Threatening letters from TV Licensing

in Phones & TV
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  • edited 11 December 2021 at 7:34PM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 11 December 2021 at 7:34PM
    Now and again the letters I get actually say that they have scheduled a visit to my address.  Never seen them turn up though.  I wonder if there is a way to find out if they actually have scheduled a visit or tell them off for lying.
    The various mass mailings that indicate that a "visit" or an "investigation" has been scheduled are what we call a lie.   They say they send about 3 million enforcement letters a month, but they only have around 300 field staff, so the logistics are impossible.  

    Where the letters mention a specific date, this is usually contradicted elsewhere in the same letter.   I suspect they do this as a defence against action for harassment.  
    ex Board Guide

  • edited 11 December 2021 at 8:06PM
    pogofishpogofish Forumite
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    edited 11 December 2021 at 8:06PM
    Now and again the letters I get actually say that they have scheduled a visit to my address.  Never seen them turn up though.  I wonder if there is a way to find out if they actually have scheduled a visit or tell them off for lying.

    Past experience of this is that the letters/database operation and the inspection/enforcement teams are/were two completely different operations - I found this out because the database side had my name misspelt, whilst the "enforcement" guys had my details correct. Nothing ever came of the database threats.
  • edited 11 December 2021 at 9:46PM
    XenonXenon Forumite
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    edited 11 December 2021 at 9:46PM
    This is standard practice for BBC/TV licencing(capita) and nothing to be worried about
    They can visit as many times as they want - they are salespeople with no powers looking to sell you a licence and meet their targets...you do not have to tell them anything/sign anything or even open the door.
    The letters are the usual scaremongering tactics they have been using for years - fines are rare and the maximum fine is even rarer...they use scare tactics in the wording and presentation of these letters to scare people - bin them.
  • thefirsthefirs Forumite
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    Looks like the wishes of some have now come true, but personally I think this is a case of 'be careful what you wish for' unless a proper funding replacement is advanced.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-60014514

  • edited 16 January at 4:57PM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 16 January at 4:57PM
    thefirs said:
    Looks like the wishes of some have now come true, but personally I think this is a case of 'be careful what you wish for' unless a proper funding replacement is advanced.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-60014514

    For my part, the current Licence enforcement regime is unsustainable.   They have c. 300 staff to "police" over 4 million unlicensed addresses - the logistics of that are ridiculous, especially when they don't even have any legal powers to support that work.   The lying and harassment that they use to compensate are completely unacceptable.  

    Personally, even though I don't need a Licence at present, I wouldn't be averse to some kind of tax-based funding, and I recognise that it would probably be the simplest and easiest approach.   If it also included some form of adjustment vs. household income, that would be a bonus.   If it also had a "no TV" exemption, then even better.

    If not that, then a subscription model - there are issues with that, though.   Firstly, that Freeview doesn't have a robust means of locking the signal from access by non-payers, and secondly the funding of Radio.  There are workarounds to both of those issues, but having come away from a complex licensing regime with a lot of misinformation associated with it, I think the mood will probably to make the new system much simpler and easier to operate.
    ex Board Guide

  • armitharmith Forumite
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    Absolutely agree - I have a TV licence but many people I know do not. In the age of the internet, Netflix, Chromecast etc how does trying to pursue people who happen to have a rectangular piece of electronic equipment in the corner of a room work?

    The simplest and most cost effective solution would be to have the whole thing tax funded. It would probably work out cheaper than the current licence fee because it would take away the whole structure of maintaining a database of licence-fee payers, there would be no more enforcement team and no need for complex encryption to try to lock-down a subscription model. 

    The danger usually cited with having the state broadcaster funded directly by the state is of ending up with "support the government-of-the-day... or no money". There are ways in which legislation could be framed to allay this fear - have the BBC/Public funded fee fixed to rise in line with inflation each year and have a stipulation that any change in funding arrangements require a 75% majority in parliament for example.

    The argument that tax-funding would be unfair on those who do not have a TV applies to other areas of public life. No children - funding schools, no railway close by - funding public transport etc. so there is a debate to be had as to whether there should even be public television (or public radio). How would the BBC cope/survive/look like if they had to chase advertising?

    Currently the vast majority of people pay the licence fee. Those I know who don't mostly pay far more for Sky/Netflix etc and rely on internet sources for things like news and current affairs. They simply don't pay to watch the BBC - but would often like to watch the occasional thing on terrestrial television.
  • edited 17 January at 11:53AM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 17 January at 11:53AM
    armith said:

    Currently the vast majority of people pay the licence fee. Those I know who don't mostly pay far more for Sky/Netflix etc and rely on internet sources for things like news and current affairs. They simply don't pay to watch the BBC - but would often like to watch the occasional thing on terrestrial television.
    I agree with your other points, but this is a bit of a stereotype.   I have just Amazon Prime Video.   It provides a bit more quality programming for £6, so that's half the current Licence Fee.   

    I could probably go without it, because there's lots of good stuff on All4 and My5 that I don't have the time to even investigate.

    The reason why the abolition of the fee is important, I think, is because that would take away a source of financial and emotional stress from people on low or fragile incomes.   They could have access to genuinely free to view TV via Freeview for the first time, and could then drop in and out of any subscriptions as they wished.
    ex Board Guide

  • edited 17 January at 1:08PM
    cx6cx6 Forumite
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    edited 17 January at 1:08PM
    One way is for the BBC to provide a very basic free (taxpayer funded) service akin to eg USA Public Service Broadcasting. Maybe BBC1-type stuff.

    The rest can go to subscription either via satellite or via internet. Or it could continue to be free-to-air but funded by advertising. I don't care which because I probably wouldn't watch it anyway!

    Radio would need funding but the costs are a lot less than TV (*). I would pay a radio licence but only if they upped the DAB bitrate on music transmission to something worth listening to - even Radio 3 is only 160kbps - the rest are a lot less.

    (*) well there isn't a million-pound-per-episode Gary Lineker show on radio as far as I know
  • penners324penners324 Forumite
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    Or save everyone the bother and just close the bbc
  • brewerdavebrewerdave Forumite
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    Had to larf when I saw who had been rolled out in support of BBC license fee - Gary Lineker (£1 million+ pa), Dan Walker (£300,000 +pa) ,Hugh Grant (multimillionaire) .......and the real big earners are paid thru a subsidiary of the Beeb which doesn't reports earnings eg Claudia Winkelmann !!
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