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Cancel TV licence?
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# 1
thriftymanc
Old 13-07-2008, 4:35 PM
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Default Cancel TV licence?

Sorry if this is on the wrong board, couldn't see anything for TV licences.

I have a TV but never watch programmes these days and am thinking of just cancelling my licence altogether. I only ever use it to watch DVDs.

I've looked into it and I know that if you don't use your TV to receive broadcasts then you don't need a licence so I'm definitely 'allowed' to cancel (i.e. I'm not just trying to avoid paying when I should) - they can send me all the threatening letters they want, they'll just go straight in the bin!

However, I've just realised that since I moved into my flat - autumn 2006 - I only asked to pay for one year's licence and they've just been taking the money every month since then! I have one paper licence which covers the year from my moving in and they haven't sent me anything else since.

Considering they're pretty much taking the money without my permission (I certainly never said 'hey, just take my money forever', I just asked for ONE licence) can I just cancel the Direct Debit without informing them? As far as I'm concerned I've paid for what I asked for and I shouldn't need to contact them to cancel it. I can cancel the DD right now by just logging into my online banking and then it'll be done and I can forget about it.

Also can they honestly tell if you're watching TV or not? I know most of that they say in their threatening letters is just bluffing but I do worry that since I live in an apartment block where lots of other people have TVs, they'll somehow 'detect' that I'm watching TV when I'm not and break into my flat or fine me or something!

Last edited by thriftymanc; 13-07-2008 at 4:38 PM.
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# 2
bryanb
Old 13-07-2008, 4:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftymanc View Post
Sorry if this is on the wrong board, couldn't see anything for TV licences.

I have a TV but never watch programmes these days and am thinking of just cancelling my licence altogether. I only ever use it to watch DVDs.

I've looked into it and I know that if you don't use your TV to receive broadcasts then you don't need a licence so I'm definitely 'allowed' to cancel (i.e. I'm not just trying to avoid paying when I should) - they can send me all the threatening letters they want, they'll just go straight in the bin!

However, I've just realised that since I moved into my flat - autumn 2006 - I only asked to pay for one year's licence and they've just been taking the money every month since then! I have one paper licence which covers the year from my moving in and they haven't sent me anything else since.

Considering they're pretty much taking the money without my permission (I certainly never said 'hey, just take my money forever', I just asked for ONE licence) can I just cancel the Direct Debit without informing them? As far as I'm concerned I've paid for what I asked for and I shouldn't need to contact them to cancel it. I can cancel the DD right now by just logging into my online banking and then it'll be done and I can forget about it.

Also can they honestly tell if you're watching TV or not? I know most of that they say in their threatening letters is just bluffing but I do worry that since I live in an apartment block where lots of other people have TVs, they'll somehow 'detect' that I'm watching TV when I'm not and break into my flat or fine me or something!
They have no powers of entry, to fine you they must prove that you have broken the law. It is perfectly possible to detect an operating TV.
This is an open forum, anyone can post and I just did !
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# 3
LittleVoice
Old 13-07-2008, 5:05 PM
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If they are taking a monthly DD from your account they presumably are taking money in advance so that you have paid for your next licence when the current one expires.

So rather than simply cancel the DD, get in touch with the licensing people and tell them you don't want a licence now so please can you have your payments for the next licence refunded.
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# 4
arealbasketcase
Old 13-07-2008, 5:10 PM
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I could be wrong, and I am sure if I am those who know better will soon tell me, but as the wording for the tv licensing is:

"You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV."

Which implies that so long as you have equipment capable of receiving a signal then you need a license. I am sure that I company I worked for had to buy a license for a tv used only to show videos (you know the health & safety at work and that kind of stuff!).
If anything I say starts to make sense, PANIC!
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# 5
LittleVoice
Old 13-07-2008, 5:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arealbasketcase View Post
I could be wrong, and I am sure if I am those who know better will soon tell me, but as the wording for the tv licensing is:

"You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV."

Which implies that so long as you have equipment capable of receiving a signal then you need a license. I am sure that I company I worked for had to buy a license for a tv used only to show videos (you know the health & safety at work and that kind of stuff!).
Read what you have written again - see the red lettering. You don't need a licence if you are not watching TV broadcasts when they are broadcast.
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# 6
Gers
Old 13-07-2008, 5:18 PM
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For the definitive answer go to

http://www.bbctvlicence.com/index.htm
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# 7
Crabman
Old 13-07-2008, 5:20 PM
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Hi thrifymanc - I've moved this to the 'In My Home' Board.

