In today's post we respond to an email received from one of our readers.
Frankie has decided to adopt a legally-licence-free viewing habits, so no longer needs a TV licence. She told TV Licensing about her decision to cancel, so was alarmed to see the annual Direct Debit payment taken from her bank account anyway.
Our reader writes:
Dear TV Licensing Blog,
After careful consideration I recently decided to ditch the TV. My husband and I have active social lives, so we're rarely in the house to watch normal TV shows. Given our infrequent viewing habits, and growing contempt at the way the BBC is managed, we decided that it wasn't going to be much hassle to change to catch-up. We used to watch the news before going to work, but easily manage without by listening to the radio or reading news websites instead.
Towards the middle of December I rang TV Licensing's 0300 790 6165 number and told them I wasn't going to need a TV licence anymore. The lady on the phone seemed friendly enough and after I'd answered a few questions, she told me it was all sorted. She warned me that I'd be breaking the law if anyone was caught watching TV and that a TV licence inspector might call around to check. "Fine by me" I told her, as I've got nothing to hide. Having now read your website, I think my faith in TV Licensing was a bit misguided!
A couple of days ago I was using my online banking and noticed that TV Licensing had taken £145.50 from our account. Having spent a lot at Christmas, that cash would come in handy so I really want to get it back. What can I do to get my money back from TV Licensing and stop the same thing happening again?
TV Licensing Blog replies:
Thank you for getting in touch with the TV Licensing Blog.
Your story is far from an isolated case. Experience suggests that TV Licensing regularly makes mistakes when processing payments and refunds. In your case, it appears that the TV Licensing agent you spoke to failed to fully action your cancellation request.
When a person cancels their TV licence (or decides not to renew) we always recommend they inform both TV Licensing and their bank of the decision. The bank will cancel the Direct Debit far more efficiently than TV Licensing, which prevents TV Licensing dipping back into the account.
In your case, as the payment has already been taken, I suggest you inform the bank that TV Licensing took the payment without permission and ask to be refunded under the terms of the Direct Debit guarantee. It is also worth highlighting your inconvenience to TV Licensing, as it might offer a goodwill payment.
Best of luck getting your money back and please tell your friends about the TV Licensing Blog.
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.