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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.

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Reader Letter: What to Expect After TV Licensing Goon Threats


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

Our reader writes:

Dear TV Licensing Blog,

A TV Licensing officer called at my home the other week to ask why I didn't have a TV licence. It's the first time I've come face to face with TV Licensing, despite having received a lot of letters from them. I normally just ignore the letters and nothing ever happens, so I really wasn't expecting a visit from them.

I was upstairs getting ready for a night out with a friend when the doorbell rang a few times. As I went downstairs I could see the flap of the letterbox closing, which I though was a bit strange.

I opened the door and could tell immediately he was from TV Licensing. He was holding a palm-top computer and I recognised the logo on a sheet of paper in his hand. He asked if I was the occupier, which I confirmed I was. He then said he was visiting to see why I didn't have a TV licence. I said I didn't need one, because I never watch TV programmes. He seemed taken aback by that comment and replied "but I just heard the telly through your letterbox".

It was at that point that I realised he'd been looking through my letterbox, which I was pretty disgusted at given that I have small children. I told him that he was wrong and his visit was over. As I closed the door he muttered something like "you can tell your lies to the police when we come back with a warrant".

I'm really worried about what is going to happen now. If he goes away and says he heard a TV, then it will boil down to his word against mine. What chance would I have if he told a pack of lies?

Tasha

TV Licensing Blog replies:

Dear Tasha,

Thank you for taking the time to email us.

You seem aware of the law already, which is that a TV licence is required for those properties where equipment is installed or used to receive TV programmes. You don't receive TV programmes, so you don't legally need a TV licence. In that situation you have no legal business whatsoever with TV Licensing and the best option is to ignore them completely.

We never refer to TV Licensing employees as "officers", as doing so conveys a false sense of status and authority. TV Licensing "goons" possess neither of these personality traits. Indeed they possess no personality in any sense of the word.

We are concerned about several aspects of this TV Licensing goon's behaviour.

Firstly, we consider it socially unacceptable to spy through a stranger's letterbox. TV Licensing are reluctant to admit the fact, but they actively encourage their goons to spy through the windows and letterboxes of unlicensed properties. We consider such invasive methods of enquiry as both deviant and voyeuristic.

Secondly, TV Licensing goons should never be threatening anyone with the police or a search warrant. The TV Licensing Visiting Procedures - the official goon rulebook if you like - specifically prohibits the use of threats, although we know the rules are often broken.

Despite your concerns it is very unlikely there will be any escalation in TV Licensing's interest in your property. The letters will continue and you should continue to place them in the bin. Another goon may visit and you should firmly close the door on them. It is very, very unlikely that TV Licensing will apply for a search warrant, as doing so requires credible evidence of unlicensed TV reception.

From the sounds of it, the goon was hedging his bets. As long as you stay within the law, you should be perfectly okay.

Best of luck for the future.

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 don't think Tasha is going to have any problems with the goon squad. They're just after their commission which effectively means getting a signed TVL178 form self-incrimination form.

Looking through a letterbox sounds like unauthorised surveillance to me and she should keep a written note of all the particulars (time, date, description of goon) as it might come in handy in the future if she needs to 'turn the tables' on the goons

It's likely they'll just keep sending the standard letters - they build up to one saying: 'Sir/Madam, you have not responded to our previous letters. We want to ensure you have the information you may need before a hearing is set at your local court.' This letter is meant to look like a threat to take the person to court but is, in fact, sent to millions of people each year and is just one of their form letters. If it is ignored, then the same 2 or 3 standard letters are sent out (usually mentioning non-existent 'investigations') before going back to the letter I've quoted from.