Monday, 8 September 2008

TV licence fee tactics

Review of TV licence fee tactics (BBC News, Monday, 8 September 2008)
He was particularly angry at the requirement for people who do not own
televisions - some one million people in Britain - to prove their "non-use".

It is typical for the BBC to repeat misleading information when their own interests are at stake. People who do not watch television don't have to prove anything, although they may be harassed a bit if they don't. (Note furthermore that one should distinguish between "own a television" and "watch television".)

If a TV Licensing agent calls, don't open the door. If you've already opened the door, smile friendly if you must, and then close the door again. Don't say anything, especially not your name! Everything you say can and will be used against you and so on. If they call more often than once every 6 months or so, withdraw their implied right of access (under an assumed name if they don't know your name already).

These TV Licensing agents are not police and have no special powers, despite their frequent lies to suggest otherwise. Only if they come with a search warrant do you have to let them in, and then they will usually be accompanied by a police officer. For once, regard that police officer as your friend. His or her presence will keep the TV Licensing creep from opening the drawer with your undies and sniffing where he's not allowed to.

If you happen to have a video camera lying around, film the event. Don't believe them if they tell you you can't film in your own home. Make it as embarrassing for them as it is for you, but without actually hindering the search. You must also comply with any reasonable request to assist the search. But for goodness sake, don't sign anything, under any circumstances and whatever they tell you!

Unless you watch television with the curtains open, TV Licensing officers don't usually go so far as to seek a search warrant. In a truly free, civilised society, it wouldn't happen that one of them convinces some dork of a magistrate that there are reasonable grounds for believing that you watch television while you don't. But regrettably, we live in Britain. The real problem here is of course the legal system as a whole, but that's a different story.

As to the letters from TV Licensing you receive about every two months, just throw them away unopened. Reading them is bad for your health, I've been told.


Lefty said...

Thats very good advice Jimbo. the BBC Trust public consultation that your link talks about started 8th September (yesterday) and will be active for 12 weeks until Friday 28 November.

Could I be cheeky enough to include my web page on the issues and ask all those people that have an opinion on the way the licence fee is collected and wish to get active to join the campaign.

Jimbo said...

Great site, Lefty! I wish you all the luck.

As someone who does not indulge in the puerile pleasure of watching television, I might lose financially if the TV licence were to be abolished. If the BBC can no longer be financed through TV licences, the most obvious alternative is that financing would come out of taxes, and I'm a tax payer. However, the current harassment of viewers and non-viewers by Capita must stop, and as BBC programmes are crap as it is today, the whole public broadcasting system could do with a major overhaul. And then, who knows, one day it might be worthwhile again to watch television.

Anonymous said...

Yes the worst thing you can do is try and talk with these people because all their interested in is commission.