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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Sunday, 22 April 2012

TV Licensing: How To Complain

As increasing number of the legally licence free are choosing to make a stand against the heinous and deceitful tactics employed by the BBC and TV Licensing in the name of licence fee enforcement.

The law requires that a licence is obtained for any property where a device that is "installed or used" for "receiving or recording a television programme at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is received by members of the public".

If you don't use equipment as described above then you don't require a television licence. That is an unequivocal fact of law.

You would think, understandably, that if you don't need a licence then you simply don't bother to buy one. That should be the end of the matter, but it isn't. It won't take TV Licensing long to realise that your address is unlicensed and, given their misguided impression that no-one in the world can live without television, they'll want to know why. Be absolutely clear that no-one is under any legal obligation whatsoever to explain their non-licence status to TV Licensing, but they will make life uncomfortable for anyone who doesn't. It is a sad reflection of TV Licensing's Gestapo-like tactics that thousands of people are coerced into buying a licence they don't legally need, simply to achieve a quiet life free from harassment. It is an even sadder reflection of what Britain has become that they are allowed to get away with it.

As anyone who watches the BBC's Points of View programme will know only too well, complaining to the BBC is rarely worth the effort. They always have an excuse for poor service and they always have the final say. The BBC and its employees are seemingly unable to accept any criticism, however justified. They think everything they do is faultless. If there's a problem it's one with the complainant rather than with them. Complaining to TV Licensing is no exception to this rule, but some people find it helpful to let off steam.

Anyone wishing to make a complaint about TV Licensing should use the following procedure:

1. To begin with write a letter of complaint to: Customer Relations, TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL.

2. If you receive a substandard response, as will probably be the case, escalate your complaint by writing to the Operations Director at the same address: TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL.
Remember to include the original letter of complaint and TV Licensing's substandard response. You should explain why you find TV Licensing's first response unsatisfactory - probably because it's come straight from a can and is so vague and generic in nature it does little to address any of your concerns.

3. If you are dissatisfied with the Operation Director's response then you can escalate your complaint from monkey to organ grinder. The next step would be to complain to the Head of Revenue Management at: BBC TV Licensing, 2nd Floor The Lighthouse, BBC White City, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ.
Again you should include copies of all previous complaint documents and explain why you are dissatisfied with earlier responses.

4. If you are dissatisfied with the Head of Revenue Management's response then you can write back and ask them to escalate the matter to the BBC's Executive Board. The Executive Board will review all the previous documents and decide whether or not to uphold the complaint.

5. If you are dissatisfied with the BBC Executive Board's decision then you can complain to the BBC Trust, which will make a final decision about whether or not to uphold the complaint. Further information appears on the Trust's website.

Despite the complaints process being time-consuming and convoluted, we encourage people to use it for the simple reason that complaints against TV Licensing are externally-monitored and do attract negative comment about the organisation.

We fully believe the complaints process is designed to sicken complainants into giving up. It's a bit like TV Licensing issuing baseless legal threats to sicken legitimate non-TV-viewers into buying a licence they don't need. It's just the way the BBC works, thanks to the unique and anachronistic way it is funded.

Edit (23/7/13): Updated address details.


Anonymous said...

I rang their 0300 number on behalf of my friend who was on the receiving end of the bullying from TV Licensing (The BBC), my friend was very distressed and left the phone callfor me to handle and I have to say the attitude of their call centre staff was just as disgusting as their monthly threats. As soon as they realised the phone call was a complaint rather than to hand over payment details for a licence the tone changed rapidly into a sinister tirade of accusations such as "if you have a telly then you must have a licence today" and "we ARE going to send someone round to check if you don't pay today."

After I resolved the situation and stood firm they backed down only with another threat of "we have other methods......"

I can fully appreciate why some people would easily pay even if they don't need to just to keep these bullies away from the door and it sickens me that it is vulnerable people that TV Licensing prey on as easy targets.

Thanks to this blog the information is there to reassure people not to be bullied.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog. I thought I was alone. Getting TV Licensing to listen to me or accept any responsibilty for their disgracefully inadequate performance has left me in a Kafkaesque nightmare .

I was supposed to renew my license on 31 December. I forgot about it but paid in the full £145.50 on 3 Jan 2013. Some days later I had a call from TVL asking why I hadn't renewed. I explained the position. They were quite decent about it, said it probably hadn't appeared on their system yet, and urged me to get a mini-statement from my bank showing the payment - just in case I needed to prove I'd paid. Famous last words!!

