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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 BBC on-demand programmes via the iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a TV licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Sunday 28 July 2013

TV Licensing: TVL178 Record of Interview and Self-Incrimination Form

TV Licensing like to harp on about their massive database of unlicensed addresses, imaginary detection equipment and rarer than hen's teeth search warrants, but nearly all of their prosecutions hinge on a single piece of evidence - the TVL178 Record of Interview form.

An example TVL178 can be viewed in this earlier post.

The law requires that a licence is obtained for those properties where equipment is used to receive television programme services. In simple terms that means you need a licence to watch TV programmes on any channel available to others in the UK at the same time. [Edit: See note at foot of article].

Anyone that does not require a TV licence is under no legal obligation to communicate or co-operate with TV Licensing and we strongly advise they remain silent and immediately close the door on any goon that visits.

Should the occupier make the mistake of engaging with a TV Licensing goon, they may find that he/she attempts to caution them and begin to complete a TVL178 form. The form must only be completed when the occupier is under caution otherwise any evidence recorded thereon is worthless.

At the end of the doorstep interview the occupier is asked to sign the completed TVL178 to confirm its accuracy. The occupier does not need to sign the form, but may choose to do so. Suffice to say the form should only be signed once it has been carefully read and understood. We have heard of cases where the occupier has signed the form on the basis of what the goon says it contains rather than what it actually does. As you can imagine, signing an inaccurate form has the potential to cause all sorts of problems for the occupier.

Alarm bells should instantly start ringing if the goon wants to add anything to the form once the occupier has signed it as an accurate record. The occupier will be given a copy of the completed form for their own records, which they should keep safe until it is needed later on.

The completed TVL178 will almost certainly be the pivotal evidence in any TV Licensing prosecution case. As such it should be completed with the highest standard of accuracy and detail, but experience shows that is not always the case. In our experience the average TV Licensing goon is a bit dim, so their TVL178s are often completed with illegible handwriting and contain contradictory evidence that could be easily discredited in court.

Anyone summoned to court should scrutinise the completed TVL178 very carefully. The official copy provided with the summons should be compared to that received at the time of the goon's visit. If there is any doubt about the accuracy or completeness of the information on the form the occupier should contact TV Licensing's prosecution team, highlight the evidential weaknesses, and indicate their willingness to plead not guilty. Quite often TV Licensing will withdraw the case in these circumstances, as they want to avoid the possibility of their evidence being discredited in court.

For further information please download our free ebook, TV Licensing Laid Bare.

Edit (22/6/18): Please note that from 1st September 2016 a TV licence is also required to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer. A TV licence is still not required to watch or download on-demand programmes from non-BBC sources.


Admin said...

You must mean close the door?
It's been a long day!
Thanks for your regular comments and support Ray.

Unknown said...

Don't sign it.

Anonymous said...

If I didn't sign the tv78 form where do stand with the courts

Admin said...

An unsigned form still has evidential value, although clearly not as much as a signed form. You could be prosecuted even if the form went unsigned. If escaping prosecution was as simple as not signing the form, then no-one in the entire world would ever be prosecuted for TV licence evasion.

Anonymous said...

Escaping prosecution is as simple as not answering the door to them in the first place (or closing the door as soon as you realise it is them). But sadly a lot of people fail to do this.

worried said...

Thanks found that really useful. I had a visit today and he got through the door entry system by claiming I had a delivery (wasn't expecting one, can't believe I fell for it!!). Soon as I realised he was from TVL I cut the convo short and closed the door. He left a copy of the TVL178 he filled out by himself after I'd closed the door (I didn't sign it) in my mail box. Promptly got on the phone and set up a new direct debit with payment up front for first month. Hoping not to hear anymore but I guess you never know :-(

Anonymous said...

having recently won an appeal in the higher court and having an in depth experience of TV Licencing trickery people need to be made fully aware that you only need a TV Licence for watching LIVE TV when it is being Broadcast. Many Capita enquiry officers misrepresent themselves as being Enforcement officers They are not, Ask them to leave and DO NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS regardless of if they tell you you could be prosecuted if you have been asked Questions the one question on the form which will incriminate you is When did you last use the set for watching live TV programmes here ? If you have not let them into your home and you have been duped into signing this form you may also find that the question asked by the enquiry officer was not read to you as it should have been. In my case the question was When did you last watch TV? I have had conviction and sentence quashed because the evidence was insufficient breached PACE 1984 Guidelines. if the officer has been into your home Pay your fine If you were convicted in your absence and any of the above occurred in your situation Appeal to the crown court to have it overturned.

Anonymous said...

Worried:- you only need a TV Licence for watching Live TV by going out and buying a licence could be incriminating yourself best to cancel DD write to TV Licencing saying that you have been advised that you do not require a TV licence because you do not watch Live TV and felt pressured to by one because you were unsure following the visit from an enquiry officer TV Licensing have No right of entry into your home and they are more than likely to register your property as not needing one

Unknown said...

