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Before I begin I feel I should say that I am a bit surprised that there is no separate section for TV License issues.

 

That said, I don't have a television and I haven't had one for about eight years.

I realise that probably makes me look quite peculiar to most people but I used to watch about an hour a week on a Friday night

and then realised how much that was costing me per hour and decided that it wasn't worth it

- something like £2.00 per hour, if I remember correctly, and asked my then landlord to take it away.

 

He refused and I put the television in my wardrobe and wrote to TV Licensing explaining what I had done - they seemed happy with the situation.

 

Since then, I am so accustomed to my blissful TeeVeeFree life that I would not have one if Jonathan Ross personally installed

a gold plated 3D 60" 5.1 Dolby 8 valve organic FairTrade™ gluten-free Yamahonduki if the license fee was payable to me as reward simply for having the junk in my house.

 

I actually feel physically sick when I visit other people and their televisions are on - they never have the manners to switch them off when they have company.

 

Plus, I live in a rented unfurnished house with an aerial on the roof which drives me insane when it is windy.

 

That all said, I do have an HD projector and a Blu-Ray player because I enjoy occasionally watching my own choice of films.

And it is not a requirement to have a license unless you watch television programmes on any device, as they are being shown on TV' - their words.

 

But I still get regular letters from TV Licensing which border on intimidating.

I have written to them to tell them how I feel about the stupid things and invited them to come at their convenience to inspect my house.

But instead they keep sending me letters threatening with 'a visit' and to treat my address as 'unlicensed'. It is unlicensed! For a very good reason.

 

Surely, the license fee constitutes a service charge and the onus is on them to prove that I am using the service - not vice-versa.

 

Sure, I could simply play their game and fill in their forms every time I get a letter or phone the non-free phone number which does not have any indication of the call rates

- but I fail to see why I should simply to assert that my ownership of a television should not be taken for granted.

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The Ferguson v British Gas is a landmark ruling where it was concluded an individual can sue a company who pursue her with unwarranted demands for payment bordering on intimidation.

 

In theory it may be possible to pursue similar action against TV Licencing especially given the intimation and threatening tone of the letters AND the fact you have invited them round.

 

Alas in the real world it would take money and time, and whilst the Judge commended Mrs Ferguson comparing it to the little man (or woman) fighting back, the way the legals system works with high costs makes it almost impossible for anyone to do this and as a result the Judges opening comments do make him look a bit out of touch.

 

Perhaps if TVL were to be sued and start paying out large sums might make them rethink their approach which as we move into the age of Digital Tv and Tv over IP is becoming increasingly out dated.

 

Andy

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I colleague of mine had similar problems and he

stopped the threats by making a declaration to

a notary public saying that he did not own orr

use TV receiving apparatus.

Cost £25.

Any Letters I Draft are N0T approved by CAG and no personal liability is accepted.

Please Consider making a donation to keep this site running!

Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Horis Sapit: Animo et Fide:

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I've just been to my girlfriend's house. She is in a similar position to me except that she has been at the same address for over eight years and has not had a television in all that time and has told TV Licensing so. But like me, she is sick of telling them. Somewhat co-incidentally, she had a letter from them this morning as well - but hers is considerably more threatening.

 

It says:

 

You have not responded to our previous letters. We want to ensure that you have the information you may need before a hearing is set at your local court.

 

Please read the information below carefully and keep for your records. You will be allowed to take it into court with you.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Sarah Armstrong

Enforcement Division

 

----------------------------------------------------

 

What to Expect in court

 

If you are asked to appear in court, this is what you can expect to happen:

 

• You can appoint a lawyer to represent you, or you may represent yourself.

 

• If you are found guilty, evidence collected during an enforcement visit to your property could be used by the court to decide the penalty for TV License evasion.

 

• The court has the power to impose a fine of up to £1,000, plus legal costs.

 

• If your property needs a TV License, you will still need to buy one.

 

How to avoid a court summons

It is illegal to watch television programmes as they are being shown on TV without a TV License - no matter what device you use. The only way to stop this investigation from going any further is to do one of the following:

 

• Buy a TV License at
http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/pay
or by calling 0300 790 6097.

A colour license costs £145.50.

