A selection of responses to the BBC Charter Review public consulation.

*** SUBMISSION *** by Barry Pittock:

"No reputable organisation -- a bank or building society -- would treat us this way. I believe TV Licensing to be the most threatening organisation in Britain."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Paul Fitzgibbon:

[The BBC is a unique institution.] "Unique in the way it CONSTANTLY HARASSES PEOPLE WHO DO NOT NEED A TV LICENSE." ... "I really really do not care what you do with the TV License. Keep it or lose it - I don't care - I don't watch TV. Just leave me, and the people like me, alone."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Benedetta Bassetti:

"it looks like not having a TV is considered some sort of crime in this country" ... "These people are constantly threating my privacy, trying to get access to my property with unacceptable means, in fact they are harassing and threating an innocent person and this should not be tolerated!" ... "stop representing those who have no TV license as criminals and/or lunatics."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Greg Peters:

"The current TV Licence system is deeply flawed in the 21st century" ... "It's dishonest - the BBC operates an obnoxious system of TV licensing inspectors and uses offensive and threatening methods to intimidate viewers without even disclosing they are doing it, hiding behind the alias of 'TV Licensing'

*** SUBMISSION *** by Neil Lewis Willens:

"The BBC is dishonest, operating an obnoxious system of TV licensing inspectors and uses offensive and threatening methods to intimidate viewers without even disclosing they are doing it, hiding behind the alias of 'TV Licensing'.

*** SUBMISSION *** by Alex Galea:

"There once was a 'wireless licence', which was withdrawn as it became an anachronism. The TV licence now is such an anachronism."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Ganesh Sittampalam:

"The licence fee collection is incompetent and dishonest." ... "It is unacceptable that a body with special powers to collect what is effectively a tax is allowed to mislead the public in this way."

: *** SUBMISSION *** by Richard Watts:

"TV licensing have a terrible reputation with the general public stories of abuse, thuggery, incompetence, harassment, illegal behaviour as they have tried to prop up an outdated failing system."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Neil Chambers:

"I personally resent the BBC Licence fee - I do not currently have a television, yet I get chased by the TV Licence authorities who cannot believe that I do not wish to waste time when I could be doing more creative things rather than being slumped in front of the box."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Gareth Hughes:

"I notice from the responses already published on your site that many people enjoying the programmes and web site of the BBC live in the United States. That's very nice for them: they don't pay for the BBC. Neither do I: I don't have a television. Yet the odious harassment by the TV Licensing authority is unceasing."

*** SUBMISSION *** by R. Hitchcott:

"A special public prosecutor should be set up to interpret the law literally and to bring to justice all those engaged in its subversive activities. This includes TV licensing thugs/perverts harassing innocent women by 'neanderthal' threratening letters to trespass and harass, by threatening phone calls, and by looking through their bdrooms windows - whatever apologies may be given much later."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Edmund Wheeler:

"The BBC's TV Licensing Authority "gestapo" should be disbanded without delay." .... "The TV Licensing 'gestapo' are a remarkably ineffective and expensive way to do what Sky and any mobile phone operator has been able to do for more than 15 years via telemetry."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Leonard Osher:

"I stopped using my television and have disabled it and am being harrassed by TVLA .. This is my house and my privacy is constantly being challenged and invaded by the enquiry officers and countless threatening letters" ... "like me one decides to opt out entirely then you are subject to a life of intimidating letters and visits"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Gareth Robertson:

"the continued harassment of my gran (who doesn't have a TV) by the BBC's detector gestapo agents is very distressing for her - she's 65 and receives letters regularly and visits by strangers threatening her with prosecution and wanting to inspect her house. How much information do this 'secret police force' have on us citizens how are supposed to have a right to a private life?" ... "address withheld (so tv licensing gestapo don't get it - but they already will have it won't they?)"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Peter Bennett:

"The present collection of licence fees involves keeping a large database of every property in the land and the sending of threatening letters to non-licence holders who may or may not have a television. I see something sinister about this."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Marcus Daley:

[The licence fee] "is enforced with extreme vigour by the TVL company. The TVL operates in an extremely brutal way, often targeting the most vulnerable members of society & uses threats to extort money from their 'customers'."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Robert Latham:

"The corollary of having a licence fee is that one needs to pay for an authority to police it. Anyone who doesn't have a licence either because they don't want to watch UK broadcast TV or because they can't receive it for geographical reasons, is harassed on at least a monthly and sometimes on a daily basis. In doing so the TVLA spend a vast amount of money infringing people's human rights. Britain might not be a police state, but it most certainly is a TVLA state. Unlike the TVLA, the police don't contact innocent people on a regular and frequent basis suggesting they are breaking the law. The police do not routinely threaten to investigate large numbers of innocent people, sending out letters promising huge fines and imprisonment. The police do not send round officers to search homes for illegal activity without any complaint being made. The TVLA do that monthly to all us "weirdos" who don't have a TV. The aggressive, objectionable behaviour of the TVLA has been reported on at least two occasions by the BBC's own "You and Yours" programme on Radio 4."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Jonathan Sambrook:

