A letter to the Telegraph's Jessica Investigates column explains how TV Licensing took advantage of a mentally ill lady (Miss G) by stinging her for payment of two TV licences.
The discrepancy only came to light when the lady's uncle started looking after her financial affairs. TV Licensing, just as you'd expect, were less than sympathetic to the family's cause.
Mr S from Wiltshire writes:
I have a niece who has had mental problems for a considerable time. She moved house but did not obtain a television for a few weeks. When she did she bought a licence. Enclosed is the receipt and letter from TV Licensing confirming the licence. Then she purchased a larger television and, because of her state of mind, purchased another licence.
Regrettably her condition deteriorated and she was sectioned and detained. I then took over her money affairs and it soon became apparent that she had two television licences, both valid.
Can you help me get the refund that I, despite trying hard, have been unable to get?
Jessica Gorst-Williams replies:
Further to my involvement a TV Licensing spokesman says: “To protect all our customers’ personal data, we could normally only deal with the licence holder or a third party with power of attorney.
"However, in this case we should have been more flexible, so we’ve written to Mr S to apologise and have offered a goodwill gesture of £20 to compensate him for any out-of-pocket expenses he may have incurred contacting us."
TV Licensing has refunded £145.50 in respect of one licence and a quarter of a year’s cover, which ties in with the use for the other, coming to £36.37.
It has also placed a “guard” on the property for a year so that letters that would normally be sent for a non-licensed address will not be.
In a letter to you the BBC licence fee unit says: “The decision to refund this amount could have been taken at an earlier opportunity and I can see that you have made considerable efforts to obtain a refund for Miss G.
"I can appreciate your frustration at having to contact TV Licensing on numerous occasions. Furthermore, I have asked TV Licensing to share the learnings from this case with relevant staff to prevent a similar recurrence."