The story of our reader Phil, who successfully sued TV Licensing for the costs incurred dealing with its letters, was discussed on Nick Abbot's show on LBC Radio last night.
You can read all about Phil's story in our earlier article about how he sued TV Licensing after it caused him years of unnecessary stress and inconvenience.
A transcript of Nick's comments about Phil's case appears below:
Nick Abbot (NA): Meanwhile, a man who grew tired of receiving letters from TV licence enforcers, even though he does not own a television set, has been awarded almost £150 after taking the organisation to court. There you are, you see? A little chink of good news. The TV licence enforcers.
The man from Northampton, who only wanted to be identified as "Phil", claimed that he had endured more than a decade of threats and fines, court action and prison from TV Licensing, which runs licence enforcement on behalf of the BBC, even though he has not had a television for 15 years. Oh, mate - the stuff you have missed!
He decided to bill TV Licensing for his time and he took it to the county court when it refused to pay. Isn't that brilliant?!
The amount of times, I mean honestly. I just got the telephone (installed) at my new house and they gave me this list of charges, that they insisted they would charge me if I did not follow their rules down to the letter. They said they were going to send someone over on the Monday between - you know what they say? - between the hours of 8 in the morning and midnight, something like that. "I'm sorry, that's as specific as we can be", but if you're not there when that person arrives then we will fine you £60. And if you are there and there's stairs involved, then we'll fine you £30. And if you're there and it's slightly moist conditions outside, then they'll want a fiver. It's just on, and on, and on they went. But how many times has an organisation like that said they will turn up and then they haven't? And do you get to fine them? No, of course not! So this tiny bit of good news we can take on-board for all of us.
He hasn't had a TV for 15 years and he got threats of everything up to and including beheading and then he took them to court for wasting his time and he won! He received £149... (laughs)... this is silly... he received £149.03. How? 3 pence? Why not 150 quid?!
He said: "For more than 11 years I've been a victim of TV Licensing's demands that I make contact with them help them update their records. I am expected to carry out this monthly update service in my own time and at my own expense".
He responded to a TV Licensing request for an update in 2012 by explaining that he did not need a licence and warned the company that he would charge it processing fees if he received any more letters, or phone calls or visits. When it (TV Licensing) refused to pay his bill he filed a claim with the county court in September. Excellent news, well done Phil or whoever you are! You have my full support, for which I will be billing you shortly!
Sadly Nick forgot to mention our blog, despite quoting Phil's words directly from it.
We are a little bit disappointed that Phil's story has not attracted more widespread media interest, given that TV Licensing harassment affects literally tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens every single day. TV Licensing sends an average of 100,000 red-daubed threatograms to unlicensed properties every working day, even though the BBC acknowledges that at least 80,000 of the recipients - who are threatened with £1,000 fines and criminal records - do not legally need a TV licence.
We are also disappointed at the dismissive reception given to Phil's success by certain members of the pro-BBC lobby. Given that more than 95% of civil claims are settled without the need for court action, they are wrong to brand the outcome of Phil's case as "not a proper victory" because TV Licensing failed to contest the claim. The simple fact is that TV Licensing could not risk contesting the claim. TV Licensing chooses not to present "detection evidence" in open court for the very same reason - the fear that their arguments will be picked apart and procedures thoroughly discredited.
Now that Phil has made a stand against TV Licensing's oppressive methods of enquiry, we really hope others will be emboldened to follow his lead. If you'd like to make TV Licensing pay for making you suffer, please check out our "Standing Up to TV Licensing Harassment" article.
Phil did and now TV Licensing is paying for his drinks.