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 TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

If you've just arrived here from a search engine, then you might find our Quick Guide helpful.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

TV Licensing: What To Expect In Court

A few days ago we were contacted by a reader who was clearly distressed about receiving TV Licensing's "What To Expect In Court" threatogram.

The reader, who we'll call Anna, recently moved into a new student house with two of her university friends. About a fortnight into the excitement and security of her new home, the wind was taken out of Anna's sails when she received a copy of TV Licensing's most menacing threatogram to date.

A TV licence is only required for those properties where equipment is used to receive TV programme services (that is any programme broadcast on a normal TV channel, which is simultaneously available to other viewing members of the public). Anna does not legally require a TV licence and nor do any of her housemates.

The letter, shown above (it's an old image, but that's still the current format), is designed to intimidate TV Licensing non-respondents by threatening them with court action, for an offence they probably haven't committed. Their only "crime" is to have ignored TV Licensing's previous requests for information - despite the Licensing Authority, the BBC, having confirmed that non-TV users are under no obligation to respond to any of TV Licensing's mailings.

Close examination of the letter shows it has been carefully crafted to look official and sound as menacing as possible. The implication of the letter is clear, but the threats are diluted with the words "may" and "if". The BBC has previously confirmed that it checks, authorises and condones the wording of every TV Licensing routine letter.

For anyone left in any doubt at all, the way the BBC and TV Licensing enforce the licence fee is truly despicable. As we have seen time and time again they hide behind legal jargon, half-truths and veiled threats to coerce licence fee payment, often where none is due. If you ask them any uncomfortable questions about the seemingly indiscriminate way they enforce the fee then they hide behind the law to avoid answering. This is despite the BBC Trust saying it would take action to temper TV Licensing's accusatory tone.

Anyone who genuinely doesn't receive TV programmes can safely discard TV Licensing letters where they belong - the bin or shredder. We strongly recommend they ignore all TV Licensing correspondence and employees, as co-operating with TV Licensing is often a futile exercise and provides them with information they aren't legally entitled to.

If you've found this article useful please consider liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter or downloading our free ebook.


Ray Turner said...

My understanding is that 'receive' includes both 'watch' and 'record'.

Doing either could cause unlicensed householders to be called before the magistrates.

admin said...

Yes Ray, you are correct.

Chris said...

Anna should sue Capita in a civil court for harassment. The tone of the letter is clearly designed to cause alarm and distress. They are presumably effective and Capita will not stop using these disgusting letters until such times their lawfulness is formally challenged.

If I ever receive such a letter we certainly will end up in court, but it will be me running the show.

Anonymous said...

the man from crapita came to see me two weeks ago on a Saturday at 3pm while I was watching the GIRO D ITALIA on my iPad so I couldn't answer the door but he said he'd come again on his flier,but he didn't come back and I was feeling unloved but when I got home tonight I had received my tenth "what to expect in court" letter so I'm feeling much more important now 😀