Not for the first time - and undoubtedly not for the last - the BBC's militant revenue generation arm, TV Licensing, stands accused of bullying the bereaved.
Having been tipped off about TV Licensing's continued hostility towards the families of recently deceased over-75 TV licence holders, the TV Licensing Blog placed a Freedom of Information request to get to the heart of the issue.
We asked the BBC to provide all information that mentioned or related to:
- How TV Licensing establishes that an over-75 TV licence holder has died.
- The procedures TV Licensing follows in relation to the death of an over-75 TV licence holder.
In its response the BBC confirmed that TV Licensing is notified of the deaths of over-75 licence holders via two main channels: either by the person dealing with the deceased's estate (usually a family member) or by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The DWP provides TV Licensing with a monthly list of recently deceased over-75 licence holders.
Once notified of the death of an over-75 licence holder, TV Licensing will write to the deceased's property to establish whether an over-75 licence is still appropriate for any person living there. If no response is received the property will become subject to TV Licensing's regular monthly threatograms and possible visits.
It is important to stress that no-one is under any legal obligation to confirm the no-licence-needed status of their property. Indeed, experience shows that contacting an organisation as dysfunctional and disorganised as TV Licensing is often a pointless exercise.
If a house is left unoccupied following the death of an over-75 licence holder, then the person dealing with the estate - who probably has far more important matters to deal with - does not need to confirm the circumstances to TV Licensing.
Earlier this week the Mirror took up the story. It reported how TV Licensing's caustic methods of enquiry had unnecessarily distressed Kirsty Beaumont, who was dealing with the aftermath of her grandmother's death.
Kirsty said: "I was at my nan's house clearing up after her funeral when I saw this letter from the TV Licensing people among the post.
"It said that if there was anybody under the age of 75 living at the house then they were liable to pay the TV licence.
"The whole thing is disgusting - they are hounding people for money as soon as they’ve put a loved in the grave for the sake of a poxy licence fee."
It is quite clear that TV Licensing is only concerned about hoovering up as many licence fees as possible on behalf of the BBC. It has no human face and no concept of compassion.
We would encourage anyone harassed by TV Licensing to complain in the strongest possible terms to their MP and local media outlets. Please also let us know so we can write about it.
Ignore TV Licensing completely.
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