TV Licensing called and they assume you are guilty of an offence you haven't committed.
That's certainly the impression TV Licensing gives in the text of the We Said We'd Call (WSWC) card they left for landlord Jim the other day.
TV Licensing is the trading name used by the companies contracted by the BBC to administer and enforce the TV licence. TV Licensing are private companies, of which Capita Business Services is the most notable, acting on the BBC's behalf and with no special legal authority. TV Licensing is not an official law enforcement agency, yet it clearly believes it has the right to use its barbed tongue, veiled threats and baseless insinuations to scare people into buying a TV licence they might not legally need.
Below we deconstruct some key excerpts from the WSWC card. The truth is far less sinister than myths TV Licensing would have people believe.____________________________________
WSWC card says: I visited today to help you start watching TV legally.
The truth: Of course TV Licensing has no evidence whatsoever that the recipient is watching TV illegally. Indeed the BBC's own figures confirm that more than 4 out of 5 unlicensed properties are correctly unlicensed.
WSWC card says: Our records show that your address isn't covered by a TV licence.
The truth: That is probably correct, although a quick trawl of TV Licensing's Twitter feed reveals many licence-holders complaining that they too have been needlessly threatened by TV Licensing.
WSWC card says: I visited today to help make sure your address is licensed, so you can avoid the penalties of breaking the law.
The truth: As mentioned earlier, TV Licensing has no proof of wrongdoing. It implies wrongdoing solely on the basis that the occupier, who is under no legal obligation to assist TV Licensing, has not submitted to earlier enquiries. TV Licensing goons are incentivised to hard-sell. They have strict performance targets to meet and can earn lucrative commission payments by selling TV licences to people who might not legally need them.
WSWC card says: If an officer finds evidence that you're watching or recording TV illegally during our investigation, here's what could happen next...
The truth: Well under half of people caught evading the TV licence fee are actually convicted of the offence. TV Licensing will often withdraw a prosecution at the last moment if a TV licence is purchased or it appears the accused will mount a credible defence. Even in those rare cases that do end in a conviction, the fine is virtually always less than £300 and never anywhere near the £1,000 maximum often mentioned by TV Licensing.
WSWC card says: If you don't need a licence we'd like to stop writing to you.
The truth: This is another of TV Licensing's famous barefaced lies. No-one is under any legal obligation at all to confirm their compliance with the law to TV Licensing. Anyone that goes to the trouble of making a No Licence Needed declaration invariably finds that TV Licensing continues to send threatograms, demand access to the property or both.____________________________________
Our advice to anyone who doesn't legally need a TV licence is the same as always: Totally ignore TV Licensing.
Say absolutely nothing at all to any TV Licensing goon that visits your home. By saying nothing the occupier is depriving TV Licensing of its most effective weapon - information. Without information, TV Licensing is powerless to advance its enquiries any further.
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