The next month I had a letter. Why hadn't I renewed blah blah. I phoned and explained all over again. They asked me to send in the mini-statement. I did. That wasn't good enough, they asked me for my bank statement. I sent it in. It clearly showed the payment to TV Licensing going thrugh on 6 January.

I got a letter in May apologising for the cock-up and confirming that I had paid in. I did not however get a TV License. I thought nothing of it - foolishly, I believed that since I had paid them the money, I had some sort of electronic license (their website is urging people to get their 'online' license, so you can see why I might think this was the case for me).

I continued to get abusive and threatening letters. I phoned them telling them I had paid. They apologised and told me to forget about it.
Which I did till the next threatening letter. And the next, which was accompanied by a pink note, this telling me I could expect an inspection.

Well I had the letter from May apologising for their cock up. Surely they'd realise they'd made a mistake.

Not a bit of it. This Monday, 21 October, while I was out, my grandson had a visit from one of their inspectors. My grandson explained my side of the story. The inspector wrote things down on a form. He asked my grandson could he come in, which grandson refused - grandson also refused to sign the form.

I got home to find this missive with a caution on it like the police give you, nothing at all about what my grandson had said, just confirmation that no license could be produced, and at the bottom, the threat of a fine etc.

Well I ain't very well. I have severe clinical depression compounded by recent redundancy and financial worries. So you know what I did to try and stop the grief and rage and pain at being caught up in this nightmare where nothing I do makes any difference to this juggernaut. I took a scalpel yesterday and I cut myself over thirty times on my legs. Not enough to be a threat to life or anything - but enough to make the blood run and enough to stop the grief for a while.
My grandson knows nothing about this cutting, but he could see the gibbering mess I'd become.

He rang TVL to try and remonstrate with them about what they were doing to me. They refused to treat with him - said I had to ring and give them permission to allow him to act as my representative. How in the name of God does that one work? They have driven me mad - I can't go out of the house let alone hold a conversation with anyone, least of all TVL.

I am not the only desperate person out here, there must be thousands of us affected badly by the economic downturn, there must be others in a similar state of mind. Have these TVL money-grabbing scum any idea what their bullying incompetence is doing to human beings?

Admin said...

Thanks for telling us your story and I'm sorry to hear that TV Licensing has made your life so difficult.

As you have observed, they are complete and utter bastards. Worse than that, complete and total incompetent bastards - just like their BBC bosses.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just wanted to share my disappointment, along with millions of others regarding the antiquated extortion of finances via a TV licence. This is just a rediculous abuse of authority in the name of greed. Do you not think it is about time the residents of the UK got a break from being scammed. It is no wonder that the UK is known as 'rip off Britain' worldwide. Such a disappointment to be financially abused by your own government. Time to get with the times..!

Olympia Carvalho said...

I am having the same problem at the moment with tv licence. They are ripping people off and such bullies! I have never owned a tv, My sister and I moved into our new place a few months ago, We kept getting these tv license letters so i myself took the liberty to contact them to let them know that we are new tenants and we don't have a tv, They sent someone round which i let in to show him we had just moved, he saw that the place was empty, we had no tv and he said that everything was fine. 1 week later I was hit with a fine of 500 pound saying i had not paid my tv license, I was choked and felt violated! The following week, it had gone up to 735 pound and the letters were threats that they will come and repossess my things. It's still ongoing, it's ridiculous. I don't even have a tv and on the paper it says 12 February 2012. I was living abroad in Miami in 2012 and i moved into this place on the 28 th July 2014 therefor these scumbags have taken my name and passed the previous tenants debt onto me! If this matter proceeds, I will be force to take them to court!

Anonymous said...

i purchased a full tv license on the 16/6/15 for £145 however when i contacted tv license it appeared they back dated the license and now my 1 year license only lasts for just over 1 month ..... however i can pay for my tv license by weekly card installments at £4-50 each week
what annoys me is i never watch BBC and havent in years and when the woman at tv license said it paid for all channels i stated that was rubbish as its only the BBC who still refuse to run their business with advertising
i dont want to break any law and thats why i purchased the full license however someone needs to crush the BBC bullies and bring the tv broadcasting into the 21st century .... also you shouldnt be treated like a criminal for not paying the BBC .... this is just like protection rackets ( eg "you pay us or will will pay you a visit " )

Anonymous said...

It is my address and a figment of their computers imagination who is in trouble this time. I think I got the first envelope around March/April 2015? It was addressed to a Mr J. Bishop, who didn't live here. As new neighbours had just moved in next door I presumed it was for them and someone had sent correspondence to the wrong address, so I posted it through their door. A few weeks passed and another envelope arrived, by which time I had found out that our new neighbours were named "Roden" not "Bishop". So i crossed the address through and wrote on the envelope "Please return to sender, person not known at this address".