 

• Let us know you don't need one at
http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/noTV
or by calling 0300 790 6097. We may visit to confirm this.

 

 

Like me she has told them she has not got an idiot box and like me she has invited them to come and check for themselves.

 

She intends to ignore the letter and hope that they follow up on the threat of court action in order to make a point. And I shall do the same.

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It would appear nothing you do will keep them at bay, if you dont have a licence, they write asking why you havnt replied (even though they admit there is no obligation to do so), if you write and tell them you dont need a licence, they will write to you, (in case you are lying !).

 

I note they are recently telling companies that they shouldnt let employees watch live olympics on PC's this summer if the company has no licence, although its unclear how they would ever check this, how many licences would be needed and exactly who would be responsible for buying them.

 

Andy

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Can I ask a stupid question?

 

Have they completely shut down analogue television broadcasts? I only ask because I do have a high end VHS VCR which I use for video transfers of old material - I sometimes edit video in my spare time. I'm aware that the VCR has a TV tuner in it but it is not and has never been connected to the aerial - it's actually in the opposite corner of the room to the aerial socket. I ask just in case they do accept my invitation to call round and find it. But in some ways, it would make an interesting court hearing if they were forced to concede that owning a VCR with a built in analogue receiver would not enable anybody to watch or record television programmes.

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Not fully yet, in my South east region I think its tommorow, and then people need to re-tune their freeview boxes, etc.

 

Your question is good though, I suspect that TVL havnt got a clue, as far as im aware there have been no prosecutions for watching live TV on PC's and Phones and the law is hopelessly outdated.

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Before I begin I feel I should say that I am a bit surprised that there is no separate section for TV License issues.

 

That said, I don't have a television and I haven't had one for about eight years.

I realise that probably makes me look quite peculiar to most people but I used to watch about an hour a week on a Friday night

and then realised how much that was costing me per hour and decided that it wasn't worth it

- something like £2.00 per hour, if I remember correctly, and asked my then landlord to take it away.

 

He refused and I put the television in my wardrobe and wrote to TV Licensing explaining what I had done - they seemed happy with the situation.

 

Since then, I am so accustomed to my blissful TeeVeeFree life that I would not have one if Jonathan Ross personally installed

a gold plated 3D 60" 5.1 Dolby 8 valve organic FairTrade™ gluten-free Yamahonduki if the license fee was payable to me as reward simply for having the junk in my house.

 

I actually feel physically sick when I visit other people and their televisions are on - they never have the manners to switch them off when they have company.

 

Plus, I live in a rented unfurnished house with an aerial on the roof which drives me insane when it is windy.

 

That all said, I do have an HD projector and a Blu-Ray player because I enjoy occasionally watching my own choice of films.

And it is not a requirement to have a license unless you watch television programmes on any device, as they are being shown on TV' - their words.

 

But I still get regular letters from TV Licensing which border on intimidating.

I have written to them to tell them how I feel about the stupid things and invited them to come at their convenience to inspect my house.

But instead they keep sending me letters threatening with 'a visit' and to treat my address as 'unlicensed'. It is unlicensed! For a very good reason.

 

Surely, the license fee constitutes a service charge and the onus is on them to prove that I am using the service - not vice-versa.

 

Sure, I could simply play their game and fill in their forms every time I get a letter or phone the non-free phone number which does not have any indication of the call rates

- but I fail to see why I should simply to assert that my ownership of a television should not be taken for granted.

 

For everyone who thinks I am the only person in the world to hate the TV, I am going to show them this as proof that there is at least one other. I am a 39 year old woman and only use the TV for my games consoles and the odd cheesy zombie flick. I am so happy to find I am not alone, in fact, tbh, my husband and daughter aren't keen either on the old tellybox. Around 10 years ago, I suddenly woke up to the fact that TV programmes either depressed me or attempted to brainwash me and influence my choices and opinions. I have never felt freer since getting rid.

 

On another note, I have to say I have not had many problems with TVL. I just informed them of my situation and they never got in touch again, I have been at my current address for 8 years.

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I have no TV and took flack off the TV tax people.

 

I initially let them in to show them the flat was empty, and I was planning on using it for only short visits.

