my son for his room. It was me that paid for it, so when they asked my name and postcode I unthinkingly just signed away. The next thing I know, TV licence people are writing to me saying they KNEW I was stealing from them, and that I could be prosectued, etc. It was a very nasty letter (I'm usually a very forgiving person, but it really was worded very strongly)" . . . " I'd been sent a threatening letter based on my name, without ANYONE checking to see if the address already had a licence." (added 12/08/06)
BBC Charter Renewal error message Humour . . . (added 08/01/05)
On-line Petition: Scrap the BBC Licence Fee. (added 08/03/03)
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