Over the years it's no exaggeration to say that we've seen literally hundreds of different TV Licensing goons plying their immoral trade on doorsteps across the land.
Much to the BBC's continued annoyance, we have also developed a good understanding of how those enquiries are meant to be conducted - indeed it would seem we have a much better understanding of the rules than most TV Licensing goons.
TV Licensing goons are expected to adhere to a strict Code of Conduct, but experience shows many are prepared to abandon the rules in a desperate bid to earn commission and meet performance targets. In particular, many TV Licensing goons are reluctant to confirm their identity when challenged by the occupier of the property they are visiting.
Below, for your education and entertainment, are some telltale signs that you're dealing with a TV Licensing goon:
1. TV Licensing goons drive their own private vehicle, which means they are far more likely to arrive in a clapped out Vauxhall Corsa than a sparkling new Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit.
2. Unlike genuine visitors, TV Licensing goons tend to park as far away from the property as they can. They do that because they do not want their vehicle to be identified on sites like ours. It is not unknown for TV Licensing goons to park up, go for a walk around the block, conduct their visit, then go for another walk around the block before returning to their vehicle and leaving under the cover of darkness. Some TV Licensing goons appear to disown their vehicles when retreating from a visit.
3. Despite what TV Licensing like people to believe, its goons only work during certain hours of the day (more info here). If you're watching Countryfile at 7 pm on a Sunday night (starring the gorgeous Ellie Harrison, who wouldn't?), then rest assured that a knock at the door probably isn't a TV Licensing goon. They all clocked off in time to watch Songs of Praise an hour earlier.
4. Genuine visitors normally head straight for the doorbell, whereas many TV Licensing goons have developed the perverted routine of peering through windows and letter boxes first. If the occupier is delayed answering the door for whatever reason, they shouldn't be surprised to find a TV Licensing goon with its greasy nose pressed against the living room window.
5. TV Licensing goons are required to "look clean and smart", but will invariably look like they've been dragged through a hedge backwards. It is not uncommon to see goons wearing stained t-shirts, ripped jeans, flamboyant body jewellery and offensive tattoos. Even female goons can have excessive facial stubble.
6. TV Licensing goons tend to carry a handheld device (like a PDA) and faux leather folder under their arm. Some sneaky TV Licensing goons try to conceal their handheld device from open view.
7. Out of common courtesy, genuine visitors tend to introduce them self when visiting someone else's property. TV Licensing goons go through a bizarre ritual where they expect the person answering the door to introduce them self first. We know of cases where TV Licensing goons have point blank refused to say who they were unless the person answering the door confirmed their name and occupier status. No normal visitor would ever behave in such an obscure and arrogant manner.
8. TV Licensing goons are renowned for asking stupid questions. They nearly always begin their doorstep patter by asking the person answering the door "are you the occupier?" That's even the case if the person answering the door is wearing their pyjamas or bath robe.
9. "Have you recently moved in?" is another popular opening gambit by TV Licensing goons.
10. As is "I've just come to get your (TV) licence sorted", blissfully ignoring the fact the property is correctly unlicensed anyway.
11. TV Licensing goons are renowned for telling lies. Favourite TV Licensing goon lies include "I don't work for TV Licensing" (as uttered by TV Licensing goon Paul Bale) and telling the occupier "you can't film me". We've even seen one TV Licensing goon falsely claiming to be from the gas board. TV Licensing goons often try to dodge an honest answer when responding to questions like "who do you work for?", "do you get paid commission?" and "do I need a TV licence to own a TV set?" Of course anyone reading this entry probably knows the correct answer to all three of those questions.
12. Most TV Licensing goons are camera shy. The acid test for recognising TV Licensing goons is if the occupier announces "wait there while I fetch my camera" and the unwanted visitor vanishes in a cloud of dust. TV Licensing goons are loathe to have their photo taken for the same reason they're loathe to have their vehicle identified.
13. TV Licensing goons are often too stupid, or ignorant, to comprehend simple instructions. We've lost count of the number of times we've seen TV Licensing goons outstaying their welcome or visiting WOIRA properties.
14. TV Licensing goons, like the ego-tripping little-Hitlers they are, can get stroppy if they don't get their own way. This often culminates in them breaking the rules by issuing legally-baseless threats like "I'll report you to the police" or "I'll apply for a search warrant".
15. At the end of an otherwise unsuccessful visit, TV Licensing goons are very keen to leave the occupier with a "We Said We'd Call" (WSWC) card. TV Licensing goons earn commission for selling TV licences. A proportion of TV licence sales are generated as a result of an occupier contacting TV Licensing after receiving a WSWC card. These sales are credited to the goon in question, which helps to boost their monthly income.