 

Some time later they appeared again claiming I may have bought a TV - I told them to go away.

 

Anyway all the harassing activity followed - so here was what I did...

 

Use the link on their site to tell them you have no TV.

 

Send them an email (same as for DCAs) telling them you are removing their implied right of access.

 

Do not tell them your name at any stage, and just use "the legal occupier" which was how they addressed me. They initially emailed a couple of times "for my name to confirm it matched their records" - but as they had no records this was just fishing - and I declined stating why. Fair enough - if they have your name - I see little point in not using it.

 

I also told them I found their letters harassing - I have a collection and some state the only way of avoiding prosecution is to pay them! So with each letter I complained and submitted a FoI request. Then another. Then another... They furnished most FoI requests with replies, which must have cost far more in man hours than any licence - but it seems to appeal a FoI refusal, you need to use your real name.

 

The last thing between us was they said they would need to check at some time in the future, as when I move they would need to check if there was a TV with the next people living here.

 

I have no idea what it would cost to sue them - but I keep thinking their letters fall into the criteria described in the Protection from Harassment Act - and probably some time in summer will get round to framing a complaint to them based upon that legislation.

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Excluding the "Renewal Overdue" letter, I've have 25 letters from them.

 

Additionally, I've had 5 "We said we'd call" message through the door, and 2 visits while I was in.

 

If they want to waste their time, and LF money, that's fine by me. :biggrin:

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Funnily - I am in the flat I mentioned sorting through papers. I have a bundle of 13 letters from the TV tax people that I have sorted through so far. If I can get a scanner to connect I will scan it as it sounds unlikely.

 

In the past they used to have a reply paid envelope included, and you could fold up a box of breakfast cereal to get it well over the paid weight - and then send it back to them.

 

Sadly they stopped doing this years ago. I wonder why!

 

Here's a summary...

 

1.Warning against unlawful action...

 

2.We catch around 1000 evaders every day...

 

3.Warning - you may be breaking the law...

 

4.This address is unlicensed - your details are being passed to enforcement officers...

 

5.Important - please call by 22 of June or passed to enforcement...

 

6.Official Warning

 

7.Official warning - this property is unlicensed...

 

8.We catch (same as 2)...

 

9. This address is unlicensed...

 

10. Important (22nd of June again)...

 

11.(yet another) Official Warning!...

 

12.We catch around 1000 a day...

 

13. (another) Official Warning...

 

There are still more in the bundle of unsorted things.

 

There's also a tonne of debt letters for previous tenants - most threatening visits and court, yet no DCAs have visited when I have been here - and no court papers either yet.

 

What's the sentence for opening old tenant's mail? :D

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Since my licence expired, I've had:-

 

Renewal Overdue

 

YOU ARE HEREBY GIVEN OFFICIAL NOTICE: THIS PROPERTY IS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

 

FINAL NOTIFICATION

 

(From this point, the letters were no longer addressed to me, but rather to "Current/Legal Occupier")

 

ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS HAVE NOW BEEN AUTHORISED TO VISIT BS98 1TL

 

***URGENT*** WATCHING TV ILLEGALLY AT THIS PROPERTY COULD LEAD TO SEVERE PENALTIES.

 

THIS PROPERTY IS STILL UNLICENSED. BE PREPARED FOR THIS INVESTIGATION TO LEAD TO COURT.

 

OFFICIAL WARNING: WE HAVE OPENED AN INVESTIGATION

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ENCLOSED - It's a criminal offence to watch TV without a TV Licence.

 

WARNING: THIS PROPERTY IS UNLICENSED

 

WARNING: YOU MAY BE BREAKING THE LAW

 

What to expect in court

 

What you need to know about the enforcement process

 

OFFICIAL WARNING: WE HAVE OPENED AN INVESTIGATION

 

WARNING: YOU MAY BE BREAKING THE LAW

 

What to expect in court

 

What you need to know about the enforcement process

 

OFFICIAL WARNING: WE HAVE OPENED AN INVESTIGATION

 

WARNING: YOU MAY BE BREAKING THE LAW

 

What to expect in court

 

What you need to know about the enforcement process

 

OFFICIAL WARNING: WE HAVE OPENED AN INVESTIGATION

 

WARNING: YOU MAY BE BREAKING THE LAW

 

What to expect in court

 

What you need to know about the enforcement process

 

OFFICIAL WARNING: WE HAVE OPENED AN INVESTIGATION

 

WARNING: YOU MAY BE BREAKING THE LAW

 

 

 

I wonder what the next one will be? :biggrin:

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Maybe they will threaten to detain you under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Clearly, anybody who does not watch television is mentally ill and needs locking up for their own protection as per Soviet Russia.