You may be interested in Martin's TV Licences Article

Hi, Martin’s asked me to post this in these circumstances: I’ve asked Board Guides to move threads if they’ll receive a better response elsewhere(please see this rule) so this post/thread has been moved to another board, where it should get more replies. If you have any questions about this policy please email abuse@moneysavingexpert.com.
I'm a Board Guide on the Savings & Investments, ISAs & Tax-free Savings, Public Transport & Cycling, Motoring and Parking Fines, Tickets & Parking Boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly & I can move & merge posts there. Board Guides are not moderators & don't read every post. If you spot a contentious or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com

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# 8
superscaper
Old 13-07-2008, 5:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftymanc View Post
If I do this, what are the chances of them getting all uppity and start banging on about how I 'have' to have a licence even though I don't need one? Or will they just let me cancel instantly? I just think, with the amount of grief they give people who don't have licences, surely they must make cancelling as hard as possible even when it's genuine. I'll fill in the form later and see what happens I suppose.
Rule number one, be firm and don't be intimidated or interrogated. Last time I cancelled a TV License DD I started getting threatening letters even though I explained to them at the time I was moving to where there already was a license (simply wasn't in my name any more). I just kept ignoring the letters and they eventually stopped. Nothing they could have done anyway considering there was a license for the house I'm currently living in.
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# 9
arealbasketcase
Old 13-07-2008, 5:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftymanc View Post
The key phrase there is "as they're being shown". I don't want to watch anything as it's being broadcast. I'm quite happy to detune all the channels, throw away the aerial cable and fill up the aerial socket in the wall with polyfilla if it helps prove I don't watch TV! I would get rid of my TV altogether for the hassle it's worth but my laptop doesn't have very good speakers so I'd rather watch DVDs on a regular screen.
I understand what you mean and thank you for not being nasty as some of those in the posts subsequent to yours were. I did read the quote several times but I am sure about the company I worked for having to buy a license... still the rules have obviously been updated, mobile phones hadn't even been invented at the time.
If anything I say starts to make sense, PANIC!
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# 10
superscaper
Old 13-07-2008, 6:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arealbasketcase View Post
still the rules have obviously been updated, mobile phones hadn't even been invented at the time.
AFAIK the licence has always been about the use of equipment, not ownership.
"She is quite the oddball. Did you notice how she didn't even get excited when she saw this original ZX-81?"
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Last edited by superscaper; 13-07-2008 at 6:03 PM.
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# 11
t_obermory
Old 13-07-2008, 7:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleVoice View Post
If they are taking a monthly DD from your account they presumably are taking money in advance so that you have paid for your next licence when the current one expires.

So rather than simply cancel the DD, get in touch with the licensing people and tell them you don't want a licence now so please can you have your payments for the next licence refunded.
They don't refund any money, I was paying quarterly at my last house and moved out into a house with a TV license not long after paying for a full quarter and was told sorry we don't give refunds on any license not used.

I'd say just cancel it, its up to them to do the chasing not you. As long as you don't let them into your house they don't have a leg to stand on.
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# 12
ssedd
Old 15-07-2008, 10:40 PM
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My understanding is that you need a license if your equipment (tv) is capable of receiving a tv signal; if you disconnected your ariel it would still be capable of receiving a signal. I did hear that someone was able to get round this by removing the ariel input from the back of the tv so the tv wasnt capable of having an ariel plugged into it.
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# 13
superscaper
Old 15-07-2008, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssedd View Post
My understanding is that you need a license if your equipment (tv) is capable of receiving a tv signal; if you disconnected your ariel it would still be capable of receiving a signal. I did hear that someone was able to get round this by removing the ariel input from the back of the tv so the tv wasnt capable of having an ariel plugged into it.
As loaner said, your understanding is wrong. It's a really simple concept if you look at the actual rules. You need a licence for using equipment to watch or record broadcast TV. Ignore all the urban myths people seem to want to propogate. I suggest you go read the TV licensing site itself. Even though they're by definition biased about trying to get you to buy a licence every THEY don't say you need a licence for merely owning a working TV. The whole "no tuner", "detuned", "no aerial connection" stuff people spout is pure rubbish and based on nothing other than "cos my mate who knows told me" and other such typical urban myth sources.
"She is quite the oddball. Did you notice how she didn't even get excited when she saw this original ZX-81?"
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# 14
adaze
Old 16-07-2008, 9:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanb View Post
It is perfectly possible to detect an operating TV.
But as far as I am aware it is not admissable as actual evidence. For it to be considered as evidence the TVLA would have to disclose the technology used to detect the TV, from which a "jammer" could probably be made. To my knowledge no one has ever been prosectuted with evidence from a TV detector van, most probably because they don't exist.

