Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

An Update: Civil Claims Against TV Licensing

Long time readers of the TV Licensing Blog will know that we are strong advocates of using the civil courts to hold TV Licensing to account.

We have previously written about our reader Phil, who successfully sued TV Licensing for the time and inconvenience of having to deal with its caustic correspondence despite having made it abundantly clear that he did not legally require a TV licence.

As the following figures demonstrate, it really is worth having a pop at TV Licensing via the civil courts. Based on the information available, most people who make a claim against TV Licensing are successful, so in our opinion the nominal fee (see table of fees here) of making a claim is worth the investment.

Not only are successful claimants refunded their fee, but every successful claim against TV Licensing further erodes its credibility and reputation. It is not the case, as TV Licensing would incorrectly have people believe, that it is not worth the bother of making a claim as the courts always side with TV Licensing - no way is that true. Every single claim is also an additional ball ache for the BBC and TV Licensing to have to deal with - it ties up resources and causes inconvenience.

It should be stressed that most of these successful claims will be in relation to instances where TV Licensing has refused to refund the licence-holder for whatever reason. In our experience TV Licensing is always very quick to coerce and accept payment from people, but deliberately slow and obstructive when processing refund requests. There is little doubt that TV Licensing likes to sicken refund claimants into submission.

In its recent response to a TV Licensing Blog Freedom of Information request (BBC ref: RFI20211456), the BBC has confirmed that 21 civil claims were made against TV Licensing since 1st January 2019.

Of those only 7 claims were dismissed, 9 were settled (e.g. TV Licensing paid out before a judgment) and 4 resulted in a default judgment against TV Licensing (e.g. TV Licensing, in characteristically arrogant fashion, didn't even bother to respond to the claim).

At the time of writing there is also one claim outstanding from earlier this year.

TV Licensing likes to highlight the number of default judgments, as if they are not real judgments in favour of the claimant. They are real judgments - just that TV Licensing was too arrogant (or lazy, or both) to bother responding to the claim.

Full information, as disclosed by the BBC, is as follows:

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2019:

3 claims dismissed; 5 claims settled.

Settlement amounts: £25.00; £763.42; £200.00; £37.19; £499.00.

2020:

3 claims dismissed; 3 default judgments against TV Licensing*; 2 claims settled.

Judgment/settlement amounts: £824.18*: £349.79*;  £2,095.17*; £392.59; £235.92.

2021:

1 claim dismissed; 1 default judgment against TV Licensing *; 2 claims settled; 1 claim ongoing.

Judgment/settlement amounts: £182.50*; £970.62: £402.12.

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Anyone wishing to make a claim against TV Licensing will need to send it correspondence outlining the claim and giving it a final opportunity to address the issue.

Much more information in our earlier Standing Up to TV Licensing Harassment article.

We wish anyone proceeding down the civil claim route the best of success and would ask them to kindly keep us informed.

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Sunday, 3 October 2021

TV Licensing Shysters Ripping Off Customers with Licence Backdating Scam

TV Licensing is ripping off thousands of innocent customers by automatically backdating their TV licences to cover periods when they weren't legally needed.

The shocking practice has been highlighted in a recent thread on the popular Money Saving Expert web forums.

Forum user alewin explains the situation: "My TV licence had expired at the end of July, when I was away just before that and returned recently. I did not tell them that I would not be needing a licence.

"Today I went to purchase a new TV licence (not renewal) as I did not want to pay for the full previous two months when I did not need one. However the new licence expires at the end of July, just carried on from when my old one finished. It did not start from today like I requested.

"What can I do? In hindsight maybe I should have used a different email address this time. Not very happy about it, I can't cancel it now can I?

"I paid in full via credit card."

For every other product or service in the world, the vendor assumes that if you don't pay then you don't need or want it.

TV Licensing adopts a slightly different interpretation, assuming that if you don't pay for a TV licence then you really should have done as you couldn't possibly survive without the legal need for one.

If a licence-holder subsequently buys a new licence for the same property, or renews their existing TV licence beyond its due date, TV Licensing will automatically backdate the new licence to cover any periods the property was unlicensed.

They do this irrespective of whether a TV licence was actually needed during that unlicensed period.

It is an unfair, discriminatory practice - exactly the sort of underhand tactic you would expect when dealing with a gutter organisation like TV Licensing.

In order to avoid the same problem, we would advise anyone leaving a legitimate gap between their current and future TV licences to contact TV Licensing in writing to explain the situation. Email is probably best, so there is evidence of the correspondence.

A quick "the property will be unoccupied between [X] and [Y]" is sufficient. No further dialogue is needed and no-one needs to prove their circumstances to TV Licensing.

If, having done that, TV Licensing still attempts to backdate the licence, then we recommend seeking further legal advice.

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Saturday, 2 October 2021

BBC to Pay Human "Crash Test Dummy" £1.6m for Injuries Sustained Making Programme

The BBC has been ordered to pay a former presenter £1.6 million in damages after using him as a human crash test dummy during filming.

Engineer Jem Stansfield, 50, who was one of the stars of science education programme Bang Goes The Theory, was left with life-changing injuries when he was strapped to a sled and catapulted into a metal pole, to simulate the effect of crashing a car into a lamp post.

Mr Stansfield, who has a degree in aeronautics from Bristol University, was left with permanent brain and spinal injuries as a result of the stunt.

He was originally claiming £3 million in lost earnings, but the BBC contested that amount. A High Court judge has just ruled that the BBC should pay Mr Stansfield damages in the sum of £1,617,286.20.

Mrs Justice Yip said the parties were in agreement that Mr Stansfield should recover two-thirds of the amount claimed for the injuries sustained when he was 42 years old.

She noted that the scientific communicator had a good level of athletic fitness at the time he was injured, citing footage of him balancing on his hands and scaling the BBC's White City building using a pair of vacuum gloves.

She said: "This claim arises out of the making of an episode of Bang Goes The Theory in which the claimant assumed the role of a human 'crash test dummy' for a feature about the relative safety of forward and rearward-facing child car seats.

"During filming on 8th February, 2013, the claimant conducted a series of crash tests.

"He was strapped into a rig like a go-cart which was propelled along a track into a post.

"In the introduction to the piece, the claimant explains that he had calculated the experiment to give a similar crash profile to hitting a lamppost in a real car in an urban environment.

"The crashes were performed forwards and backwards twice each. It is not in dispute, and perhaps not surprising, that the claimant suffered some injury.

"What is contentious is the extent of that injury and the consequences for the claimant."

Mr Stansted said he had been left with a myriad of symptoms, which had led to a decline in his general health. The BBC, is characteristically dismissive fashion, claimed that the injuries amounted to "little more than a moderate whiplash injury with depressive symptoms".

Criticising the BBC, the judge said: "I must say that I find it astonishing that anyone thought that this exercise was a sensible idea.

"On his own account to camera, the claimant was simulating a road traffic collision of the sort that commonly causes injury.

"It might be thought that someone of his intelligence and scientific background might have appreciated the risk.

"Indeed, in the finished piece, he rather prosaically observes, 'I wouldn't recommend this'.

"Equally, there was evidence that the BBC had actively sought advice, been warned of the danger, yet allowed the experiment to proceed."

The judge ordered the BBC to pay two-thirds of the sum originally sought by Mr Stansfield, after hearing that the parties agreed to joint liability.

Speaking in response to the judgment, a BBC spokesman said: "We take the health and wellbeing of everyone who works for the BBC extremely seriously.

"We keep safety measures on set under constant review and we made adjustments following the incident in 2013.

"We acknowledge the court's judgment in this complex case and wish Mr Stansfield the best for the future."

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