A few weeks passed and another envelope arrived. Wanting to find out who keeps sending them, I opened it, to discover it was from TV Licensing asked Mr. Morris to pay for his TV License. I wrote a letter to the address on the back of the envelope and enclosed the original letter, asking them to remove this name from their database, as Mr. J> Morris did not exist. (This was on the 25th August 2015).

A few weeks later, yet another envelope! I wrote "Return to sender" on the front and wrote in large print on the back to stop sending these letters to my address. I lost count of the number of letters sent to this address, but I think the last one (received 2nd November) was number 5!

I started to write the same information on the back, but noticed that this envelope was slightly different, in that it had an extra polythene window with the words "please act before 9 November 2015" - so I opened it, to find a letter of demand for payment and a threat that an "Enforcement"visit would take place on that day to see Mr. Morris (good luck with that, because I haven't been able to find him yet!!)

I then went on the TV Licensing website to complain, I filled in the on-line form, made a copy of the latest letter and sent this with a letter of complaint to the address on the back of the envelope at DL19. I also sent a copy to the Customer Relations at DL89.

In the meantime, purely by coincidence, I had recently paid on line for MY OWN TV license and had received a confirmation email. I sent this to the complaints department on line, as proof that I am the home owner and that this address has a fully paid up TV license.

All I can say is, PLEASE TV Licensing send a summons for Mr. J. Morris to pay his debt in court - oh wait, you can't HE DOESN'T EXIST.

I am now going to follow the complaints procedure to sue TV Licensing for harassment and stress.

Anonymous said...

Following up on the spiritually grounded Mr. Morris, who unfortunately is unable to move into the light because of this debt hanging over his head.

I got an email from TV Licensing, to say that their records had been updated and Mr. Morris will no longer receive any correspondence from them.

(I will be setting up the camcorder on the 9th November anyway, cos I would really like them to show up, could make an interesting addition on youtube)

Dave Akerman said...

We had our address corrected at land registry, after which the TV licencing system decided that we don't have a TV licence. So I called, found that they have our address duplicated, and that this would be fixed, and was told to ignore any subsequent letters. Of course the letters kept coming despite 4 further calls to the morons and 1 letter. At this point I'm looking forward to meeting one of the arseholes face to face.

Admin said...

We're looking forward to meeting one of their arseholes too Dave. Sadly the only time we see them is when watching court.

Anonymous said...

My partner and I have just returned from 4 month trip to Spain - during which the TV licence expired. Two days after we returned home we got a knock on the door and a TV licencing official stated that we were watching TV illegally and could he come in and give us a summons. My partner is 74 years old has never done a criminal thing in her life, was shocked to say the least and most upset. Getting a new TV licence was on our 'to do' list but we had only been back less than 48 hours and unfortunately we hadn't made it our top priority. After a fair degree of bullying and us refusing to pay 'on the spot' the officer said that he would get a bill sent to us so that we could pay at the Post Office and be legal. When the bill arrived it was addressed to a name in the wrong gender and name, so it was impossible for us to pay it. We telephoned them and after more bullying and difficulty in understanding each other they agreed to send another bill to us in the correct name, not before saying that it would be another week before we received it and we could not watch TV in the meantime - even suggesting we unplug all the TV's in the house or we would get another visit from the Licencing Officer.
How as it come to this that innocent pensioners can be bullied in their own homes by an organisation that we have no control over and is forced on to us. If this was a bank or other organisation then we there would be regulations and laws to stop it happening, but the BBC and their contracted bullies are beyond all decency and morales, picking on the easy victims.

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon.
As I'm sure you're aware, your situation is fairly typical of the way TV Licensing conducts its enquiries.

cyber said...

I too have been mercilessly harassed for 2 years as I have no TV but the TV dragoons simply won;t believe me!! They have sent about 20 letters and just won't stop - I have written to them about 20 times and emailed about 8 and rang them but they continue to bully and harass me as they cannot believe that we can live without a TV!!!

Tonight a TV checker came to visit me at 9pm!!!! I welcomed him in to see that we have no TV!!!! he seemed satisfied but honestly when will the victimisation stop???? BBC we hate you!

cyber said...

I followed your procedure and so far have had replies totally unconnected to my original complaint. Can they even read do you think?

Admin said...

They can read when it suits them. More often than not, it suits them to simply ignore.
As we said: the complaints process is made as difficult as possible, in the hope complainants will be sickened into submission.

Aud said...

