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  1. It's a sad reflection of the dishonest way TV Licensing does business that when it says "pay now and we'll not take any further action" they sometimes do anyway. A recent example is mentioned in this BBC news article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26727068 The gentleman in that article, recently bereaved widower Marcus Greenhouse, was summoned to court on TV licence evasion charges even though TV Licensing said he wouldn't be. He genuinely forgot to pay his licence when his wife died unexpectedly. He was only a few weeks out when TV Licensing decided to target him. TV Licensing can't be trusted.
  2. Yes, that's only the law requiring dealer notification (e.g. retailers grassing up their telly-buying customers to TV Licensing).
  3. If the Magistrates made a collection order, which they do with nearly all fines, then that authorises the bailiffs/debt collection company to come and seek payment. That incurs additional expense. Yes, it's legal. Your only option is to contact the fines office at the court, explain the situation and ask for the Magistrates to reconsider your circumstances. That will involve attending court again.
  4. That sounds like a pretty standard penalty to me. They've assumed a relevant weekly income of £200 and given you a fine at the bottom of Band A, no doubt reflecting your early guilty plea. Whenever they impose a fine they have to impose the victim surcharge, which is the greater of either £20 or 10% of the fine value. I was recently in court when someone got a similar penalty for being unlicensed for one week. Makes me think prosecutions are seen as a bit of a cash cow for Capita TVL.
  5. Before posting any more, let me explain that I have a close interest in the topic of TV Licensing. The licence fee is taxation that the BBC is responsible for enforcing and collecting by law (the Broadcasting Act 1990). The BBC chooses to contract that function out to Capita and all of the BBC's TV licence enforcement powers are delegated to Capita for that purpose. Capita do not sue anyone, but they do prosecute people who use a TV receiver without a licence. As I said, that responsibility has been delegated to them by the BBC. The is nothing in law that says how the BBC has to spend the licence fee. As for the amount of repeats, you're absolutely right that it's farcical.
  6. I was mistaken on the 120 days - it's actually 180 days (see my earlier post a few above). Capita bring the prosecutions on behalf of the BBC (who are the "Television Licensing Authority"). As long as the information is laid before the court within 180 days of the offence then Capita can proceed with the prosecution. What usually happens is that Capita inform the court, a summons is issued within about a fortnight, and the first hearing is scheduled about 4 or 5 weeks after that. They have to allow a reasonable length of time between the summons and hearing, as the defendant might wish to seek legal advice. If the defendant fails to reply to the summons then the hearing will still go ahead and they'll be found guilty and sentenced in their absence. Similarly if they plead guilty they will normally be sentenced in their absence, although they could attend if they wanted to. If they submit a plea of not guilty in response to the summons then at the first hearing their plea will be submitted and the court will adjourn matters for trial. The trial is usually about 6-8 weeks after the initial hearing.
  7. Correction, my bad: The times limit for laying information to the court, as set out in section 127 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1980, is 180 days.
  8. I know the answer to both of those. 1. If a "visiting officer" calls and establishes that an offence is being committed (e.g. the occupier admits or is seen using a TV receiver) then a Record of Interview form (TVL 178 form) is completed, which would form the basis of Capita's subsequent prosecution evidence (assuming they decided to prosecute in that case). The occupier is not given the option of buying a licence, although some of them tender the fee there and then in the hope it will undo their "misdeed". If the visiting officer accepts the fee then they do so on the understanding that it does not prejudice any subsequent prosecution case (e.g. even if the occupier pays for the licence, they could still be prosecuted for the offence). 2. TV licence evasion is a summary offence, which means it is only dealt with by the Magistrates' Court. The prosecution must lay its case to the court (e.g. set the legal wheels in motion) within 120 days of the commission of the offence. If they miss this deadline then the case cannot proceed. Quite often cases are brought to court close to that deadline, so their is less "wiggle room" for the defendant to consider their options. A typical case might be heard before the court 4 or 5 months after the commission of the offence.
  9. The old law (remember it's not law now) was farcical. The onus was entirely on the retailer (or "dealer" as the law described them) to collect the information. The buyer was under no legal obligation to provide the correct details; the retailer was under no legal obligation to verify any details they were give. As you can imagine, a lot of people simply made up an address on the spot. They also reckon it cost dealers around 10 pence for each notification they made, plus only 3% of those buying TV equipment were found not to have a TV licence anyway. The Government got rid of "dealer notification" because they thought it was costly, ineffective and unenforceable. On this occasion, I'm inclined to say the Government got it right!
  10. TV Licensing are in court that often that they have regular days of the week when their cases are heard. In a single court session (usually 10 am-1 pm or 2 pm - 4 pm) it is possible for the court to hear hundreds of TV Licensing cases, because quite often the defendant pleads guilty by post or simply fails to respond and is found guilty in their absence. It's a nice little money maker for Capita Business Services Ltd, who are the TV Licensing contractor responsible for bringing prosecutions to court. Normally they ask for around £60-100 in costs for each successful prosecution, which means they can rake in thousands a day in each court. Remember this is happening every week in around 50 different Magistrates' Courts across England and Wales.
  11. The law has changed and retailers of TV receiving equipment are no longer under any obligation to grass up their customers to TV Licensing. The change came into effect at the end of June 2013.
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