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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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

TV Licensing Drop Dubious Prosecution Case

TV Licensing has dropped another prosecution case, which hinged on what can only be described as questionable evidence.

At the start of June we wrote an article about Tony, a West Yorkshire resident, who had the misfortune of experiencing a visit by a TV Licensing goon. Please refer to that earlier post for some background to Tony's case. The Record of Interview form, TVL178, produced as a result of that visit is shown below:

Let us pick up from where we left off last time.

Our closing remarks were: "We have advised Tony of the inherent flaws in TV Licensing's evidence and are encouraging him to attend court and plead not guilty. Having heard several allegations of TV Licensing 'creativity' in the past, we are inclined to believe Tony's chain of events."

TV Licensing rely very heavily on the fact that most people they "bust" will be so legally unaware and scared of publicity that they'll simply roll over and plead guilty by post.

Court is like a "sausage factory" to TV Licensing. They'll book an afternoon of court time and throw literally dozens of cases at the Magistrates for what is sometimes tantamount to a rubber-stamping exercise. As very few defendants appear in person the rulings invariably go in TV Licensing's favour.

The last thing TV Licensing want is for the defendant in one of their more dubious cases to appear in court and publicly discredit their evidence. Tony was in the ideal position to do just that. The contradictions on the TVL178 were very clear for all to see, plus he had a witness prepared to testify that the goon asked him to plug in the Sky box.

On our advice Tony rang TV Licensing's prosecution team and indicated his willingness to attend court and tear their evidence to shreds. Sphincters no doubt went into spasm at that point and it was only a matter of time before TV Licensing pulled the plug.

Within a couple of days TV Licensing rang Tony and confirmed they were dropping the case. A court letter, shown below, has just arrived confirming the same.

In our opinion Tony's case is just the tip of the iceberg. We consider that there are probably thousands of TV Licensing prosecutions brought annually on the basis of questionable evidence - questionable evidence produced by some goons more concerned about earning commission payments than serving the public interest. Many of those defendants could avoid court altogether if they were knowledgeable enough to challenge TV Licensing on the quality of their evidence.

We would encourage anyone in similar circumstances to Tony to please get in touch with us before doing anything else.

In closing, we shall highlight some important learning points from Tony's recent success:
  • Never allow TV Licensing into your home voluntarily. Simply keep quiet and close the door on them.
  • Do not trust TV Licensing goons. They are commission-driven salespeople, who sometimes bend the truth and rules to secure their bonus payments.
  • If you are careless enough to arrive in the situation where you receive a summons for TV licence evasion then seek advice immediately.
If you've found this article of interest you might also like to read about the high profile cases of Steve Heather and Michael Shakespeare, who have their own interesting experiences of TV Licensing prosecution.


TGR Worzel said...

Good advice, as always...

Admin said...

We'll stick with the words "questionable evidence". There is no doubt that it is questionable, as it is riddled with inconsistencies.

Admin said...

Sharper observers may notice that we have sadly had to remove the second comment. We loathe censorship, but consider it necessary in this case.

We do not disagree with the commentator's sentiments, but unfortunately his choice of words was a bit too forthright!

Veg said...

No doubt the goon will get a b0ll0cking from goon central for such sloppy collection of evidence. Absolutely underlines the advice to say nowt and slam door on the paedo funding scum. Videoing them on phone cam is good too.

Anonymous said...

Now why does the TVL goon want someones National insurance number?
Is it to put it in the 'dishonesty blacklist' database to try and wreck someones employment prospects?

Admin said...

I suspect it could be something to do with trying to verify their income. If the goon is successful in getting them to court, the court will require an idea of their income before imposing a fine.

Anonymous said...

The moral of this story might be to not to tell TV Licensing that you will attend, but just to attend the court.

Anonymous said...

I'm due in court on 27th Aug, goon called on 2nd April and gave me a new payment card, saying 'Pay £5.60 today and keep up the payments and you'll hear nothing more'. I paid on that day and have since paid in full, but because TVL didn't receive the payment until the following day, 3rd April, I have been sent a summons. The young man I spoke to today on the phone said this is also because I have been fined previously.

Anonymous said...

Goon called at my house on 2nd April and gave me a new payment card, told me to pay £5.60 that day and keep up regular payments and no more action would be taken. This I did but because that payment wasn't received by TVL until the following day (3rd April) I have now been issued with a summons for 27th Aug. The license was paid in full by 28th June with no more reminders. The young man I spoke to on the phone today said it's probably because I've had a previous fine for non payment and there was nothing he could do. I plan to plea not guilty and supply copies of my license and payment receipts.

