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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.

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Sunday, 2 February 2014

TV Licensing Harasses Licence Holder

For the past six months TV Licensing has continued to harass the occupiers of a correctly licensed property, despite having been informed of their mistake on several occasions.

We came across this story yesterday when Twitter user Holly55093584 announced she was "disappointed by TV Licensing's response to my complaint" and "still getting threats despite having always had a licence". Curious to get to the bottom of things we contacted Holly and asked her to provide more information, so that we could further highlight TV Licensing's incompetence via the medium of our blog.

Holly has kindly provided us with scanned images of all of her correspondence with TV Licensing. This can be viewed in the gallery at the foot of the post. The licence is actually held in Holly's partner's name, which is why some of the letters are addressed to a man.  For the sake of convenience we shall refer to Holly and her partner as "the occupiers" from now on.

There is quite a lot to this story, so we shall outline the sequence of events in chronological order.

August 2013:
The occupiers moved into a new property at the start of August 2013. They correctly ensured the TV licence of their previous property was transferred across.

Towards the end of that month the occupiers received notice that TV Licensing had opened an investigation on their property. The routine threatogram, purportedly signed by Jane Powell of the Plymouth Enforcement Division, threatened a visit by Enforcement Officers if no response was forthcoming.

September 2013:
Two TV Licensing goons (VPNs 514831 and 514975) attended the property on separate visits on 12th September. They both pushed "We Said We'd Call" cards through the letterbox, thereby earning themselves a small commission payment. The property was occupied all day, so there is some doubt about whether the goons actually bothered to ring the doorbell.

The following day, 13th September, the occupiers contacted the TV Licensing call centre, who reassured them that there were no problems with the TV licence at that property.

Towards the end of the month the next routine threatogram arrived, which informed the occupiers they had 10 days to get correctly licensed.

October 2013:
On 5th October the occupiers wrote to TV Licensing explaining that they were incorrectly receiving threatograms, despite having earlier contacted TV Licensing to confirm their licence validity. The occupiers also explained that the address on the threatograms was slightly different to the actual address of the property.

On 15th October TV Licensing's Lynn Houston sent a letter of reply. She explained that TV Licensing gathered address information from a variety of sources, which could sometimes lead to two slightly different versions of the same address appearing on their database. Ms Houston confirmed that she had deleted the duplicate address from the system and reiterated that a valid TV licence was held on file. She explained that the next routine threatogram might already be in the post and concluded by thanking the occupiers for taking the time to help update TV Licensing's records.

Towards the end of the month the next routine threatogram arrived, which informed the occupiers that their address had now been scheduled for a visit by an Enforcement Officer.

November 2013:
No correspondence was received from TV Licensing.

December 2013:
Another routine threatogram arrived, which explained what to expect in court when prosecuted for TV licence evasion. We have previously dubbed this TV Licensing's most despicable mailshot.
January 2014:
On 3rd January the occupiers wrote again to TV Licensing, marking their correspondence for the attention of Lynn Houston. The occupiers were clearly exasperated by this stage, as the letter reads as follows: "I was astounded to find yet another letter, again with the incorrect postcode of [redacted] and date of December 2013, posted to me and threatening me with court action.

"To be threatened and harassed in this way is distressing and infuriating and I am no longer prepared to tolerate your bullying tactics."

The occupiers also explained that they would be forwarding all previous correspondence to their local Member of Parliament, Nick Harvey.

Towards the end of the month the next routine threatogram arrived, which explained that TV Licensing were proceeding to the final stages of their investigation. It also gave a break down of what to expect during the enforcement process.

On 27th January TV Licensing's Lynn Houston sent a second letter of reply. She explained that Royal Mail had updated TV Licensing's records with the same duplicate address that she had previously deleted. She had notified Royal Mail of their mistake and had again deleted the offending duplicate address from TV Licensing's system. Ms Houston asked the occupiers to contact Royal Mail directly to ensure their records were also corrected. She again explained that the next routine threatogram might already be in the post.

That's the situation to date, but we're sure you'll agree it is farcical in the extreme. 

This case perfectly illustrates TV Licensing's complete ineptitude when it comes to managing records and customer complaints.

Quite frankly, on the basis of this performance, TV Licensing would struggle to organise a piss up in a brewery. The worrying thing is that the BBC knows full well how utterly incompetent their TV Licensing contractors are, but turns a blind eye and denies any responsibility.
Holly TV Licensing Harassment Feb 2014


Anonymous said...

Exactly the same scenario is happening to me and I'm really looking forward to speaking to the officer who comes to my fully licensed home. I've phoned and emailed but they really want to make a 'priority visit' so what can I do? I won't be putting the kettle on. Jane Powell (Enforcement Manager, Plymouth Division)really does need some training. Pathetic!

Dave Akerman said...

Same here too. We had our address legally changed slightly (to correct an error), following which the TV licensing goons had our (corrected) address in their system twice. We've called 5 times so far and each time been told they'd fix it, but of course we're still receiving their increasingly threatening letters, the latest being the "what to expect in court" one.

What I expect, in the unlikely case that that ever happens, is for their case to get shoved up their corporate arse.

M Farrar said...