And how is it people are still confused (no offence meant) about when they need a licence. There are so many threads on so many forums that you can't move for the correct advice. You don't need a licence to have a TV, the TVLA just assumes that everyone a) has a tv and b) uses it to watch programmes as they are broadcast. You only need a licence if you watch (or record) programmes as they are broadcast. Rather ammusingly if you use the BBC iPlayer you don't need a licence.
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# 15
all_change
Old 16-07-2008, 11:09 AM
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From the OP:
Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftymanc View Post
I have one paper licence which covers the year from my moving in and they haven't sent me anything else since.
When I have phoned to change details or move house, I have been told that the details are updated on their system but that they won't send you a new paper licence. I always write on my licence what has changed and the date that it was changed for my own records.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftymanc View Post
Considering they're pretty much taking the money without my permission (I certainly never said 'hey, just take my money forever', I just asked for ONE licence) can I just cancel the Direct Debit without informing them?
I have a nasty feeling that something in their T+C about DD payments being ongoing until you stop them.

HTH
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# 16
davidlizard
Old 16-07-2008, 7:22 PM
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When the nasty letters start coming, you can just chuck them away. You do not need to waste the cost of a postage stamp or phone call telling them you have no need for a telly licence (in the same way you do not need to tell the DVLA if you don't drive).

They will threaten to send someone round. Again, that is more than likely just bluff. And remember to come into your house, they need a warrant, which a magistrate is highly unlikely to grant on the sole basis of (a) not appearing on their database and (b) not co-operating with TVLA. If they turn up on your doorstep, tell them to get lost. If they claim to have a warrant, then tell them to fetch a police officer. Do not tell them anything else - they have as much right to know any of your details as the paperboy.

Additionally write to them tell them you are "withdrawing their implied right of access".If they turn up after removing this access, then you have a case for harrassment. There are template letters and further advice on this on the BBC resistance forum.
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# 17
competitionscafe
Old 20-11-2008, 2:21 PM
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Will be interesting to see what happens now that BBC1 and BBC2 are to be streamed live online for for free. I choose not to own a TV but I have a PC and a laptop. I have no intention of watching the live streaming, but I occassionally use iplayer to download and watch later. Will everyone who has no TV but owns a desktop /laptop need a licence now?

In the last flat I rented the flat came with a TV - although I was quite happy to store the TV in the boxroom where the owner stored their stuff (as I did not want the TV) I was under the impression that becasue you had a TV in the house (even if unplugged and packed in a cardboard box!) you still had to have a licence. They sent several threatening letters so I just paid the licence and left the TV in the lounge.
Now I have moved into a flat with no TV can I claim a refund for the 6 months from when I moved at the end of October until next April? Or will I be unable to cancel and claim a refund due to owning a laptop and a PC?
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# 18
Jakg
Old 20-11-2008, 2:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanb View Post
It is perfectly possible to detect an operating TV.
But not to tell if it's watching TV or a DVD - either way in court they wont provide calibration logs to prove the equipment works so it's inadmissible - if they even exist!
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# 19
fiddiwebb
Old 20-11-2008, 2:35 PM
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Interesting thread, let us know what the outcome is.

As far as I was aware you need a license if your tv or computer equipment is able to recieve a broadcast signal. it doesn't matter if you don't watch anything and you unplug the aerial the tv is still built to recieve a signal.

The only way I can think you possibly could get round this is to get rid of your tv and buy a monitor which you can connect a dvd player too.
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# 20
superscaper
Old 20-11-2008, 2:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddiwebb View Post
Interesting thread, let us know what the outcome is.

As far as I was aware you need a license if your tv or computer equipment is able to recieve a broadcast signal. it doesn't matter if you don't watch anything and you unplug the aerial the tv is still built to recieve a signal.

The only way I can think you possibly could get round this is to get rid of your tv and buy a monitor which you can connect a dvd player too.
This has been discussed many many times. You're actually wrong. You only need a TV License to watch or record broadcast TV. The TV license has nothing to do with actually owning equipment. You could have TVs, freeview box etc and you don't need a TV license merely for owning them and even having them plugged in. The TV license is for HOW you use your equipment. Even the TV Licensing Authority's own website gives this information so it's not merely a matter of opinion.

Because of this you do NOT need a license for iPlayer but you will need one if you make use of live feed broadcasts online such as the recent BBC annoucement mentioned by competitionscafe.
"She is quite the oddball. Did you notice how she didn't even get excited when she saw this original ZX-81?"
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Last edited by superscaper; 20-11-2008 at 2:44 PM.
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