Threatening letters from TV Licensing

in Phones & TV
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tesuhohatesuhoha Forumite
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My husband and I stopped watching TV a long time ago as we found it very biased and there was nothing either of us wanted to watch. We decided to cancel our TV license after we realised it was about 6 months since we put the TV on. We both have laptops and neither of us watch any live TV. I watch series and films sometimes on Netflix and Amazon Prime which I pay for. We read books, use the internet etc.

We cancelled our Virgin TV box to save money and I decided to go through the proper channels to cancel the licence. I filled out the NoTV form as we didn't want any trouble from TV Licensing. I received an email from them thanking me for confirming we don't need a licence and a couple of months later I received a refund from them.

Since then we have received a series of threatening letters from TV Licensing each one more unpleasant than the last and we have also had a visit from an enforcement officer. I was out at the time but my husband just said to him that we didn't need a licence and shut the door. We have just had another letter from them threatening another visit and a £1,000 fine. Its as if I hadn't filled out the NoTV form at all and in fact the letter suggests that I do that if I don't need a license but what is the point of doing it again. I was so put out that I checked the email to make sure that I had informed them, which I found to be correct. It also says not to ignore the letter as it won't go away, which I find infuriating as I dealt with it properly from the start.

My husband has said not to get into any kind of discussion with these people as they try to trick you but we are both 70 and law abiding and as the license was in my name its me they are threatening with a fine. I can really do without this. I have paid for the licence for 50 years but if there is nothing we want to watch anymore surely we have the right to cancel it without having to endure threats and people turning up at our house unannounced. I'm not sure if or who I should contact about this as I still have the email as proof I cancelled. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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  • PetriixPetriix Forumite
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    You should write to them telling them not to contact you and withdrawing their implied right of access to knock on your door. They should acknowledge the letter and they will probably say that they will contact you again in 3 years to check. That should be the end of the letters.

    We've had various periods without a licence and no threatening letters using this method.
  • pphillipspphillips Forumite
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    It's just very wrong that TV Licensing target pensioners and other vulnerable groups with harassment and threats for the purposes of extortion, this type of conduct is reprehensible and probably illegal.

    You first need to write to TV Licensing and tell them to stop, I would also suggest that you contact your MP.

  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    TVL is an abhorrent organisation.  I agree with pphillips that the OP should write to their MP.  It won’t be news to them of course, but every letter helps apply pressure to change the ridiculous tv licencing laws.

    It’s all very well telling the OP that they’re doing nothing wrong and that they cannot be fined for not having a TV licence if they genuinely don’t need one, but some people worry about such things and it is stressful and intimidating to be faced with such threatening letters and home visits.  It really is outrageous.
  • ovusaovusa Forumite
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    The BBC contracts the companies listed below to administer the collection of TV Licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing system in the UK:

    • RAPP Limited (formerly Proximity London Limited)
    • Capita Business Services Limited
    • PayPoint plc
    • Communisis UK Limited
    • Havas Media Limited
    • Target Group Limited
    The majority of the administration of TV Licensing is contracted to Capita Business Services Limited.  Collectors earn bonuses for catching licence 'evaders' so will pursue relentlessly.
  • edited 16 December 2020 at 9:08PM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 16 December 2020 at 9:08PM
    ...  Although the BBC retains overall responsibility.

    It's the BBC that needs speaking to, copy to the MP.    The address is on the complaints page of the TVL Website.

    If it's any consolation, this is (sadly) a fairly typical experience.   It's likely that they have some kind of issue with the information from the No Licence Needed form, and have not tied it properly to the Licence account.   That's no excuse for harassment, but is probably the reason.

    Letters to the BBC/MPs generally get good results.   There shouldn't be any need to withdraw the implied right of access, and this is not advisable unless the legal context and possible consequences are fully understood.    If a TVL "visit" is a concern, then I'd suggest stating that an interview under caution will be declined under all circumstances.   This will have a similar effect to withdrawal of access, but is legally more straightforward.


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  • edited 19 December 2020 at 12:10AM
    MicronMicron Forumite
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    edited 19 December 2020 at 12:10AM
    tesuhoha said:
     I'm not sure if or who I should contact about this as I still have the email as proof I cancelled. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    You do not need to contact anyone, totally ignore their letters and threats, should an enforcement officer call again just shut the door, you do not need to and should not enter in to any conversation with any TV Licensing enforcement officer.

    TV Licensing will not stop sending the letters and making visits but just ignore them.

    I have not watched any television programs at my house for about twenty years, for the first five years I received the TV Licensing threating letters in my own name, after that I have always been referred to as the occupier.

    On average I receive about fifteen threatening letters a year from TV Licensing, thankfully I have never been at home when an enforcement officer has made a visit but they always leave a calling card threatening some sort of possible legal action,  I put all their communications to good use by using them to light my wood burner.

     You may find it of some interest if you visit this website:-

       http://www.bbctvlicence.com/index.htm

       http://www.bbctvlicence.com/Tips%20for%20avoidng%20TVL-BBC%20harassment.htm



  • FFS2020FFS2020 Forumite
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    So I'm not the only one then?  I've not watched TV in years and every couple of years the TV licence wackos start harassing me and threatening to come to my door to do God knows what.  They're so incredibly aggressive. 
  • jsmith9jsmith9 Forumite
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    I think normally the NoTV form works, but not in your case.
  • FedupwithBBCFedupwithBBC Forumite
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    I am someone who stopped my TV licence about 3 years ago. We chose to watch Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Plus and various Players such as ITV and Channel 4, etc
    We ended accessing BBC I Player, we removed and sent back our Virgin Media box and only have a router from them. There are no cables in the back of our TVs which can receive Live TV.
    Also filled in the forms to say 'why' we not wanting a TV licence any more.
    Since then we have received letters from them and I think even a phone call.
    It is obvious that Capita has been awarded the contract to get people to come back to having a TV licence. They have been very underhanded in their methods.
    The latest letter I received was from Jackie Garswood (Customer Service Manager) giving the impression she worked directly for the TV licence company / BBC - but on further digging around I can see that she works directly for Capita. No contact information is given on the letter other than her name and title.
    [email protected] is her email address which I have found.
    I wrote to her a couple of days ago and asked that my details are removed from their database and if I wanted to go back to paying a TV licence then I shall reach out to them.
    Under GDPR rules they can not use my data if I have requested them not to.
    I am no longer a customer of theirs.
    So if I receive any more letters or phone calls, I shall look to create a case with the Information Commissioners Office and report them with misusing my personal data.





  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    They don't need to keep your personal details to keep hassling you.
    They have a database of ALL TV Licence holders and they simply compare that with the Post Office Address File that records every property address in the UK.  In this way it's easy for them to identify every property that does not have a TV Licence.  They then ASSUME you need a licence, even though they have absolutely no proof of this, and then send out their threatening letters to 'the occupier'.
    So, well done for writing to them but I doubt it'll stop the letters.  At best, they may stop sending letters for a couple of years but then they'll start again on the pretext that people move house so they 'have' to keep sending them out.
    The whole thing is despicable and turns the well established principle of innocent-until-proved-guilty on its head. 
    Your time and effort would probably be more productively spent complaining to your MP.


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