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Ghost_Danser
Reply from TV Licensing 
27th-Oct-2008 01:10 pm
Head to head battle with Cake
"
Thank you for contacting us.

As you have let us know that you do not use television equipment, I have now annotated our records to show a set is not in use at your address.

To prevent unnecessary reminders being sent we have now changed the process regarding homes where a set is not in use. Within the next few weeks you will receive another letter. This asks you to reply only if a set has been installed or a licence purchased.

As no licence is required, as a set is not in use, then you do not need to reply. In due course one of our Visiting Officers will call on you and confirm the situation. Once confirmed, we will update our records accordingly. This will protect your address from mailing, for a longer period than would normally be set at an address, as it has been confirmed that a set is not in use.

Some unscrupulous people will use this particular action as a form of evasion. I am sure you will appreciate, we have a responsibility to the Licensing Authority and the licence holding public to be certain of the licensing requirements for each address hence the instigation of the new process.

I hope the information above clarifies the situation.

Yours sincerely

TV Licensing
"

So if this is the new procedure, what was the old on like?

Anyway, I so relieved, I am only classed as a potentially unscrupulous person, rather than a potential criminal. How much does it cost the license payer to send "Visiting officers" around to each address?

I can feel a freedom of Information request coming on. How much of the license fee is spent chasing up non-payers, and how is that figure worked out?

What does a visiting officer do to verify that one is telling the truth? Do they need access? I feel a poll coming on!

Should the "Visiting Officer" come a visiting and want to gain access, should I:

let them in
2(20.0%)
tell them to get a warrant
4(40.0%)
pretend that I am about to let them in and them slam the door in their face
3(30.0%)
other: answers in the box below:
1(10.0%)

in this box (max 255 chars apparently):

Comments 
27th-Oct-2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
TV licensing is a particular bugbear of mine, as I Channel 5 and freeview don't transmit in my area, yet I have to pay the same as anyone else.

You want to watch if they come round though - the law applies to anythng capable of receiving TV signals, which includes video recorders and satellite TV equipment, even if you don't have a tv set.

I expect they'll change the rules soon - at the moment, I don't think that having a pc and internet connection counts, although obviously you can watch iplayer and the other channels' equivalent.
27th-Oct-2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Surely ISPs should subsidise the possibility of watching tv via an internet connection?

I thought TV licences were to compensate for indirect service (haphazzard flinging-about of radio waves/digital signal), which the internet isn't*

*Ignoring the abundance of other peoples' Wifi, which is the fault of who ever set the router up!
27th-Oct-2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
That's what you'd think, but it doesn't seem to work like that. I know that cable companies are required to submit details of subscribers to licensing - I guess the logic is that if you have cable, you're going to have a TV....

With the bbc iplayer, only UK domains can use the facility - the argument was that it was the only way to try and narrow the service to UK TV license payers.

That's why I think there will be a change in the rules soon - the whole licensing system is based on a concept of broadcasting from 50 years ago.


27th-Oct-2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
what gets me is that without my sky subscription I couldn't watch television, because I'm in a freeview blind spot. So I'm, in effect being forced to pay for 1 product twice.

If it weren't for Free-view* it would make more sense for the service providers to pay the tv licences, because thanks to digital they're the ones using the infrastructure! Freeview boxes could come with registration cards, like like a tv-licence pay-as-you-go sim card
27th-Oct-2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
I'm in a blind spot too. If you have a sky dish and box, you can get freeview through it for a one off admin payment of £10 or similar, even if you don't take a sky subscription.

However, that's no use to me because my house is listed, and I can't put a dish up!
27th-Oct-2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
The only thing we have are TV cards for the PCs, which aren't connected, aren't used, and they'd never know about.

With the internet, I believe it is the responsibility of the site offering shows to decide if they want to collect money (subscriptions etc.) for it, which is surely a much better method than forcing everyone to pay for things they don't watch.
27th-Oct-2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
You only have to pay for watching live broadcasts. I do have PC cards, but gave up trying to get them working long ago. I should sell them on really. I am glad I stopped watching broadcast TV. I don't miss it.

We are often told that we don't complain enough about poor service. Yet here we have an example of us being told that we have to accept what we get and to pay up - or else! There is no incentive to improve services.

You are right about the current rules. The world and the way that people watch TV is changing.
28th-Oct-2008 03:42 pm (UTC)
The TV licence is for recieving broadcasts. Therefore, if you have a PC or laptop wih a tv tuner card (which I do) which you use to received television signals (which i don't), then you are required to have a licence. You can own a TV, a laptop, a video recorder or anything else that is capable of receiving a signal without having to have a licence, as long as you aren't receiving a signal on those things.
27th-Oct-2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
"pretend that I am about to let them in and them slam the door in their face"

oh hahaha, I am so mature.

Its an invasion of your privacy to just come barging in though!!!
27th-Oct-2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
4.1% of the license fee is spent on collection, apparently:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/27/beeb_tvdetector_secrets/

I'd refuse to let them in - they have no right to demand entry. They'll start hounding you again, but it's probably worth it to prove the point.
27th-Oct-2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking of running with this for a while, just for the fun of it ;)
27th-Oct-2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
You should never let anyone in unless you've pre-arranged for them to be there. You're always going to be several times more likely to make a foolish decision if someone catches you off guard. I think this is something that should be done with meter-men(/meter-people?), too!

It would certainly protect a lot of elderly people. Not that I'm implying anything, stuart :)
27th-Oct-2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Get the bit where they say they're coming to check on you anyway. Is it any wonder they're hated more than Lord Mandelson of Clapham Common Public Conveniences?
27th-Oct-2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I should be associating with a "potentially unscrupulous person". Crikey! You bad man, you! ;D
27th-Oct-2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
I recall getting the first gentle reminder when I was at uni & thinking - fair enough, lots of kids away from home for the first time, they might forget. Then it was followed by an endless barrage of letters demanding I get a TV licence.

I don't think a commercial company should be allowed to send what is essentially abusive mail. I chose not to have a tv because the money could be better spent on other entertainments - top films from 6 months ago are on DVD for £5 and a year cinima ticket costs the same as a tv licence.

I don't have captain Birdseye demanding to check my freezer for fish fingers or a guy from Apple checking I don't have a Mac so why the fuck should I have someone from the BBC rooting about my home for a TV just to delay when I get the next threatening letter from them?
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