Review of TV licence fee tactics

#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7603258.stm

The BBC is to ask viewers and listeners for their opinions on how the licence fee is collected following complaints about "heavy-handed" tactics.

Governing body the BBC Trust has set up the consultation on methods of tracing and deterring suspected evaders.

Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said a "balance needs to be struck between ensuring compliance and avoiding any disproportionate heavy-handedness".

An annual colour TV licence is £139.50. In 2007/8, the evasion rate was 5.1%.

According to TV Licensing, almost half of those claiming not to have a television actually do have one.

Adverts warning of an imminent visit from the TV licence detector van have led to some accusations of bullying.

One recent campaign carried the sound of a helicopter apparently bearing down on a street.

It was followed by the sound of a barking dog, a knock at a door and the warning: "Your town, your street, your home... it is all in our database."

Last year, Conservative MP Gary Streeter put forward an early day motion in parliament, signed by 60 MPs, criticising the "intimidating" tactics being used.

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". The BBC has a duty to keep evasion rates as low as possible so that those people who pay are not disadvantaged by those who do not


Another Tory MP David Maclean accused TV Licensing of scaring people with "dire threats of prosecution" even when they did not own a set.

Now the Trust's review, launched on Monday, will consider the "tone of the marketing and advertising about the TV licence" and the "enforcement methods used... including letters, visits and detection".

It will also examine whether it is clear enough to viewers when a TV licence is needed and whether the range of payment methods available is adequate.

Sir Michael said the licence fee was vital to ensuring the delivery of good quality programmes.

"The BBC has a duty to be efficient in collecting the licence fee and to keep evasion rates as low as possible so that those people who pay are not disadvantaged by those who do not," he said.

"This is an issue which arouses strong emotions, because the right balance needs to be struck between ensuring compliance with the law and avoiding any disproportionate heavy-handedness.

"On behalf of licence fee payers, the trust will consider whether that balance is being struck through the processes used to collect the licence and, if there is room for improvement, we will ensure they are made."

Anyone who uses a TV set or other receiver, such as a digital box or computer, to watch or record programmes as they are being broadcast must have a licence.

In 2007/08, £3.4bn in fees was collected. The first combined radio and TV licence was issued in 1946 and was £2.
Cnuts. All of them. Here's my reply to their threat of legal action.

To Whom It May Concern,

Apparently, according to John Hales the National Manager for TV Licensing Enforcement, my property is under investigation and I am facing legal proceedings. Well, that’s what it says in a letter signed by him and received by me this week (referenced above and dated November 2007). The letter goes on to list the punishments that I can be expected to receive after this so called ‘investigation’ because, “despite having been sent a licence expiry notice and an overdue notice”, apparently I don’t have a television licence.

Normally, I ignore pseudo-nazi letters and confine them to the recycling bin (aren’t I a good little citizen?), but this one annoyed me ever so slightly. “Why”? I hear you ask. “What have we done to annoy one of the tax-paying public - one of those people who keep us in our job?” Let me list the reasons:

1. I do have a television licence.
2. I paid for my television licence over the Internet on 30 September 2007 (the day the previous licence expired) for which I have a receipt and a paper copy of the licence which clearly states: ‘Paid In Full’. This licence expires on 30 September 2008 – the reference is *********.
3. I really take offence at being unduly threatened – either physically or with legal action.

Now normally, there are occasions where your nasty letters cross over in the post. Indeed, I consigned your lesser-threatening letter (the ‘Overdue Notice’) to the recycling bin (see – there’s the good little citizen again) due to the sound knowledge of actually having a television licence. This occurrence is probably more frequent these days due to another inefficient company – the Post Office. On this occasion, I can’t believe that even the Post Office are that inefficient. Let me spell it out for you; I purchased my television licence on 30 September 2007 and on 01 December 2007 I receive a threatening letter clearly stating that I do not have a television licence. Now, according to my calculations the intervening period between the two letters is two months. Your comment in the letter, “If you have recently purchased a licence, please ignore this letter”, just doesn’t apply here, does it? Two months is hardly recent. So I assess that the fault lies with you and not the Post Office.

