28 comments on “They’re not police

  1. They have more in common with an organised crime network really, demanding money with menaces. Insisting that you pay for their product whether you want it or not.

  2. Yes, you can complain about the police and something gets done. So no, they aren’t the police.

  3. The licence is a tax.
    Why was the BBC given the right to decide who is obliged to pay the tax?

  4. The good news is just how much information is now getting shared about how to avoid buying a license. For a lot of over-75s it’s worth getting a noddy £50 Android box and streaming if all they’re going to watch are Countdown and Tipping Point.

  5. They like to pick on defenceless people who have committed minor technical infringements of stupid and unjust rules; so yes, very like the police.

    You can be sure they won’t be advertising the fact that their actual powers are limited; they will use the “soft” power of the state to intimidate.

  6. @Edward Lud

    But only in certain situations.

    I doubt that not paying a TV licence is one of them.

  7. Is the justice system ready for a stream of 75 year olds refusing to pay?

    Saves on care homes….

  8. MB,
    From information given to me years ago from someone who worked in the relevant Government department, when the BBC was the only broadcaster, first with radio and then tv, the licence fee was for receiving radio or tv signals, just as CB radio hams have to have a licence.
    When ITV, and then other tv channels, came along, a fairer system would be the fee for receiving these signals being divided amongst the broadcasters. However, because the other channels received revenue from advertising, while the BBC was not allowed to advertise, it was agreed that the fee for receiving broadcast signals would only go to the BBC.
    Personally, I never watch live streamed tv or BBC iPlayer, so I don’t need a licence to receive these signals. Not being a fan of football/soccer, some of that licence fee going towards the obscene salary of an over opinionated potato crisp salesman who, reportedly, abandoned his wife and children to marry some big boobed model, is another reason I stopped paying for a tv licence, but that’s just me.

  9. Remember if you are streaming UK broadcasts live from t’internet you do need a license. You’re ok if you watch non BBC catch up, box sets etc.

  10. Maritime Barbarian.
    They take the view that everyone owes the tax. Up to you to prove you do not.

    I am surprised how much the BBC removing free licenses from some people has caused an uproar. So some of the higher income pensioners will be stung for what? £12 a month?
    While those younger people on low income or state benefits have to pay it anyway.

  11. I haven’t had a TV in years, it doesn’t stop the TV licensing people from hassling you. Their letters are comically inventing in trying to look menacing. But the best thing to do is to have as little contact with them as possible, I throw all the letters in the bin unopened. On the rare occasion when anyone has come to my door the conversation goes: “Do you have a TV?”, “No”, “Can I come in to check”, “Sure (without hesitation)”, “That’s alright”, then sign the waiver.

    People do make a damn fuss about the whole thing.

  12. When I was living on my own in UK I never had a TV so didn’t buy a license. I received the letters all the time, never replied and no one ever paid me a visit (well not when I was in anyway). I failed to understand why I should take the time and effort to inform them that I didn’t need a license as they suggested I should in the letters.

  13. I have received the “you are a criminal, pay up now or face the expense and embarrassment of appearing in court” letters. IMO these letters are criminal harassment as they are clearly designed to frighten people. As these were to an empty property I had nothing to worry about – except that they continue to send the letters unless you tell them you have no TV. Unfortunately for my plan, I’ve not been in a position to receive any more of these nastygrams, otherwise I was planning on going down to the Police Station and making a formal complaint of harassment – there’s a specific act that covers it and their letters most definitely meet the criteria of the sustained and repeated sending of letters intended to cause distress.
    Everything I have heard (no personal experience) says that the door to door hit men are equally programmed with the “you are a criminal unless you can prove otherwise” attitude. There have been reports that show the doorstep enforcement is inherently sexist – simply because the demographics are such that when they call, it’s more likely to be the single mum than a single dad who answers the door, or even the teenage children. As it’s the person watching that’s breaking the law, they get stuck with the problem.
    As an aside, I did try complaining that the letters do not carry the information that is required by the Business Names Act. The reply I got was that because “TV Licensing” (whoever they are) are contracted by the BBC, they can use the BBC’s exemption from this disclosure requirement by virtue of having a royal charter ! Great, so if you have a royal charter you can send deliberately harassing letters and not have to say who you are or how you can be contacted (ie postal address).

  14. “Why was the BBC given the right to decide who is obliged to pay the tax?”

    That right is, currently at least, fairly tightly bounded.

    But it is a step towards discovering which alternative funding model might work for the BBC in the future. It’s a fairly cute move in this respect.

    There’s an interesting thing been happening over the years; where are all the repeats?

    Yesterday on Freeview has the complete Ronnie Barker package, The Two Ronnies, Open All Hours, Porridge and, for some reason, ‘Allo ‘Allo. Gold has Only Fools and Horses, and, presumably, others. Dave has Top Gear, QI, HIGNFY.

    How are these channels funded, and who owns stakes in them?

