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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 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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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Reader Letter: TV Licensing Questioning the Neighbours


In today's post we respond to an email received from one of our readers.

Our reader writes:

Dear TV Licensing Blog,

I live in a suburban semi and I don't get on very well with my next door neighbour. For the last year I've been living without a television and I keep getting TV Licensing letters pushed through my door. I have taken advice from your blog about not responding to the letters and putting them straight in the bin, but I'm worried that TV Licensing will visit one day soon. I know to keep quiet and close the door, but what are the chances of them asking my next door neighbour for information about me?

Stefan

TV Licensing Blog replies:

Dear Stefan,

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch. We are pleased to hear that you are a regular reader and hope that you will tell your non-viewing friends about our blog.

Chapter 2 section 8 of the TV Licensing Visiting Procedures - the official goon handbook if you like - is quite clear in the following: "Neighbours and other third-parties must not be approached to provide information about the occupiers or status of a property".

Experience tells us that TV Licensing goons regularly flout the rules in this document, but if they were to disclose any of your private information to a neighbour then they would be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

If TV Licensing goons are following their own official policy, they should not attempt to question your neighbour about the circumstances at your property.

We hope that addresses your question.

Peter

If you have any questions you would like answered on the TV Licensing Blog, please email us with the words "Reader Letter" in the subject line. Our email address is in the sidebar. As mentioned on the About page, we can't guarantee to respond to every email but will try our best.

5 comments:

Richard said...

I may be jumping to conclusions here, but "we know to keep quiet and close the door" suggests at least the possibility that these folks may be watching TV without a licence. That's against the law. I'm all for not paying your licence, but that involves not watching TV. Could the writer of the original letter please assure us that he or she is not in fact breaking the TV licensing law by receiving live broadcasts without a licence?

The cause of genuine non-TV-watchers such as myself, who just want to be left alone to enjoy lawful peace and quiet, free from Capita threats, is not helped by those who dodge the licence fee whilst continuing to watch TV.

Fred Bear said...

The whole point of their letters is to create fear and uncertainty in the recipient. That's why they use words such as 'Official Warning' or claim that they are 'carrying out an investigation into your property' or that 'Officers' are going to visit your address at any time, weekends or evenings. Actually, in my experience they only turn up Mondays to Fridays during working hours. Their secret weapon is a form entitled TVL178. Given that there's only ABOUT 330 'Officers' in the whole of the UK they don't have time for 'investigations'. If you answer the door, they'll ask a set of preprepared questions. If you admit to TV use they'll write down your 'confession' on form TVL178 and get you to sign it. If you tell them straight out you have no TV they'll look a bit surprised. They may ask to come in to check (although they might make a subsequent unannounced visit to do this). In my experience, this check will mean them entering your living room, glancing around and then leaving sharpish.

admin said...

Thanks both for your comments.

Richard, I think you may have misread the letter - Stefan says he lives without television, which suggests he does not require a TV licence.

As you might know already, our blog never condones TV licence evasion. We always encourage people to go legally-licence-free.

Fred Bear, you are right that if TV Licensing are allowed entry they will perform the most perfunctory of inspections. That said, an innocent person should never feel compelled to prove a negative to TV Licensing.

Richard said...

Sorry, admin, quite right. Reading was never my strong point! I should have had greater faith in your editorial wisdom. My apologies.

admin said...

No trouble at all Richard.