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 or record live broadcast television programmes then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

TV Licensing: Licensed to Fleece Viewers

TV Licensing are ripping-off viewers by charging those that pay by quarterly Direct Debit a £5 premium on top of the £145.50 licence fee.

According to The Sun, who published the shocking revelations yesterday, the BBC benefits to the tune of £15 million a year by imposing the extra charge.

The article, which began on the header of the front page, begins:

"Three million hard up Brits are being forced to pay an extra £5 a year to watch telly - because they pay for their TV licence in instalments.

"The scandal is the latest to be highlighted in our Rip-Off Britain campaign."

It continued on page 11 as follows:

"The BBC is raking in an extra £15 million a year - by fleecing viewers who pay their TV licence quarterly.

"People without the cash to buy the £145.50 licence up front are stung with a £1.25 premium four times a year.

"It means 3 million budget conscious people hand the Beeb an extra £5 a year just to watch telly.

"And millionaires end up shelling out less for a licence than quarterly payers.

"The Sun today highlights the issue as part of our Rip-Off Britain campaign.

"Our own Del Girl tried to confront staff at TV Licensing's Bristol HQ to give them one of our Rip Offscars - for fleecing the needy. They refused it - so we posted it instead.

"A spokesman for TV Licensing last night said: "The TV licence fee and instalment payment options are a matter for the government."

The Sun also published a comment piece, which can be read in the image below:

We have previously discussed the way monthly Direct Debit payments also penalise poorer TV licence payers.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

TV Licensing Detector Van Sighted

Another TV Licensing detector van was positively identified in Liverpool a few days ago.

Footage of the van, registration number VX09 VZP, has been uploaded to YouTube by fellow TV Licensing opponent HHS. The registration number of this van is very similar to that of the TV Licensing van damaged in a collision only a few weeks ago. 

Prior to March 2014 all TV Licensing detector van sightings involved vehicles with CV09 FF? registration numbers, which leads us to believe the BBC has re-registered the vehicles in a lame attempt to restore their anonymity. Sadly for them, an increasing army of people are willing and able to identify TV Licensing vehicles and report their observations back to people like us.

HHS thinks the occupants of the van were conducting surveillance on his legally-licence-free property. He went outside with his camera and began to film events from the safety and comfort of his parked car. The goon in the back of the van exited, hopped into the front passenger seat and then the vehicle drove away.

The van had to drive within a few feet of HHS's parked car, so he got a clear view of both the driver and registration number. HHS confirms that the driver of the van was the same goon coincidentally snapped in a marked TV Licensing Transit a few day's earlier. The goon driver's image is shown below.

It might be time for TV Licensing to buy a few more toupees and fake moustaches for goons working in the Merseyside area, as we know most of them pretty well now!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

TV Licensing Legal Process: Asking Awkward Questions

Longer-term readers of the TV Licensing Blog might remember the case of YouTube user j2LightWorker, who had several run ins with TV Licensing back in 2012 despite having no legal need for a TV licence.

One of j2's more memorable encounters was with TV Licensing resident hard man Mr Grumpy, who is shown in the image below. Mr Grumpy, who is still employed in the West Yorkshire area by TV Licensing operations contractor Capita Business Services, is a particularly repugnant bottom-dweller even by their gutter standards.

Mr Grumpy oozed his way onto j2's Bradford doorstep back in January 2012, his nostrils flared with rage and brow furrowed with disapproval. Just like a politician the deceit rolled fluently from his forked tongue and with each forced utterance spittle flew high through the air. You can read all about that first encounter in our earlier post on the subject.  Indeed there are several earlier posts referring to Mr Grumpy, so you may wish to use the search facility to gain a full appreciation of his despicable modus operandi.

Anyhow, back to the story at hand. Towards the end of June 2012 TV Licensing actually executed a search warrant at the address in question. On what was a balmy summer's day two TV Licensing goons and two police officers entered the property through the already opened door. Like locusts they moved from room to room, looking for that nugget of evidence that would prove j2 had been receiving TV programmes without a valid licence. Sadly for them, they found nothing at all of significance. Despite invading j2's home and rummaging through his personal belongings, there was no TV receiving equipment. The goons left empty handed with their heads down and tails between their legs.

Scroll forward 2 years and j2 has now moved to a new home, but he remains perplexed, as we all do, about how TV Licensing were able to convince a Magistrate to issue a search warrant in the first place.

