"Your details will be passed to our Enforcement Division for investigation. Enforcement Officers are authorised to visit your property at any time of the day", is typical of the menacing tone of TV Licensing threatograms.
But what does it actually mean to be investigated by TV Licensing? And what tactics does TV Licensing employ during its relentless quest to prove the negative of TV reception?
Pull up a sandbag, as we dispel some of the myths surrounding TV Licensing investigation.
TV Licensing often publicises the fact that it maintains a database of around 30 million addresses. These addresses, which are commercially available in the Royal Mail Postcode Address File, are cross-matched against the addresses of properties with a valid TV licence. Whenever there is a mismatch TV Licensing will seek to establish the reason why, which it first does by making postal enquiries.
We have previously written at length about the format of these postal enquiries, so don't intend to cover old ground now. Suffice to say TV Licensing relies very heavily on the impact of sending threatograms to unlicensed properties. As far as TV Licensing is concerned the threats, lies and innuendo are entirely justified because it scares a lot of people into paying for a TV licence, whether they legally need one or not. It's also a lot cheaper to threaten people via their letterbox than it is via their doorstep.
Of course, the occupier of a correctly unlicensed property is under no legal obligation to assist TV Licensing with its enquiries and we strongly discourage them from doing so.
So what happens if the occupier of a correctly unlicensed property takes our advice and ignores TV Licensing's demands for information?
Not a lot is the answer.
Encountered with wall of silence, TV Licensing will puff out its chest and continue to send monthly threatograms. The occupier will get to recognise TV Licensing's handiwork and should immediately place these letters in the bin. If the threatograms were opened, the occupier would notice a month-by-month escalation in TV Licensing's urgency and aggressive tone. Eventually the cycle of letters would repeat itself.
In some cases TV Licensing might send a goon to visit the property, but that's by no means certain. Even if a goon did visit, the occupier is under no legal obligation to answer their questions or allow them access. The occupiers of some properties might be happy to allow TV Licensing voluntary access, but we strongly discourage them from doing so. Even apparently "friendly" TV Licensing goons have the ability to knife the occupier in the back, when it comes to earning commission and achieving nigh on impossible performance targets.
We really can't stress enough that by far the best method scuppering TV Licensing's "investigation" is to do nothing at all. Without information TV Licensing is powerless to act, despite its pretence otherwise.
Ignore TV Licensing letters by placing them straight in the bin. Immediately close the door on anyone identified as a TV Licensing goon.
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