"Under the future regime, my family and I, who have lived without a television set for nine years now, would like the TVLA to stop harassing us with offensive letters."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Mark Anthony:

"This unjust and immoral tax should have been abolished decades ago. The British government should not force an entertainment service on its citizens." ... It is also disturbing that the TVLA has interpreted the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 as to include computers which weren't even invented in 1949. Effectively this means that if I don't own television receiving equipment at all, and wish to view a streaming broadcast from CNN on my PC I have to pay the BBC a tax! This must be a case for the European Court, and I am sure it will be if the BBC licence fee is not completely abolished in 2006."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Carol Campbell:

"I am happy with the licensing system but I have major issues with the licensing authority. Their letters are actively rude offensive and frightening. I have had a number of dealings with them over the last few months both at work and due to moving house. At work we have a number of properties with no televisions and the bombardment of letters received all requiring action is extremely annoying - you should not have to justify not wanting a television. On a personal level we had two properties for around three months. Before we moved into the new property we had received threatening letters about not having a licence and then three days after we had changed the licence to the new property we had threatening letters to the old property. This is unacceptable behaviour from a public body."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Sean Goldthorpe:

"For those of us without TVs the result is harassment by the bully boys of the licensing authority. Those fascists belong in a museum."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Alan Law:

"Enforcement also results in overbearing conduct towards households that do not need a licence. Conduct towards the relatively small proportion of householders in this category is often seen as offensive and uncivilised, and it should not go unremarked that the BBC routinely seeks inspections of homes where no licence is required"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Mrs Joan A F Horton JP:

"As a JP over 20 years, I have found TV Licence prosecutions to be among the most frustrating and demoralising of cases. Nationally, they take hours of court time, and our work on them is too often abortive. Our magisterial oath obliges us to administer justice according to law. However, where justice and the law conflict, we must uphold the law whilst trying to be as just as possible."

*** SUBMISSION *** by A. S. Millier:

"I live in an area in Suffolk, that cannot receive a TV signal. I complained to the licences people that I cannot receive a signal. They said it wasn't there problem, and I still have to pay the license fee. So What is it I am paying for?"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Mark Cordell:

"if the fee also pays for BBC radio, why don't radio users without TVs pay a fee? It seems a muddle to me."

*** SUBMISSION *** by John Barker:

"The concept of a licence fee is anachronistic."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Nathan Nigel Bowness:

"Scrap the licence fee, its anachronistic, the BBC should be funded and run like any other commercial broadcaster"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Tony Flitton:

"I've never understood why the license fee still exists. It provides the BBC with a total monopoly over all televsion broadcasting in Britain. Under the current system it is illegal for me to watch Sky, for instance, without having paid the BBC first. Even if I have legitimately subscribed to Sky already. It's an absolute nonsense. Quite how this monopoly is allowed to continue eludes me. If this type of set up was in a middle eastern country, it would be considered a disgrace."

*** SUBMISSION *** by P. Reynolds:

"The BBC may have a duty to collect licence fees, but their zeal in seeking out and prosecuting unlicensed households is offensive to those who do not require a licence. No Agency of Government would be allowed to harass and criminalise citizens for merely being unlicensed for some function or other. But the BBC's agents do, daily. There is no law that says everyone needs a TV licence and no law that says householders must help the BBC's agents in their census. Between my partner and I, we have two homes. One has no TV. The BBC's Agents want to enter this home, our property to see if we are telling the truth when we say we have no television. Until we permit them, they will continue to harass us. Such heavy handed tactics should not be sanctioned by Government. They should be proscribed. End the BBC's monopoly and fee collection fascism and make them compete in the market place. Like everyone else."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Prakash Patel:

"How about the 'tactics' used by Capita to extract the licence fees from non-payers?"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Tony:

"It's dishonest - the BBC operates an obnoxious system of TV licensing inspectors and uses offensive and threatening methods to intimidate viewers without even disclosing they are doing it, hiding behind the alias of 'TV Licensing'."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Anna Kettle:

"I don't have a TV. The TV licence people have said they don't believe I dont have one and they are going to turn up to check. They are not coming any further then the front doorstep. PAH! Do the driving licence people turn up to check you don't drive a car? Why do the TV licence people think they have the right to invade my privacy and assume guilt."