Hopefully this will explain my situation

Friday 21st July 2017
18.20 court summance

Firsty I am shocked to have recived this as I knew nothing about this so called caution I received. On wednesday 1st March john lyness called at my door. This was my 1st day minding my 9 month old son as my wife had just went back after 9 months off. John was very friendly and asked to come in. I certainly had no problem I had nothing to hide. I had my playstation turned on and it was currently paused for me to answer the door. John came in and sat down in the far corner. John never once checked our televison or leads. I was asked if I had a Tv liscence i explained i didnt as i had canceled sky due to my wifes maternity and as we live in a rented house the tv aerial was broke before we had came and we had no reason to need it fixed. I explained I had a playstation 4 which was currently switched on and used for gaming and we used this for netflix and dvds and had no real interest in tv. I explained to John we had previosuly had a liscence but with a new baby and no use of TV we just justify it as we really had no use for TV. John explained to me about a card which was £5.60 a week which I could ring for and meant I could use iplayer if I wanted again I explained BBC was of no interest to me. John said why not give it a go and if I dont find use for it and as I dont have sky just cancel the liscence he also stated he should not be telling me this but he understood that most people just use netflix or amazon prime. I thought what a great guy helping out giving advice and maybe Id just buy the liscence just incase. John jotted down a few things om a clip board and asked me to sign. Now stupidly as a niave young man nursing my 9 month old son chatting to John I signed away thinking John was just a great sales man who had talked me into a liscence I did not require. So john left and I rang the number for this card to be sent out. The card arrived a week later and I started to pay this but as of May we hadnt used any iplayer and our sky box was still not plugged in so we decided to cancel this. I
have confirmation of this dated 1st June.

Unknown said...

You can imagine my shock when a court summance came to the door almost 5 months later. I seen the caution on the back a caution I knew nothing about and yes although my signature was on it to me John was just filling in his paper work on me taking a liscence he never once mentioned anything about a caution which surely he would be legally obliged to do so. He also stated he checked my tv and that he checked bbc and bbc2 ... firstly john never touched the tv or remote as I had the playstation on and this remained paused on a game for the entirity of the so called interview also we have no remote for sky as its not used. Secondaly i do not have sky so he could not have checked sky1 also I believe sky1 is a channel that is paid for. He then proceeds to say bargain hunt was on when he came in, i am by no means knocking thier following but as a 25 year old man I certainly was not sitting down to Bargain Hunt. I believe as this document is falsified clearly for some benefit to John then surely it does not stand in a court of law also under the laws of communication John would have been legally required to inform me of this so called caution. I am happy to plead not guilty and take this matter further as one of your officers has lied and abused their position for commision. I am a professional man with a family to support and no criminal offences I certainly wouldnt have been risking a criminal offence for a tv liscence . I willing let John into my home and be never once checked my TV or leads if he had of he would have noticed the aerial broke and sky not plugged in. Also there as no mention of prosecution or court or caution I am not sure what kind of a game this is but I can completely understand why nobody lets strangers into their home professional are not. John may have had a name badge but it did not stop him from manipulating a young family or falsifying a document.
I feel he was nothing but a glorified sales man out to prowl on innocent people all to make some commision for himself

Admin said...

Thanks for posting your story.
You need to plead not guilty. Please see these articles for more information:

OS said...

So i just received a court summons to answer complaint. A guy from tv licence came out on nov last year. My tv wasnt on at the time as it was broken which i told him. He then gave me card and told me if my circumstances changed to use it. I then stupidly signed the interview form without reading it just to get rid of him. The interview form has been sent out with the court summons and he has wrote on it that i told him i was watching itv tipping point earlier that day! This is a LIE, my tv didnt even work. Do i have a leg to stand on in court because i already signed the form! What to do? Please help.

Admin said...

The fact you signed the form will go against you. They will say that it is a signed confession, which carries a lot of evidential weight. You can plead not guilty and put your point across, just like you have done here. The court will listen to everything you have to say. Just be honest - the goon made you sign something under false pretences, the consequences of which you didn't realise until you received the postal requisition. It will obviously be very helpful if you have evidence to prove your TV set was broken (although TV Licensing will undoubtedly try to say you had other devices in the house, which you should strongly deny). Are you sure it was a summons? Nowadays these cases are normally dealt with by the single justice procedure.

Anonymous said...

These people who come to one's door claiming to be TVL "Inspectors" etc have no more authority than the milk-man. They are sales people acting on behalf of a third party. You have NO obligation whatsoever to have ANY dealings with them - do not engage with them beyond telling them to go away and shutting the door in their face. They are committing a criminal act if they remain (call the police). They have no authority.

Likewise the threatening letters should be ignored and destroyed - the ONLY means by which these goons can enter a property is with a court order signed by a judge. Long before they get to that stage however the only means by which they can begin any kind of proceedings is by establishing you are a real person and that you have agreed to enter into a contract with the BBC. Have no communications with them whatsoever , it is NOT your obligation to do so.

When it comes to courts, the people who are fined tend to be the one's who have disclosed their details and signed on the dotted line. Most fines are the same. Nobody on this earth has ever been fined £1,000 outright.

p.s. Want to see them leave quickly? Then it might be a good idea to get a video camera and remain completely silent or film them being told to go away. They don't seem to like 'exposure'. And the LAST thing you want is these strangers in your house, including around children. Just ignore them and film their antics. Remember: they have zero authority and like the BBC are finding is harder and harder to sucker the masses :)

Anonymous said...

Is TVL 178 form the only piece of evidence that TV Licensing can use to Fine / Prosecute customers even in Scotland?
Does this form exist for Scotland as I have not been able to find even one for Scotland?

How about if someone signs a TVL/555 form in Scotland that says “I have delayed buying a license......” ? Could the person be prosecuted based on just the 555 form?

What is a TVL/555 form and can it be used for Prosecution? This form does not contain any questions as in the 178 form and only asks for name, address, phone number and sign of the customer. It also does not have any reference to the term ‘Caution’ as in 178.