I have been receiving 'threatograms' since September 2014 despite having lived here since 2005 with a fully licensed TV. These notifications just started out of the blue with my not having any change in my circumstances. I have notified Darlington on numerous occasions and they confirm that I do indeed have a TV licence (Paid by dd) and I have also been onto the TV licensing website which shows I have a valid licence for my address).

The 'threatograms' come in sets of three with a month between each :
- 'We have opened an investigation' (I suggest they investigate their own website as a starter),
- 'What to expect in court',
- 'An Officer has been scheduled to visit' (Please do, so I can show my licence and tell them what I think of their enforcement process, obviously Darlington aren't passing on the message).

Then they start again at the beginning. It's laughable. Jane Powell of the Plymouth Office needs to get her act together and stop wasting licence payers' money.

Anonymous said...

I have found this very interesting, in November 2015 we brought a holiday home on a holiday park in Cornwall and the TV licence is covered by the communal licence as our home is let out by the holiday park. However this lady called Jane Powell from the Plymouth Enforcement office keeps sending threatening letters to our home on the park even though there is no one living there and it is taking two months for the post office to redirect them to me! My main problem is that there are no contact details on these letters for JANE POWELL! no phone number or email address?
Only a main number to an annoying automated switchboard and when you finally get to speak to a real person they can not help you.....I am beginning to think that this JANE POWELL does not exist and it's just a front name for TV Licensing?
It appears to me that the only contact details they give you is to pay the Licence SO WHAT IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PAID THE LICENCE!!!!

Anonymous said...

Threatograms insist that you "MUST" contact them if you do not need a licence. I am not aware of any legal obligation to expend time and money contacting NTVLRO if you don't need a licence and I certainly don't intend to. {I don't have a television, nor a landline telephone, nor a mobile nor any broadband access at my home. Jane Powell sends me her silly threatograms on a regular basis. I file them in case of need.)

"Anonymous" comments that he doubts whether Jane Powell exists - I would be quite surprised if she did. However, letters don't write themselves so someone is resposible for them.

If you either don't need a licence or already have one and you are getting repeated and/or distressing threats from the TV licensing people the thing to do is write to your M.P. If M.P.'s find themslves being inundated with letters complaining about NTVLRO they will do something about it (eventually).

Admin said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment Anon. You are correct that anyone who does not need a licence is under no legal obligation at all to communicate or co-operate with TV Licensing.
Forgive me, but what is NTVLRO? I've never heard that before.

Anonymous said...

Jane Powell appears to work in Southampton now or can we assume that it is a fictitious name because, seriously, who would want to put his/her name to the presumptious drivel they put out. Nasty outdated system, adminsitered by nasty people; let's get it changed. Why not start a petition and get it debated in parliament.

Anonymous said...

I have had no television since November, 2006 and neither do I ever watch BBC drivel on i-Player. Hence I do not need a licence and neither, contrary to what they claim in their letters, am I under any legal obligation to contact the licensing people. Both my business and my home address receive threatening reminders from the TV licensing people. At home these are monthly. At my office, less frequent. Yesterday, for the first time a meter reader called at the house to deliver a letter from them.

My letters also come from 'Jane Powell' (based in Plymouth this time) who I think you can be confident, does not exist.

In response to your question (Aug 2016) about NTVLRO it stands for National Television Licence Record Office and it was the organisation which used to collect TV licence money before the current batch of freeloading cronies of the government got the job. NTVLRO paid me compensation in the past for harassing me about a licence when I had no television.

One answer, if you are being harassed about a licence and you don't need one, is to contact your MP and irritate them. For one thing, I would like the name of the person responsible for sending these letters with a view to Court action. I am well aware what the law says about having a television licence.

Anonymous said...

Jane Powell appears to work as an enforcement Manger in Bristol too! I have had a TV licence since I moved in to my property a year ago and have updated TV licensing several times, in which they inform me they have updated their system, yet I am still getting these threatening letters in the post! Its gone beyond annoying!!!

Richard Healey said...

They have been harassing us since July last year. We moved into the property from 20 miles away. We had a license at the previous property, although, because of my wife's age, one was not needed. (it was paid on DD and I forgot to cancel so let it run to end of Feb 18 renewal date but cancelled the DD in January 18) The property was a new build and when we arrived there were 9 letters addressed to "The Occupier". I called TV licensing, in July, and used their automated service gave them our old address, new address and details. 3 weeks later another letter arrived with 2 more following. Towards the end of August I used their web site and completed the document including our current licence number. The letters kept coming!! In frustration I wrote a letter to Darlington explaining my thoughts on their administrative process and suggesting that perhaps it could be improved, not mentioning the cost to us taxpayers for all the mail, correspondence etc. I was then told that an Enforcement Officer would call. I then called the number given to be told that I should have contacted them, it was my fault as they hadn't heard from me....in spite of the fact that I received a letter from TV licensing apologising for the issues I raised in my letter and giving me a complaints number. (COM1-3350275577) An enforcement officer called on 7th February but we were in Spain. They have said they will call again. They also called their DD on 1st March and received payment which I have received back from the bank who will recover it from TV Licensing. The incompetence of this department is staggering, not to mention the cost of the operation. Perhaps the managers responsible for this debacle should be responsible for compensation to us, the taxpayer. As always in these situations it is not their money they are wasting. You really couldn't make up stories like this.