  15. @I sneeze in threes July 18, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Remember if you are streaming UK broadcasts live from t’internet you do need a license.

    No. License only required if one streams from BBC iPlayer (on a mains powered device?).

  16. @Pcar
    “No. License only required if one streams from BBC iPlayer (on a mains powered device?).”

    Wrong. A license is required if you:
    (a) watch live TV broadcast over the air on a TV or other device, or record a live broadcast,
    (b) watch a programme streamed over the internet while it is being broadcast, or
    (c) watch BBC content on iPlayer, whether live or recorded.

    You don’t need a license for
    (a) watching live internet streams that are not being broadcast over the airwaves, including Youtube & Facebook live streams,
    (b) watching streams from online streaming services that are not TV channels, such as Netflix
    (c) watching recorded TV programmes over the internet from non-BBC sources, e.g. ITVplayer

    The BBC say you even need a license to watch live internet streams from foreign TV channels that are broadcasting the same lime stream even though the broadcast cannot be received in the UK.

    You could just not watch TV.

  17. Ducky McDuckface said:
    “Gold has Only Fools and Horses, and, presumably, others. Dave has Top Gear, QI, HIGNFY. How are these channels funded, and who owns stakes in them?”

    Gold and Dave are both part of UKTV, which is owned by the BBC. It was initially a joint venture, partly owned by the BBC, partly by others, basically to get outside investment to help the BBC make money from their back catalogue.

    The other shareholders changed a few times and eventually it was broken up, with some of the channels going to foreign broadcasters and the BBC in return being left with 100% of what was left (including Gold and Dave).

    It seems to be profitable, because of the advertising, although I can’t find proper accounts to check that.

  18. Amusingly when the BBC had a fit of moralising over Clarkson and Top Gear and stopped broadcasting them, Dave (BBC-owned) continued broadcasting the old Clarkson episodes.

    But that’s the difference between getting your money from a tax, and making money from adverts, so you have to show things that people actually want to watch.

  19. @RichardT;

    Quite. Funny that.

    @everybodyelsewhowasn’tpayingattentionyoudozyfuckers;

    Any guesses as to what might happen next?

    Also, whose fucking buttons are being pressed here?

  20. @ Harry Powell

    I haven’t had a TV in years, it doesn’t stop the TV licensing people from hassling you. Their letters are comically inventing in trying to look menacing. But the best thing to do is to have as little contact with them as possible,

    Yep.

    I throw all the letters in the bin unopened.

    I’ve kept the lot, just in case it’s useful to file an harassment claim at some point.

    On the rare occasion when anyone has come to my door the conversation goes: “Do you have a TV?”, “No”, “Can I come in to check”, “Sure (without hesitation)”, “That’s alright”, then sign the waiver.

    Why engage with or otherwise let some complete stranger (burglar?) in to your house? It contradicts the very sound “have as little contact with them as possible” comment above?

    On the rare occasion one might find one of these at the door, surely “no thanks / not today / thank you, but I’ve no need / whatever”, as you might to a bog brush salesman, is more than enough?

    These Crapita creatures are trained con merchants. If they can misrepresent punters in any way by extending engagement, to get their £20 (or whatever it is) commission, they will.

  21. @Mr Ecks July 18, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Shut down? No, it has value. Privatise BBC & C4 and abolish TV Licence

    iirc last time I looked BBC Worldwide made a loss from selling programmes to RoW – wtf?

    .
    @Alex

    Thanks for correction. Does battery exemption still apply?

  22. @PF
    Why engage with or otherwise let some complete stranger (burglar?) in to your house? It contradicts the very sound “have as little contact with them as possible” comment above?

    I think I was illustrating the most effective path here. If you want to get into high dudgeon and say “how dare you violate my private kingdom, sir” there is a chance that prodnose could go get a warrant and return with an actual policeman. But I had nothing to hide and it got rid of them efficiently.

  23. @ Harry Powell

    Fair enough.

    I guess I’ve found “No thanks. Do mind the steps on your way out” to be the easiest route of minimal contact whilst endeavoring to remain perfectly civil.

    In theory, they need hard evidence (put in front of a magistrate) in order to obtain a warrant. On the basis that they are mostly “desperate salesmen” (crooks), there may be a risk (for the less savvy) that engaging more substantially might unintentionally offer up that fake excuse that could later pose as evidence for a warrant. Hence, the safest / recommended approach is usually to just shut the door on them (and perfectly politely if so minded).

  24. @PF

    I opened door to TV Lic goon once; it was before he rang bell as I was on way out holding a sledge hammer and 3ft crowbar in hand (I was replacing CV Boot on car and DS seized in hub thus already angry)

    TV Goon: “I’m from TV Lic blah”

    Angry Me: “I’m busy. Move out of way please”

    He moved, I exited, shut and locked door and deployed sledge hammer on DS

    They’ve never rung door bell since, but they post notes through LB saying “We visited today”.

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