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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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Thursday, 2 April 2009

BBC Trust Completes Licence Review

You might remember that the BBC Trust were conducting a review of the television licence. The Trust - an allegedly independent body tasked with ensuring the Corporation delivers quality and value to the licence fee payer - has just published its conclusions.

The lengthy document is available for full download here, but the BBC kindly emailed this summary of key review findings to everyone who completed their online questionnaire.

Summary of review findings:
  • Most of you thought that it was fairly clear when a TV licence was needed. However there was some confusion about watching TV programmes on a computer or a mobile phone, for example when using the BBC’s iPlayer. We have asked the BBC to make it clearer to people whether or not they need a licence in these situations.
  • Most of you thought that the BBC offered a good range of ways to pay for a TV licence, and the ways were on the whole suitable for you. A small number of people would prefer to be able to pay at the Post Office rather than at a Paypoint. We understand this concern, but having looked at all the evidence we think that using Paypoints offers better value for money for licence fee payers overall.
  • Some people felt that the rules about the monthly direct debit scheme were confusing and potentially unfair. In particular it seemed unfair to some people that in the first 6 months of a new licence you have to pay for a full 12 months’ worth of licence. Any changes to the rules about this have to be decided together with the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport. In our report we have suggested that they should look at the schemes to find out whether they could make them simpler for people to use in the future.
  • One of the most important findings was that a lot of you thought that the letters the BBC sends to people about TV licensing do not always meet their aim which is to be clear and concise, and polite but firm. Many of you told us you thought the letters are threatening and rude, and that they presumed guilt. We have asked the BBC to improve the tone of their early letters which are sent to people who have only just become unlicensed, to make sure these letters are not rude or threatening. However, for properties which have been without a licence for a long time, the tone of the letters will stay broadly the same.
  • The majority of you told us that you thought the tone of the marketing and advertising about the need for a TV licence is not appropriate. Some of you felt that it is heavy-handed or intimidating. However when we did our focus group research, we found that many people thought it was the right thing for the BBC to run these kind of adverts to deter people who might not otherwise pay their licence fee. We didn’t recommend any changes to the tone of the advertising, but we did ask the BBC to find a better way to measure whether the advertising is working or not.
  • Some of you felt there are problems with record-keeping, and told us that you receive letters from TV Licensing when you already have a licence. The BBC is already working on this, but it our report we have asked them to make sure they keep trying to improve the database and that they find ways to measure how accurate it is.
  • Many of you told us that you do not have a TV set. Most of you felt that the BBC’s policy for people with no TV is not good enough. We have asked the BBC to make it easier for people who do not have a set to notify TV Licensing about this, because you told us you didn’t feel it was easy enough.
  • Some of you believe that you should not have to notify TV Licensing at all if you don’t have a TV. We understand this, and we do not think anyone should be forced to notify TV Licensing. But we do agree with the BBC that if someone does not have a TV but chooses not to let them know, they have no real alternative but to send letters to remind them about the law. This is because without contacting people, TV Licensing cannot tell which households do need a licence, and which do not have a set. We hope that by making the process easier, more people will choose to notify TV Licensing in the future. We think that the improvements we have asked for in the tone of the letters should also make them more acceptable people without a television.
  • Another recommendation we have made is that the BBC should not make any money out of customers when they phone up about their TV Licence. To make sure this happens we have asked them to change all their telephone numbers to start with 03 instead of 084. 03 numbers are guaranteed to cost no more than a call to an 01 or 02 number, and they count towards any inclusive minutes in a phone contract (this includes landlines and mobile phones).
In conclusion: Many members of the public told them they didn't like TVL's advertising or letters, so they asked some tame BBC supporters (AKA their focus group) the same question to redress the balance. When they heard the answers they wanted they decided it was acceptable for TVL to continue sending their trademark threatograms and broadcasting their trademark "Big Brother is watching you" type propaganda.

Incidentally the summary above came from Lucy Tristam who works for the BBC TV Licence Management Team and not the BBC Trust.

1 comment:

Daddy Rat said...

The investigation carried out by the BBC Trust was a farce and weighs heavily in favour of maintaining the status quo. This is pathetic and is a signal to the rest of us that the fight must go on to protect our freedoms as British Citizens who have the right to watch the iplayer without the need for a TV license. It would also appear that there is collusion between the BBC Trust and the fat cat executives who dine out in expensive restaurants (probably with prostitutes) at the expense of license fee payers. These people are no better than criminals as there income is garnished from threats, intimidation and abusive conduct towards members of the British public which includes vulnerable single mothers with young children to feed. This corporation does not deserve the respect it demands via the license fee. The solution? Abolish the Royal charter and let the fat cats fend for themselves like the rest of us.