*** SUBMISSION *** from an audience member (Bournmouth meeting 29/03/04):

"I am definitely in the minority here because I don't have a television set. I choose not to have one. But I am being hounded by the television licensing authorities because every 3 years they send me letters, they request my confirmation that I do not have a television set, and then they say that even if I reply, saying no I don't have one, they will send somebody to my house who can gain entry and search my flat to see if I have a television set, and I think that is appalling. And so I do disagree with this gentleman here, I think it should be related to a person, rather than a property, because you do move round sometimes, and obviously as in the past I have had a television set occasionally, I have always bought a licence before I have even switched it on, I have informed them when I got rid of it, and as I say I came along tonight because I have just had yet another letter, and I have steam coming out of my ears, and I just felt I had to come along tonight to make a protest on behalf of the people in this country who do not have a television set, and a lot of people don't because they have perhaps a holiday home which doesn't have one, and I have spoken to people who have also been on the receiving end of these numerous letters."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Steve Gaites:

"I have no TV. It's as simple as that. I have no TV." ... "A constant stream of letters saying, 'You're a Liar! You're a Criminal! We know you are and we know where you live. We're going to get you, Liar. We're going to drag you before a court of law and see you punished, severely, for your crime. You Sly, Deceitfull, lying peice of trash. Don't think you're getting away with it. We're going to have you!' And, as you are well and truly aware, no matter how or how many times one goes to the trouble and expense of replying to these threats, the result is always the same. They go down the Dole queue or the precinct and tell some loser that, if he can go to my address and clinch that final evidence of my being a liar and criminal, he'll get a fat bonus from them. And so they come."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Matthew Sparks:

"people who do not have a TV should not be constantly harassed for a licence."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Debra Wild:

"I am sick of getting letters, a waste of paper, about paying my TV license, when it is up to date. After wasting my time and money on many phone calls and logging on to the website trying to change my details, I finally got it sorted and STILL got letters."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Christopher Casagrande:

"stop wasting so much effort in sending letters to people that have just moved home or do not have TV's!! As a university student I did not have a TV and filled in a form to say so at least three times. Over then next three years I got a letter almost monthly (and often more than that) threatinging me with a fine! Then later after buying a second TV I, dispite having a liscense for the property, received more then 10 letters demanding payment of the fee and this is after I called and sent in several letters etc. How much mony must you waste on this? If the people responsible are trying to annoy everyone and really turn them against payment of the fee keep it up, it is working."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Elizabeth Cosgrove:

"We have been much bothered by tiresome letters about License Fee for a holiday cottage which does not have TV. We tell them, we tell them, we tell them, but still money is wasted sending out these letters."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Nick Burch:

"The license collection needs looking at. While people see it as both incompetant and unfair, they won't see the advantage that the license fee brings to them. I've been hassled by the licensing people when I didn't have a TV (sorting things out for those who really don't have one should be easier). I've received warning letters several times when I did have a license (simply because a different person had paid the license that year, the system couldn't cope), and the letters are often over threatening / factually incorrect."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Peter Williamson:

"I understand Capita targets housing estates and single-mothers, students, and care homes where it can swoop on several offenders and meet targets."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Arthur Cross:

"I have paid for the licence during 4 decades. The aspect I am most uneasy about is the collection method. The BBC Tax enforcers in their mean spirited zeal to net everybody, also snare genuine. vulnerable young women. They are criminalised, imprisoned with the dangers that involves. A reality show here (I'm a bbc victim get me out). They need help, counselling not persecution. I feel it should be a human right to have basic TV free. Criminal proceedings also waste time and resources."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Mark Cordell:

"The BBC should exist, but let's face it, it is not an essential public service." ... "Removal of the licence fee would mean no more money wasted on detector vans, enforcement officers and court proceedings."

*** SUBMISSION *** by David Cheeseman:

"The method of chasing up non-payers of the licence fee is archaic and should be replaced by another method."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Alec Custerson:

"I have paid my license fee but TV Licensing have no budgetary trail of the payment and are pursuing me with their enforcement procedures." ... "my experience highlights how the existing 'Gestapo-style, mid-night knock at the door' powers which it can exercise can all too readily be misapplied due to their incompetency" ... "The totally unjustified harassment which I have suffered at the hands of TV Licensing has been an eye opener to me"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Ian Crompton:

"The imposition of the Licence Fee is illiberal. Its means of collection, using threat and intimidation, by TV Licensing, is not acceptable nowadays."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Bryan Davies:

"If this method of funding were dropped, the TV Licensing Authority could also be dropped, freeing the large cost of this operation for better use" ... "It would additionally kill-off one of the most glaring of government-instigated interferences in individual lives"

*** SUBMISSION *** by M. J. Field:

"I think there should be an 'opt out' option form"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Nigel Dixon:

"Pay up or we will send a TV Gestapo round to your house"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Laszlo Gaspar:

"I decided to stop watching TV completely and cancel my TV licence. I kept my TV set but only used it to watch videos. In a letter, I informed TV Licensing and told them that I de-tuned my television and disconnected the aerial." ... "For the next few months, I received increasingly nasty letters from TVL, telling me in effect that they were suspecting me of 'unlicensed viewing', culminating in a visit by a licence inspector" ... "It took us eleven (11) phone calls and 3 letters until they finally admitted that they falsely accused us and even this only happened after the media started becoming involved and one of the local newspapers published an article of our story." ... "I feel that having a situation where the BBC licence fee collection involves harassing and intimidating people wanting to opt out and the employment of a 'licence police' who have a prejudiced view of non-viewers, use unethical methods to enforce collection and disrespect people's right of privacy is totally unacceptable."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Michael Griffiths:

"Greg Dyke has gone so let us start again from scratch. No BBC subsidised by licence money. The army of licence inspectors costs £millions."

*** SUBMISSION *** by C. L. Gallagher"

"If the Licence Fee is to continue then those involved in enforcement must be brought to heel. They must be given very strict guidelines within which to operate. They should be told that they have no right to demand entry into anyone's home without a warrant (there was the case of an 87 year old lady who was so scared and traumatised by the TV license peoples threatening letters that she bought a TV Licence even though she did not have a TV – this must stop)."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Paul Hubbard:

"My family and I opted out of "television" several years ago" ... "we are still being hounded by the BBC's private sector heavy mob for a licence fee that we are no longer legally bound to pay. Advising the TLA in Bristol that you no longer have a receiving set, and thus do not need a licence, just seems to make them target you even more."

*** SUBMISSION *** by W. H. M. Jewell:

"The license is and unjustified poll tax. It is also I believe an infringement of the right to receive information from any source without let or hindrance, a right included in the European Bill of Rights."

*** SUBMISSION *** by M. Kilby:

"I am sick of being sent a letter once a year stating 'I have to pay over £120 or sent to jail' unless I get a licence."

*** SUBMISSION *** by G. Morgan:

"you believe there is a bottomless hole where the money comes from, in the form of licence fees and, the irony is, that you send out people in detector vans and use other means to trap non payers of the fee, and have them brought before the courts and even imprisoned for not contributing to this money wasting jobs for the boys organization"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Miss H. A. Prowse:

"the wonderful World Service" ... "funded by the FO – how do they manage to do a better job than the rest of the BBC?"

*** SUBMISSION *** by Erika Sigvallius:

"I do not possess a television" ... "Since most people do own TVs (and pay the licence), they are often startled to hear how I am treated like a criminal by the licensing authority" ... "Unpleasant letters are routine" ... "when you reply to the effect that you don't own a TV, the licensing authority writes back to say that it doesn't believe you, and is sending a sinister-sounding 'Enforcement officer' to your home." ... "whether you repeatedly write or phone the authority, or make no response at all, the result is always the same: it sends someone to inspect your home" ... "This inspection involves a search of your house, with every room being entered" ... "All of this is threatened in the face of no evidence whatsoever"

*** SUBMISSION *** by S. Tyler:

"The current penal TV licence tax, handed to a completely commercial organisation" ... "criminal prosecutions mounted against those failing to meet this tax, financed by public funds is quite disgraceful."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Mark Turner:

"the antiquated BBC, who still hold on to the belief that everyone likes to watch their choice of programmes."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Mrs B. Venes:

"Persecution of the elderly who do not possess a television set must stop! Computer programmes which list every house or dwelling must take account that not everybody wants TV."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Patrick Martin:

"I find it extrodinary that I am required to register my TV free address, as if I were some child molester. Furthermore, it is even more extrodinary that my private home can be invaded by agents of a private company looking for contriband "receiving equipment". One expects to find the gov't of North Korea or Stalin's USSR to carry on like this. The UK should not stoop to this level."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Richard Joyce:

"I have no TV because I find it boring, however that does not prevent systematic harassment from the BBC trading as TV Licensing."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Jim Ivens:

"I feel I must object to the threatening letters which I regularly recieve from the tv licencing people. I do not have, and never have had, a television in my shop. I have never owned a bus or an aeroplane and the DVLC or the CAA do not keep threatening me about not having a PSV licence or a pilots licence."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Phil Ackroyd:

"I also object to the intimidation and threats by the TVLA sending the heavies round to harass householders."

*** SUBMISSION *** by Philip:

"the present method criminalizes people who don't have a TV. The BBC, via the 'collection agency' they hire, evidently don't believe someone if they write back a form saying they don't have a TV. The BBC employ tactics of harrassment. They keep on writing; they threaten to 'call round' and generally intimidate. I know of one family took out a court injunction to stop this harrassment."

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