b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Sticking it to The Man » Post 759875 | Search
This is a question Sticking it to The Man

From little victories over your bank manager to epic wins over the law - tell us how you've put one over authority. Right on, kids!

Suggestion from Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic

(, Thu 17 Jun 2010, 16:01)
Pages: Popular, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

« Go Back

The TV License people. Again
A lot of people have already posted about how they don't own a television and the TV licensing people refuse to believe them. In a way, if you don't have a TV you are unusual - figures from the TV Licensing Authority suggest that 99.5% of households in the country have a telly in them and such is the ubiquity of the gogglebox that the Joseph Rountree Foundation uses non-ownership of one as an indicator of poverty (this surprises me, as the people I know who don't own a TV tend to be both better educated and in better jobs than the average).

There are distinct advantages to not owning a TV. I don't run the risk of wasting my time watching witless crap like Eastenders, X-Factor, Big Brother or the new Doctor Who, and anything decent like Life on Mars I can pick up DVDs of at Cash Converters six months after they come out. However, the disadvantage of not owning a TV is that I occasionally get threatening letters warning me that if I don't buy a license for something I don't have I could go to prison.

In the past I've written back to them pointing out that I don't actually own a TV so would they stop contacting me, but as a tactic this obviously hasn't worked because another letter arrived at David Towers recently suggesting, once again, that any moment now a television inspector might be rolling up at my door and if I don't fancy a hefty fine it would be in my interests to send them a fat cheque right now.

It's the hectoring tone which rankles most - the problem with Civil Servants is that despite the name of their chosen profession they are neither civil nor servile and this really gets my goat. This, coupled with a presumption of guilt and ignoring my sterling rebuttals of their accusations in the past, means I have taken a new strategy in my ongoing correspndence with the TV license authority.


Many thanks for your letter of 18/5/10 which I received today. I would refer you to my correspondence of [dates] 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and early 2009 in which I informed the TV licencing authority that I do not own any form of visual broadcast receiving equipment, but the futility of referring your organisation to previous correspondence has now become clear.

You have now been threatening to send an inspector to my address 'soon' for more than nine years. I would put it to you that nine years after your initial promise is now longer 'soon'. Indeed, I would call it 'tardy', or possibly even 'sluggish', 'unpunctual' or even 'dilatory'. I'm glad I did not take any time off work to wait for your promised inspector, because I would have run out of holiday long before now.

You may be surprised to learn that I have no great desire to be visited by some jobsworth functionary with a peaked cap and bristling moustache (who will undoubtedly rifle my underwear drawers when I'm not looking) to demonstrate that I am in fact telling the truth when I say I haven't got a TV. However, I was prepared to put up with this offensive intrusion if it would get you to leave me alone.

With the receipt of your latest letter, and the non-appearence of your long-promised, never delivered inspector, I have come to a shocking conclusion; it is not I who am the liar, it is you and your agency. This 'television inspector' whom you have threatened me with for years is never coming at all.

With this in mind, I am issuing you the following challenge. If the Inspector whom you have been promising me would be visiting 'soon' for the last nine years has not visited me by July 30th, 2010, I shall take this as your personal permission, as a representative of the Television Licencing Authority, for me to go out and buy the biggest, most illegal television I possibly can and watch it until I am blue in the face. Furthermore, I shall take a failure to repond to this as your agreement to indemnify me against any and all fines, fees, charges, costs, forfeits and levies which I might incur resultant to this action.

I must ask that you cease your presumption of guilt against me forthwith and send your inspector - as you have repeatedly promised to do - by the end of next month. They will easily recognise my house. It is the one with the large and shiny new television aerial which I look forward to using after August 1st.

Yours, etc,

I'll let you know if they reply.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 12:04, 20 replies)
Oh please do :D
Ignorance in government is bliss :)
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 12:13, closed)
This is fab
..athough to make things worse, TV licencing aren't even a government agency, just a private company (a bit like student loans).

I wonder what recourse you have if they keep sending stuff after you ask to be removed from their "marketing" database as they keep sending you unsolicited requests for payment for a service which is not required? I don't know if anyone's tried that and I'm too lazy to use Google.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 12:26, closed)
My guess is
That they'll have a data protection excemption. Otherwise you could just ask to be removed under the DPA.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 12:43, closed)
TV licensing is done by Capita, so not really civil servants.
The 'Enforcement Officers' get paid on commission, so given these two further bits of info, I'd cunt them in the fuck as hard as you can.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 12:27, closed)
used to tell them when the letters came as well, but it always fell on deaf ears.

