"We called", goes the menacing tone of a TV Licensing calling card.
But did they really?
The BBC TV Licensing operations contractor, Capita Business Services Ltd, is responsible for the majority of customer-facing TV licence administration and enforcement work. Part of its role is to visit unlicensed properties and "encourage", by fair means or foul, the occupiers to purchase a TV licence, irrespective of their legal need to do so.
With only 300 TV Licensing visiting goons across the UK it is a bit of a struggle to get around the 1.5 million homes without a valid TV licence. To that end Capita sub-contracts security giant G4S to perform a significant proportion of the donkey work on its behalf. G4S, as you might remember from its abysmal handling of the London 2012 Olympics and private sector prisons, is utterly incompetent in the same manner as Capita.
Thanks to information recently released by the BBC, we know that G4S carried out 843,497 of these visits in the 12 months to 31st March 2015. Only 1.9% of G4S visits generated a TV licence sale, which compares to the 16.1% sales yield achieved by Capita-employed goons.
So why do G4S goons sell far fewer TV licences than their Capita counterparts? Well, in our opinion there are three main reasons:
- Firstly, and very significantly, Capita-employed goons are expected, as a basic condition of employment, to drum up as many TV licence sales as humanly possible. Indeed they can earn lucrative commission payments by doing so, which we suggest results in them hard-selling TV licences to people who don't legally need them.
- Secondly, G4S goons only engage in passive TV Licensing visits. This means they sneak up to the front door of the unlicensed property, surrepticiously slide a calling card through the letter box and then immediately slink away in retreat. They do not engage with the occupier in the same way Capita-employed goons do, so are far less likely to scare the occupier into buying a TV licence they don't legally need.
- Finally, a Capita-employed goon is able to generate a sale immediately at the time of visit, whereas a G4S goon cannot do that. A TV licence sale can only be attributed to G4S if the occupier, having received a G4S dropped calling card, subsequently buys a TV licence as a result of that card. For obvious reasons people are far less likely to act on the receipt of a calling card than they are the aggressive threats of a TV Licensing goon on their doorstep.
Supposing a G4S goon does visit your unlicensed property, then rest assured they are only there to drop off a calling card. They are not in a position to gather evidence for TV Licensing.
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