So I do not have a TV Licence.
This apparently is shocking to a lot of people and to the TV Licensing company themselves.
A little bit of background here…
Last year my partner moved in with me after my flatmate moved out and we decided to take a good look at all of our bills and subscription services. We’re saving up as ever and didn’t want any excess we didn’t need. One of these under review was the TV License at £145.50 a year.
I decided to keep a TV Licence, just in case we ever felt the need to watch something we would be covered. It became really obvious when I had to start dusting the TV set and knew nothing about the adverts people would mention that we really didn’t watch TV. Even iplayer didn’t get a look in as frankly I’d gone off that whilst I was still at Uni and it decided to take forever to load, no matter what internet I used. Very frustrating. Instead of watching TV we were sticking to Netflix and occasionally popping into HMV for a new update in DVD’s we really wanted.
So it became obvious to me, why the heck are we paying £145.50 for something we don’t need or actually want anymore? I decided to end it. Following their website instructions, which I have to say I wasn’t impressed with, the website, the language is awful and the tone of the whole thing makes you feel insecure about everything you’re doing. I filled in their online form to cancel my TV licence, which at the end said to let them know we no longer required a licence, so I clicked that link and filled that in too, I also cancelled my direct debit with my bank and thought no more of it. Done. £145.50 saved,
This was all done in August 2016, over the Christmas period I got a letter saying my licence will expire on 31st Dec and that I should renew urgently… Weird, I thought it was all done.
I re-read the letter and website and confirmed that I could’ve reclaimed the money between August and December, damn… but okay it’s actually over in December at the end of the year. Okay, let’s not cry over spilt milk let it expire, job done.
Now to present day. I have received 2 letters THIS WEEK telling me that my licence has expired and that I need to contact the licensing agency immediately (they even include a filled out Paypoint and postal payment slip for me to just sign and send back). They have branded a bold red inked notice on the top of the letter saying LATE RENEWAL. I decide this is ridiculous and someone hasn’t updated my info, so I call their 0300 number (which by the way from a mobile, as I don’t have a landline can cost up to 40p per minute check out the Ofcom website for yourselves) and have to be put on hold and various press 1 press 2 options and 20 minutes later I hear a real person’s voice on the end of the phone. I tell her there’s been a mistake and I don’t require a licence anymore, when I cancelled it and that I did already fill in the online form. She never says what happened, just swiftly moves on.
The next thing I know I am asked in several different ways the same sentences ‘Do you watch or record live TV?’ ‘Do you use iplayer’ … both of these get a No. Because I don’t, she then asks me if I have a TV… well yes for DVD’s and Netflix. She asks again if I use iplayer…No. This goes on for 5 more minutes until I cut her off with an explanation of how I do not even own an aerial and I only watch DVD’s and Netflix on my Amazon Fire stick.
She then sighs and asks me how long I intend to not watch or record live TV, I tell her probably indefinitely and that if I changed my mind I’ll call back. She then lists off how I could be fined or prosecuted if I do not comply with their rules and tells me she can give me a two year period for not having a licence. I should also expect an investigator to come round my house.
The phone is put down and I search on Google for people’s experiences with these ‘Investigators’ and I have seen nothing but complaints and accusations of harassment and intimidation.
This is just my story, I am waiting for said ‘Investigator’ to appear, but I have to say I am already annoyed and frustrated. From looking at forums and comments online it seems I’m not the only one with these troubles and some have some really horrendous stories with how they’ve been treated.
What really grinds my gears is the language that has been used to communicate with me, after all, I followed TV Licensing procedure, I even contacted them to rectify a problem, yet their language has been nothing but accusatory and curt.
I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s experiences with the TV Licensing company and what other people think of the fees and communication methods currently used.
I’ll leave you with this excerpt from my latest letter for your own judgement and inspection:
*my address* has now been unlicensed for 2 weeks.
Dear Miss Ford,
Your TV License expired last month.
- If you have been watching or recording live TV programmes on any channel or device, or downloading or watching BBC programmes on iPlayer, then you have been breaking the law.
- If you delay renewing, you are not saving money as, legally, your property still needs to be licensed from the date your last TV Licence expired.
- If you do not renew immediately, you are putting yourself at risk of investigation, prosecution and a fine for committing a criminal offence.
KEY POINTS: At no point does this letter say that I can state that I do not need a license.
It has not asked me to verify my status or even a suggestion that it may be a mistake
The letter is accusatory, misleading and frankly insulting in my personal opinion.