Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate 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 live broadcast television programmes then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

Monday, 27 August 2012

How to Stop TV Licensing Letters

Every month TV Licensing send out thousands of intimidatory letters to properties without a TV licence, irrespective of whether they need a licence or not.

According to John Whittingdale MP, chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: "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". 

Journalist Alex Singleton, who used to write for the Telegraph and now works at the Daily Mail, summarised his thoughts: "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".

The BBC, in its role of Licensing Authority, reviews and approves the wording of every TV Licensing letter that appears in their standard cycle. It should be of huge concern that despite widespread public criticism neither the BBC or TV Licensing see anything wrong with what they do. They consider it perfectly acceptable to threaten people with hefty fines and court appearances when they have no evidence of wrongdoing at all.

It is important for people to realise that TV Licensing's letters are riddled with legal half-truths and innuendo. They are designed to scare people into paying the licence fee, regardless of their legal need to do so.

So what can a non-viewer do if they want to stop the monthly arrival of TV Licensing's noxious correspondence? You can't do this by completely ignoring TV Licensing, which would be our normal advice. Be absolutely clear that no-one is legally obliged to communicate or co-operate with TV Licensing, however, you will need to contact them to set out your stall, so to speak. Here are a few suggestions:

1. No-TV declaration: This option requires voluntary co-operation with TV Licensing. The occupier makes a no-TV declaration to TV Licensing either online or by phone. TV Licensing will record that no licence is needed, but will incorrectly claim they are entitled to come and check. They may place a guard on the address that stops letters for a fixed period of time, usually two years.

2. Cease and desist: This option requires contact with TV Licensing, although no co-operation is required. The occupier writes a letter to the effect that they are not using equipment to receive or record live TV programme services and consequently do not require a TV licence. The occupier asserts that TV Licensing's routine correspondence is causing unnecessary intimidation and harassment and demands they put a stop to it. The occupier also threatens legal consequences for TV Licensing if the letters continue. Past experience shows it's unlikely TV Licensing will comply with such a request, but they may place a guard on the address that stops the letters for a while. 

Legally speaking there is little doubt that TV Licensing's letters amount to harassment, but the threat of legal action is of negligible concern to the BBC and TV Licensing. Unlike the occupier, who will have probably worked hard to earn his/her money, the BBC and TV Licensing are given their money on a plate, so aren't worried about the cost of legal defence.

3. Return to sender: This option requires contact with TV Licensing, although no co-operation is required. It will not prevent them from sending further letters, but gives the occupier the satisfaction of causing the BBC and TV Licensing administrative inconvenience and expense. Full details outlined in our previous "TV Licensing: Speak to the Organ Grinder, Not the Monkey" post.


TJoK said...

The most outrageous detail in the letters is the menacing one of the £1000 maximum fine.

Whilst it may be true the maximum fine allowed to be handed out is £1000 it never is and b=never has been.

The maximum fine I saw in a recent court attendance was £200 and the average fine was £78.

The BBC who authorise these threat letter are preying on peoples perception that will get fined a whopping £1000 when the reality is they won't unless they are a serial offender brought before the court.

Write or call TV Licensing by all means but expect to be mistrusted and assumed a liar until they prove otherwise (for a short period of time) if you do.

A video was publicised on YouTube only two days ago where the Capita operative clearly spelled out TV Licnsing's policy towards people that tell their truth - TV Licensing doesn't trust your word. The video evidence of this is featured on this very blog.

Anonymous said...

Personally I enjoy receiving the monthly threatogram. I think they're hilarious and it gives me pleasure knowing the beeb have wasted money on a letter that will have absolutely no effect.

Ray Turner said...

I used the "No Licence needed declaration", and wasn't troubled at all. When I did eventually buy a new TV, I bought a new licence and genuinely didn't watch any TV until I had done so.

I'd have told TV Licensing to go away if they knocked on my door, comfortable in the knowledge that I was squeaky clean, but they didn't bother me at all...

So I think its worth the effort to make the "No licence needed declaration" if you genuinely don't need a licence. Its quite easy and doesn't take very long.

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Ray.

Anonymous said...

I receive these letters every month. They go through a cycle of ever increasing threats until they culminate in a threat of a court summons and information on what to expect at court. Of course, the court summons never arrives and the letters go back to number 1 in the cycle.

I refuse to give them any information even if it would stop the letters permanently. I do not see any reason why I should save them any time or money in the face of such behaviour.

If one of their drones arrive at my door I will waste their time as much as possible without giving an indication as to whether I do or do not have a TV. Information is power and I refuse to be bullied into giving mine.

Anonymous said...

Best thing to do is when you see a letter with TV licensing on it....BIN IT!! Dont even open it. This is what I will do from now on, treat it like common circular mail.

Anonymous said...

what annoys me about these letters they are always addressed to the occupier , ive not had a license for over 20 years and still live at the same address and are on the electoral register ,it use to be that once u told them they wouldnt contact you again for three years but now it seems its every year,i have been trying to find relevant information with regards to this but had no success so far there must be some laws or rules that the governing body must adhere to if anyone can point me in the right direction i would be grateful by posting here Thanks Stu H

Anonymous said...

i had a letter from them 5 years ago when i bought my current house which i was renovating. it was in the name of the previous tenant, i sent the letter back saying that the property was under new ownership and was uninhabited.

i got another letter addressed to the occupier. i sent it back with a letter. i got another letter so i rang them, they said 'thanks for letting us know. we will not contact you again.' i then got a visit, i told them that i didn,t have a license as i didn't need one. well i did have a licence but it was for the house where i then lived. i was told that would be the end of the matter.

since then i have had regular threatening letters and cards through the door saying that they had called, but in fact they had not rang the bell or knocked.

i have been to the police 4 times with the letters and they say, that unfortunately they are unable to do anything at the current time. i told them that if i gat a visit i will forcably evict the intruder. they agreed that this was within my rights.

i have not given my name to the tv licensing people and do not intend to do so, they have no powers without a warrant, so ignore their letters and if they call tell them to **** off.