99 comments Add a comment
Well it looks as if the TV Licensing people haven't got the message yet, even though their enforcement officers paid us a visit just over a week ago. I moved to this house a few months ago by the way and have so far completely ignored all the warnings that they have sent demanding that I buy a TV Licence or possibly face a fine.
I don't see why I should communicate with these parasites every time I move house to tell them I still do not have a television. Why should I? It's a clear case of being guilty until you prove you are innocent. As for the enforcement officer with the TV detector van that turned up last week, well he wanted to come in and take a look around to make sure we didn't have a TV. Naturally I wasn't going to permit a stranger to come into my home without some more official looking documentation.
That TV Licensing badge looked authentic enough, but this guy could have been anyone and I didn't see a van up the street! He could even have been there just to case the joint for some future robbery or it could have been a distraction burglary, you hear about them all the time. I sent him away to get a warrant because he wasn't about to enter my house without one. He mumbled something about making a phone call and that they had detected a television in my house. I pointed out that the only thing they could have detected was the computer as I don't have a TV.
That was that I thought as I closed the door and I still haven't heard anything further regarding an inspection so who knows. I had thought that our little conversation was enough to set the record straight, tick in the box that this house doesn't have a TV etc. Apparently not though because I received yet another threatening letter from the TV Licensing people addressed to The Occupier. Very strange that, because the enforcing officer that turned up on my doorstep took a note of my name. I would have thought that information should have filtered through they system somehow.
Anyway, this letter from TV Licensing is actually the reason for writing this gripe (click on the image to read it in full). It's the tone of it that I really don't like. It comes across as very threatening and intimidating and if any other company were to send out this kind of material on a regular basis, I am pretty sure there would be a national uproar. How do they get away this?
It begins with the words OFFICIAL WARNING in underlined capitals. A warning of course means cautionary advice about something imminent (especially imminent danger). An official warning therefore carries more weight. It means you've done something wrong (or they think you've done something wrong). Even the typeface comes across as a bit official and stern and this is deliberate I think. Then there's the liberal scattering of words and phrases such as "police", "criminal" and "court appearance" in the text.
In my opinion this document isn't designed to help you buy a TV Licence, rather it is designed to SCARE you into buying one and that to me is just not on! When did it suddenly become okay for companies to send out a threatening communication like this?
As I mentioned earlier, I don't have a TV and I don't want one. But I also don't believe that I should have to inform these people whenever I move house that I still don't want a television. I especially resent being harassed (yes, that is exactly what this is) and treated like a criminal because I dare to stray from the norm and not buy a TV licence.
Can you imagine how an elderly person would feel having received a threatening notice like this? Not particularly nice is it?
How to deal with TV Licensing
Avoiding TVL/BBC harassment
Someone very kindly sent in a link to this site. It contains lots of useful information about dealing with the TV Licensing people and in particular what they can and can't do. I'm inclined to draw your attention to the section called "Tips for avoiding TVL/BBC harassment" on the left hand menu at the top of the page.