Do you not check you records before sending out threatening letters? Any other company would not last long in the commercial world if it carried out its business in a similar manner. Then again, you probably couldn’t care less – customer care just isn’t in your dictionary.

If you persist and continue to send me threatening letters, I shall take this matter further.
I think it's about time that the propaganda arm of the Liabour Party should be made to stand on its own two feet. Join the real world and if it can't survive as a business, tough.

I fear I am turning into Victor Meldrew.
 
#4
Bonzo_Dog said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7603258.stm

One recent campaign carried the sound of a helicopter apparently bearing down on a street.

It was followed by the sound of a barking dog, a knock at a door and the warning: "Your town, your street, your home... it is all in our database."
Not being funny and I think the license fee should be abolished myself but, how was the above delivered? I presume on the BBC channels that everyone pays for? Surely nothing to worry about if you have paid???
 
#5
All_I_Want said:
Bonzo_Dog said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7603258.stm

One recent campaign carried the sound of a helicopter apparently bearing down on a street.

It was followed by the sound of a barking dog, a knock at a door and the warning: "Your town, your street, your home... it is all in our database."
Not being funny and I think the license fee should be abolished myself but, how was the above delivered? I presume on the BBC channels that everyone pays for? Surely nothing to worry about if you have paid???
Despite being in the middle of a battle over my council tax (b@stards), when it comes to the TV licence my attitute is that Top Gear, Doctor Who and the BBC News website are worth the fee alone.

...INCOMING!!!
 
#6
parapauk said:
All_I_Want said:
Bonzo_Dog said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7603258.stm

One recent campaign carried the sound of a helicopter apparently bearing down on a street.

It was followed by the sound of a barking dog, a knock at a door and the warning: "Your town, your street, your home... it is all in our database."
Not being funny and I think the license fee should be abolished myself but, how was the above delivered? I presume on the BBC channels that everyone pays for? Surely nothing to worry about if you have paid???
Despite being in the middle of a battle over my council tax (b@stards), when it comes to the TV licence my attitute is that Top Gear, Doctor Who and the BBC News website are worth the fee alone.

...INCOMING!!!
£3 billion pa - quite some price for 2 hours of programmes each week for half of the year and a crappy website.
 
#8
Outstanding said:
If BBBC is delivering "good quality programmes" why do so many folk pay Sky to recieve relevant ones?
Yup,
I very rarely watch the 'terrestrial channels' cause there's so much reality TV Sh1te on!!! Who the feck wants to watch Big Brovva 53? Cum Dancing 12.5?
I fecking dont!!
 
#9
I have been under all sorts of threats and investigations since i moved to my present address some 4 years ago and routinly receive the sort of threats highlighted in 'Bonzo_Dog' first post however i dont have a TV if they where to either offer a freephone number as opposed to the 0845 40p a minute on my mobile or enclosed a prepaid envelope i would be inclined to inform them i have no TV.

However we are talking about Capita who i believe still have the threatening and bullying contract that assumes you are guilty of TV licences evasion until proved inoccent.* thanks to Blogg for correcting my error of blame

british justice at its best, ii am though in two minds as to if the Licence fee is a good or bad thing, i am not however in two minds as to the BBC being run by idiots.


Edited for corrections but i still dislike serco ... :wink:
 
#10
Another waste of licence-payer's money to be spent on fnding out how to make it less painful for people to be licence-payers.

Here's a few other wastes of money:

Millions spent on a series of compulsory seminars to teach BBC producers to "value" trust and not make up competition results.

Millions given to independent producers, some with links to those within the BBC involved in commissioning their programmes instead of in-house BBC productions.

Millions wasted on a Diversity Unit, which provides a 'database' of token ethnics / wheelchair jockeys which all producers are supposed to consult before casting anything.

