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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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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Reader Letter: TV Licensing Wrongly Nabs House Sitter


In today's post we shall respond to an email enquiry we received earlier in the week.

Our reader writes:

Dear TV Licensing Blog,

I'm a long time lurker on your blog and need some advice. A few months ago I was house sitting at my brother and sister-in-law's place while they were on holiday in the Canary Islands. They both have busy jobs and what with all the recent scandals they decided to cancel their TV licence earlier this year.

I was playing on my brother's games console in the front room when I caught a fleeting glimpse of someone passing the window. A few moments later the doorbell went and I got up to answer it. What I now know to be a goon was stood at the front door and he asked "are you Mr Black?" Caught off guard, I immediately responded that yes I was. Of course I now realise he was after my brother instead of me.

It was at this point the goon said who he was. I could have slapped myself for being so stupid and confirming my name, but what's done is done. I told him that the house didn't need a TV licence and I wasn't the occupier anyway. I then asked him to leave, to which he started walking away and muttered something like "well you said you were Mr Black, that's the name I've got". He stood at the end of the garden path for a few moments and tapped on his PDA thing.

My brother, also Mr Black, has just received a summons claiming that he was watching TV without a licence on such and such a date. He gave me a right ear bashing down the phone and is terrified at the prospect of going to court.

Given that we can prove he was in the Canary Islands at the time of the goon's visit, we don't think TV Licensing has much of a case. My brother, who has a job where he can't afford any legal problems, wants to consult a solicitor just to be on the safe side. Can you please give us some advice?

Chris

TV Licensing Blog replies:

Dear Chris,

Thanks for getting in touch and we hope you find our blog entries informative and entertaining.

Your case is far from isolated. We have heard about many TV Licensing prosecution anomalies over the years.

As we're sure you know, a TV licence is needed for any property where equipment is used to receive TV programme services. Reading your email we're assuming that your brother's property does not require a TV licence and our response is based on that assumption.

TV Licensing rules are such that a goon should only conduct an interview (e.g complete the TVL 178 Record of Interview form) when the person who answers the door is identified as an adult resident of the property. It looks like the goon in this case has overlooked that point.

Your brother should contact TV Licensing's prosecution team in Darwen and explain that he and his wife, the only two occupiers of the property, were on holiday abroad at the time the goon visited. Your brother could also offer to prove this fact by offering to show his holiday snaps or receipts. That should be sufficient for TV Licensing to drop the prosecution. Given your comments about your brother not wanting any legal problems, we think that is probably the safest way to proceed.

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.

1 comment:

Fred Bear said...

I agree with Peter's suggestion.

For anyone caught up in TV Licensing's tentacles, there's some information about the prosecution process provided by Bailiff Advice Online - http://bailiffadviceonline.co.uk/index/magistrates-court-fines/tv-licensing-and-court-fines

It does stress the importance of responding to the summons.