TV Licensing's use of search warrants is authorised under section 366 of the Communications Act 2003. In order to obtain a warrant TV Licensing has to convince a Magistrate that there are reasonable grounds to suspect the following:
  • That an offence under section 363 of the Act has been or is being committed (e.g. unlicensed TV reception);
  • That evidence of the commission of an offence is likely to be on the premises specified; 
  • That entry to the premises will not be granted unless a warrant is produced;
  • That the purpose of any search may be frustrated or seriously prejudiced unless the search is carried out be a person who secured entry immediately on arrival at the premises.
During the search warrant application process a TV Licensing employee swears an information, on oath, before a Magistrate. That sworn statement, known as a Deposition, contains TV Licensing's rationale for wanting to search the premises. If the Magistrate is satisfied that the conditions above have been met, then he/she grants the application and authorises the search. Warrants granted under section 366 must be executed within one month and allow entry to the specified premises only once.

j2 has never used equipment for the unlicensed reception of TV programmes. He has always maintained that standpoint, which is reinforced by the fact that TV Licensing's search found nothing. Given those circumstances, it is difficult to imagine the evidence TV Licensing gathered in order to form the reasonable suspicion that an offence was being committed.

In order to satisfy our curiosity j2 has been in contact Kirklees Magistrates' Court for a copy of the Deposition, as it was a Magistrate at Kirklees who granted the warrant on 6th June 2012. After several weeks of being passed from pillar to post, j2 eventually managed to speak to the Deputy Justices' Clerk, who is apparently the man that gets things done.

The Clerk has advised j2 that new rules mean he must contact Capita and inform them of his application to view the Deposition. Capita has 14 days to make any objections to his request, although doing so would obviously serve to heighten our curiosity even further. A copy of j2's letter to Capita is shown in the image below:

j2 has also been in regular contact with his MP, David Ward, who is assisting with enquiries on his behalf.

To be blunt, as we've said before, we believe that TV Licensing are sometimes more concerned about settling grudges than acting judiciously. The Shakespeare case is the most glaring example of TV Licensing's persecution of an innocent, albeit outspoken, opponent of their's. It is our belief that TV Licensing's desire to search j2's property stems more from the fact he had publicly humiliated goons on YouTube, rather than any solid evidence of unlicensed TV reception at his address. By viewing the Deposition we'll be able to evaluate the quality of TV Licensing's evidence for ourselves.

We eagerly await the outcome of this one, so stay tuned for further updates.

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Update (6/4/14): Capita TV Licensing's legal team have replied to j2's request to see the Deposition. In their letter, dated 2nd April 2014, they confirm that they have no objections, however, as the occupier's current address is different to that where the warrant was executed they "respectfully ask the court to verify that the information is only released if the correspondent (j2) can prove residency at the address at the time of the warrant's execution".

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

BBC News: Dishonest TV Licensing Terrorises Grieving Widower

We're that used to the BBC proclaiming how great the BBC is, that we were pleasantly surprised to see a TV Licensing-critical report airing on BBC News today.

The minute-long segment shows recently bereaved widower Marcus Greenhouse, who was summoned to court for TV licence-fee evasion just a few weeks after the unexpected death of his wife. 

His words are quoted below:

"Ill in depression, I recently lost my wife; unexpected death, she died at the age of 36 and, like I say, I've been in and out of depression and it (the TV licence) was just one thing that slipped my mind. The wife sorted all of the bills out and it was just one of those things.

"The inspector come and knocked on my door. I held my hands up and told him 'yep, I admit, I've not bought a licence', but what got me was I paid there and then. I bought a full licence on the day and they said no further action would be taken. The next thing I know I'm here today (Warwickshire Magistrates' Court) dealing with a summons that's been issued to me.

"I was a few weeks, a month, 6 weeks maximum out. Pick on the ones who haven't had one (a licence) for 12 months or 2 years - the ones that don't want to buy a TV licence. For somebody that's a few weeks out and then come and knock my door and I get victimised, I think it was wrong."

Marcus was convicted of TV licence-fee evasion. He received a £35 fine and has to pay £60 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

A grieving man criminalised on the dishonest word of a TV Licensing goon who would probably stiff his granny for the price of a Mars bar.

The word sickening doesn't quite cut it.