 

It just occurred to me how similar this is to the ubiquitous ownership of cars in America, the lack of footpaths and the crime of jaywalking.

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  • 11 months later...

My Great Aunt keeps being threatened with these letters. She is 86, its on her second home with no tv viewing equipment and no occupier.

 

I have escalated the issues as far as the BBC Executives as of this week. If this is not successful then i will be pursuing legal avenues despite the cost. I have already started consulting with legal departments.

 

The letters have been coming for over 2 years and they have been informed multiple times of the distress they are causing. They keep saying we are sorry but we failed to update our records correctly.

 

Age UK and the Local MP are aware of the situation. Safe to say i am furious.

 

Anyone else have any suggestions?

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All they are doing is checking, people do change their minds and install TVs where there wasnt one previously if you havent got one ignore the letters.

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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I'd re-read the Ferguson v British gas case to see if there are comparisons, in that case the answer could of been simply 'throw them in the bin' but thats not the point, if someone is genuinelly suffering distress and anxiety as a result of the letters then the damage is done and following the prescedent set in F V BG, it is possible to sue for damages especially IF you have notified the company time and time again, but personally I dont believe a case against TV Licensing would be succesful and bear in mind Mrs Ferguson did spend/risk a lot of money, this was very brave of her and commented upon by the Judge as a David v Goliath type battle.

 

Andy

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  • 8 months later...
Can I ask a stupid question?

 

Have they completely shut down analogue television broadcasts? I only ask because I do have a high end VHS VCR which I use for video transfers of old material - I sometimes edit video in my spare time. I'm aware that the VCR has a TV tuner in it but it is not and has never been connected to the aerial - it's actually in the opposite corner of the room to the aerial socket. I ask just in case they do accept my invitation to call round and find it. But in some ways, it would make an interesting court hearing if they were forced to concede that owning a VCR with a built in analogue receiver would not enable anybody to watch or record television programmes.

 

This is the reason that I will *not* allow an inspector to come into my home. Most homes have any number of gadgets (computer, iPad, mobile phone, etc.) that theoretically could be used to watch TV. I can't see any up side to letting an inspector in to see what gadgets you've got. I would anticipate that they would see the gadgets and use them as ammunition to shift the burden of proof onto you.

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My Great Aunt keeps being threatened with these letters. She is 86, its on her second home with no tv viewing equipment and no occupier.

 

I have escalated the issues as far as the BBC Executives as of this week. If this is not successful then i will be pursuing legal avenues despite the cost. I have already started consulting with legal departments.

 

The letters have been coming for over 2 years and they have been informed multiple times of the distress they are causing. They keep saying we are sorry but we failed to update our records correctly.

 

Age UK and the Local MP are aware of the situation. Safe to say i am furious.

 

Anyone else have any suggestions?

 

Did you proceed with your legal action? I would be most interested to hear how it progressed.

 

Have you considered contacting trading standards? I'm not sure if this is within their remit or not.

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All they are doing is checking, people do change their minds and install TVs where there wasnt one previously if you havent got one ignore the letters.

 

That's fair enough if you are secure in your innocence and you are smart enough to see through the weasel words. However, the letters are quite aggressive and clearly designed to intimidate and you can see from other posts in this forum and elsewhere that they really do cause some people a lot of anxiety. That's not really something we should be prepared to put up with.

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Have you considered contacting trading standards?

 

I tried that. They weren't interested.

 

The lady I spoke to read the back of one of the Threat-O-Grams, then said:-

 

"It says here, we'd like to stop writing to you, so it you contact them they'll visit and then stop bothering you, so they're giving you a way out".

 

Giving me "a way out" :roll:

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