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon.
It is unfortunate that you hadn't read our blog earlier, because if you had you would have known how to deal with your goon back in April (e.g. say nothing, slam door).

TV Licensing goons are not empowered to broker non-prosecution deals on the doorstep. Any pretence that paying up will get you off the hook is just that - pretence. The goon's quite happy because he's earnt his commission by getting you to court. We have seen cases where TV Licensing prosecute people for as little as one week's unlicensed TV use. They really have no compassion when it comes to individual circumstances.

It is no good pleading not guilty unless you are quite sure a valid licence was in place at the time of the goon's visit.

If you'd like any further advice please feel free to email us.

Unknown said...

I have received a court summon similar to Tony's. I was about make a guilty appeal, when I fortunately stumbled upon your blog.

When the agent was allowed to come in, my TV was not on standby and the aerial was not plugged in. He has circled that my TV set was on Standby and in the next line where he has to mention Programmes seen/heard he has stated that printed Bargain hunt - till now we do not know what this programme is all about. When he has circled TV on standby which is not even the case, now he asys that he has seen and heard Bargain hunt. What should I do please help.

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment Salvacao Reveredo.

Based on what you've said it sounds like there has been some "creativity" on the part of the goon.

Is there any chance you can email us some more details and a scan of the TVL178 form? That's the form that the goon "completed" during his/her visit.

If things are exactly as you say then it is worth calling TV Licensing's prosecution team at Darwen and explaining that the form they've sent you bears no resemblance to what actually happened. If you tell them that you're prepared to plead not guilty and argue in court how inaccurate their evidence is, that may well encourage them to drop the case before it gets that far.

Please do feel free to contact us by email too.

Anonymous said...

I have personally been subject to these underhand and criminal actions.

Anonymous said...

I have been subject to these underhand and criminal tactics.
Way back in the late 1990's my computers graphics card died, as I use my computer for work a replacement was needed asap.
The nearest computer shop to me was a Maplins store.
So off I scuppered to buy a replacement card.
I grabbed a cheap 64MB AGP card (it was the late 90's lol)
Upon purchasing the card the cashier asked if I would like a Maplins catalogue, I accepted and gave them my name & address and left.
4 days later a TVL goon arrived at my home, he stated that Maplins had informed them I had bought a TV (I kid you not)
I explained he was sorely mistaken and I had simply purchased a GFX card for a computer.
I even went and got the receipt and the box (whilst making him wait outside)
He took a look at the receipt and said"yes, I can see this is just a GFX card and not a TV or TV card"
He then asked me to sign the TVL178 which I did and I assumed that was the end of the matter.
How wrong I was, about 6 weeks later I received a judgement through the post from my local magistrate court stating I had been fined £95 for failing to have a TV license.
I never received a summons, I have no idea what the TVL goon fabricated on his TVL178 but since I will NEVER pay a penny to the BBC (even if I did buy a new TV) - I do not own one.
Thanks to blogs like this I have served them notice of my removal of implied rights of access and they have stopped hounding me every few months with threats of being prosecuted even though I do not own a mind control box!

TVL are F****** lying scum!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just received a summons when I looked at the TVL178 form there are inconsistencies. I'm trying to call TVL prosecutions office but it's constantly engaged. Any advice on what to do?

Anonymous said...

I have recieved a summons for not having a tv license. On the statement it reads i watched my tv a week ago and the date of birth has got me down as born 1958 when infact it is 1988. Do i have any leverage because of this?. Thank you in advance.

Admin said...

If the TVL178 form says: "When did you last use the set for watching live TV programmes here? - A week ago" then that is the response someone gave to the goon when questioned and it would be valid. Of course, TV Licensing goons don't always tell the truth, so if you don't remember saying that then please get back to me.
Minor errors with dates of birth do not invalidate the summons.

Anonymous said...

I have signed the 178 form but I had payed the license a long time ago. What should I do if I do go to court?

Admin said...

If you can prove you a valid TV licence for the property in question, you simply plead not guilty and tell the court that. Bear in mind that the licence is only valid if the correct address is printed on it. TV Licensing can also revoke licences paid for by Direct Debit if the licensee misses any of the payments.