My dappy ex actually went out and bought a TV licence after one of their threatening cunting letters - despite not having had a TV in the place for around 2 years at that point! I managed to get a refund after verbally fighting them on the phone for hours upon end.

I did buy a TV about 2 years ago - at the same time I got a broken X-Box given to me (red rings, so I fixed it) - it does NOT recieve broadcast TV, and I wrote back to yet another of their condescending letters to tell them of this.

I still get letters about once a month telling me that a goon is going to be calling to 'check me out'.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 12:36, closed)
Do what I do.
Take your complaints as high up the organisation as fast as you possibly can. Escalating complaints to people who feel their time is too important to waste dealing with you - and making sure they know you'll keep doing it - is the best way of making sure it never happens again.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 12:44, closed)
letters don't bother me now - like I said she's my ex - my current girlfriend wouldn't be so bloody stupid or threatened by a letter.

I tried to inform them when they asked, but it seems they have memory leakage errors with their database, as it needs updating with the same information every one or two months.

You'd think Crapita might be able to afford a decent database set up wouldn't you?
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 14:22, closed)
I got a visit
Many years ago, when I lived in a flat on my own, my fiancee had lent me an old black and white TV, so I bought the (much cheaper) B&W licence (can you still get them, I wonder?).

I did get an inspector's visit to check that I wasn't illegally enjoying new fangled (this was 1998) colour pictures.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 13:02, closed)
Good grief
I didn't think inspectors actually existed.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 13:03, closed)
I had one once
after a mere two years of letters threatening all manner of evils. He tramped round my flat, agreed that I didn't have a telly, and made a note on his clipboard.

The next threatening letter arrived three weeks later.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 13:09, closed)
I laughed

(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 13:10, closed)
Same here...
Had the muppet round last Thursday actually - he came in, looked around, agreed that I had no TV...and made a note to check next year.

Many, many moons ago (about 20 years), I was caught bang to rights watching TV unlicensed. Filled out the form for the court and was fined far less than the annual cost (fine was about £50, licence fee was around £80)- can you work that out?
(, Mon 21 Jun 2010, 11:58, closed)
My brother & his girlfriend have never owned a tv.
They live in a fairly-remote cottage and get sent threatening letters & visits from inspectors every other month.
Nice use of resources there.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 14:12, closed)
Nice letter.
license licence.
It's the verb that's spelt with an "s". Sorry!

(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 19:55, closed)
I always get those two mixed up.
(, Sat 19 Jun 2010, 15:16, closed)
I remember,
by thinking of advice and advise.
(, Sun 20 Jun 2010, 11:59, closed)
My method's nerdier.
"Noun" comes before "verb" in the alphabet. C comes before S.
The rule seems to be pretty reliable.
(, Sun 20 Jun 2010, 18:41, closed)
Thanks, I like handy hints like these.

Stationery = Envelopes
Stationary = Automobiles
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 12:49, closed)

Now I've never had any issues with them, I own a TV and happily pay for the licence. But I just don't understand why the system is the way it is. If it's true that 99.5% of households own a TV, and probably a substantial portion of the rest own at least a radio or, say, a computer with broadband access (which currently doesn't require a licence but arguably should, what with iPlayer and all) then why don't we just scrap the whole thing, simply make it a TV tax and be done with it? All the jobsworths writing those threatening letters would be out on the street, which would actually save everyone involved money.

It's the same in Germany by the way, there's a public broadcaster and you have to pay a fee to legally use receiving equipment. Collecting the fees is done by a pseudo-private company that, if anything, has a worse reputation than the TV Licence people in the UK.

Oh, and while we're in fantasy-land reforming the public broadcasting system, can I please have unencrypted, free downloads of BBC programmes, rather than this proprietary flash iPlayer faff?
(, Sat 19 Jun 2010, 7:36, closed)
I suspect
what would happen, is that the tax would be absorbed into 'general revenue', and there would be increased pressure to reduce funding to the BBC in the way that various governments cut funding to everything when they have less coming in than going out.
(, Sun 20 Jun 2010, 9:04, closed)

« Go Back

Pages: Popular, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1