Brilliant blog. Thanks.
Currently my son in law and daughter in nightmarish situation. Can't write about it as courts involved, but it is inhumane.

cyber said...

well i got y local mp to write to them and bingo they sent me an apology and the £40 compensation asked for! Thanks for the site and all who post.

M Lockyer said...

Historic Debts Port Talbot wrote to may partner, TV licensing visited an address in London and the person answering the door gave my partners name instead of his own, no checks on ID were made, my partner was living and working in Cape Town South Africa, ie he was not even in the UK. We have been to two magistrates Court with his passports to prove this, but the Courts have not updated the system, and we are in the middle of a nightmare, a written complaint has elicited the rudest and most abusive letter from the TV licensing Complaints department, my friend has lost two days wages, plus costs to travel to London to attend Court. Our MP has referred this to the QC, but tv licencing do not give a damn and say they don't keep records that long, The COURTS do, and we are making a claim for miscarriage of justice and have reported the Identity Fraud to the Police, the flat was and still is Council run, so there are Public records on who the real culprit was, but no one wants to help us.

Unknown said...

I have continously received letters from TV licensing saying that I don't have a license when I do, I ring them up and complain and then I have records of my calls on their system and they don't even know why this is happening it's a complete farce the whole system but it's nice to know I'm not alone, maybe they should have a better system in place and communication within their company and work as a team. It's disgraceful!

Kirsty said...

I too am having major issues with my tv licence. An investigator caled at my property on 29th of Oct after my dd hadn't cleared due to me being on the sick due to a very difficult pregnancy. I tried to resolve the issue but was unable to.my son was then still born on the 12th of Nov. I acruelly had to suffer the indignity of sending my sons death certificate to tvl to prove I wasn't lying. ...They still put it to the courts now have a 240 fine to pay all because they couldn't be bothered to open the email with my sons death certificate attached. Disgusting :(

Lee said...

The whole process is a disgrace. I have an empty property, unfurnished and which until recently was rented out. The kind of bullying, threatening letters sent out about the absence of a TV licence is staggering. I believe the BBC have outsourced the administration of the licence fee to Crapita [SIC] and so the BBC probably believe the tactics are not the BBC's problem. A bit like George Bush rendering prisoners to despotic regimes for torture and interrogation and denying any involvement.

I'm not bothering with the formal complaint process, as I have neither the time nor the stamina to cope, as I've recently had serious health issues, but if someone at the BBC reads this blog I hope they will give some thought to these Gestapo-like tactics.

Anonymous said...

These people are crooks and lowlife. Its amazing how our crooked politicians align with this scrummy organisation. I would sell the BBC off and fire the lot

Unknown said...

I have always paid my TV licence by direct debit every quarter. However, I moved into sheltered accommodation in January 2018 where there is a concessionary fee for the TV licence. I informed the appropriate TV licence Department about the move and that I should now just be paying the concessionary fee rather than the full licence fee. This fee was paid by me and the other tenants. The TV Licensing have made a mess of the whole situation and caused me to become anxious and stressed. Despite my phone calls, emails, letters, they keep demanding the full fee from me. My last letter demanding I pay the full amount was on 21 July 2018. Each time that I phoned about my situation I was given different information - one letter I received stated that I was covered until March 2019, the next letter stated that information for the concessionary licence had been received and all was in order I did not need to pay anything - this was then followed by a third letter demanding payment in full for a TV Licence. It seems that one person does not know what the other is doing. Their handling of my situation is totally inadequate and should not be allowed. Since writing this I have posted off 2 more letters of complaint and 3 emails - I am totally fed up with the whole business. I do not know where else to turn.

Anonymous said...

I have been fixing a property that was run down now me and my colleagues listen to music as we are working unknown was a a woman walking about for several hours this woman came and asked me my name and what I was doing there so I explained doing some work a few weeks later a letter came to that address in my name saying I was on the payment scheme so me being me rang them told them my address where I was living at the time I however did move there eventually however I received a bill for £680 of collect is on behalf on TV licensing the date of birth is wrong on the the TV licensing scheme I have all the evidence gathered up signed dated etc no one from the BBC the court or collecta will come and verify the evidence so what can I do to resolve this

CH said...

We're moving house and to another country where we no longer require a tv licence and I've been trying both online and by phone to inform them of this. Following numerous (at least 9) unsuccessful attempts to advise them of this via their unbelievably appalling website where, after all relevant details had been input, 'submit' continued to fail, and (to date) 4 telephone calls where, after giving all the same relevant details, have been cut off with an 'all our operators are busy, try our website' response with absolutely no option to hold/wait for an operator to become free.

They are truly and shamefully appalling.