Lord knows how much exactly was spent on sending D-G Mark Thompson on a junket to Peking to watch the games with a few of his influential mates. This rather upset those working on programmes about human rights abuses in China that were shelved in case they upset the D-G's delicate 'mission to ingratiate'.

Millions wasted on shite programmes that are commissioned by middle class cretins who do not understand that the entire world does not shop at Waitrose, or eat sushi, or holiday in Southwold, or Peking.

If ever there was a better reason to sack the BBC Trust - most of whom know nothing about broadcasting - I have yet to find it.
 
#11
Thank you msr. I have just completed the survey. I don't think that I have been able to have such an eloquent rant for years. I feel better.
 
#12
rockpile said:
Thank you msr. I have just completed the survey. I don't think that I have been able to have such an eloquent rant for years. I feel better.
Neither have I. I feel better too.

I am simply fed up of rude, threatening and abusive junk mail presuming my guilt.

msr
 
#13
halo_jones said:
However we are talking about serco who i belive still have the threatening and bullying contract that assumes you are guilty of TV licences evasion until proved inoccent.
You are dealing with the worst of all possible worlds: BBC and Capita

TV Licensing" is a trading name used by companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of television licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing system.

The majority of administration is contracted to Capita Business Services Ltd, with cash related payment schemes contracted to Revenues Management Services Ltd.

Over-the-counter services are contracted to PayPoint Collections Ltd.


http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/aboutus/index.jsp

So a brainless outsourced money grabbing machine which has been set "performance targets" for grabbing cash to stuff into the ever open maw of a bloated, useless and mostly unaccountable semi public broadcaster that thinks it is something very special and effortlessly better than any other.

That will go well then
 
#14
I recall my father sending a similarly worded letter of complaint to them when they sent a letter to my grandfather threatening prosectution for non payment. The fact that he'd been dead for several months at the time didnt seem to matter.
 
#15
i too do not watch broadcast tv and haven't for years. after having many threatening letters and speaking several times to them on the phone they stopped writing to me. then six months ago I bought a big tele to use as a computer monitor and to watch dvds and obviously the letters started again. due to the previous harrasment I didn't respond until recently. I just collected the threatening letters with a mind to legal action against them. I am still waiting for the 'instector' to call to prove my innosence. we shall have to see how he behaves.

edit to add. I can't comment on the ads as I haven't seen them! (really)
 
#16
msr said:
More here: http://www.tvlicensing.biz/ including samples of the letters which you get every couple of months.

msr
It make me frown ... nay rant that they have thus far failed to turn up at my door demanding entry to proceed with there investigations...It is petty and childish i know but i do want them too as i intend to be a mardy cow...within of course the bounds of the law :wink:
 
#17
SkiCarver said:
six months ago I bought a big tele to use as a computer monitor
Problem is that you do not have to have a telly - owning what they call a 'receiving apparatus' (VHS recorder etc) makes you liable.

I have not owned a telly (or apparatus) for yonks because I think that 90% of the stuff on television is sh1t but anyway... the story.

Just after moving house about 5 yrs ago the door bell went Ding, Dong...

There were a middle aged woman and a spotty apprentice standing there

Woman "Are you Mr X?"
I said "No"
Woman "What is your name"
Me "Why do you want to know?"
Woman "We have no record of a TV licence at this address"
Me "That's because there is no TV licence"
Woman "Do you need a licence?"
Me "No"
Woman "Why not?"
Me "Coz I do not have a TV"
Woman "Can we come in and have a look at your sitting room?"
Me "No"
Woman " Why not?"
Me "Coz you do not have a warrant to enter"
Woman "I am only trying to do my job"
Me "I wish you luck, Goodbye"

Have heard nothing since
 
#19
For my sins I worked for capita as an enquiry officer for a couple of months. (Kids to feed) :roll:
The team in Liverpool, which I believe is typical of the teams in all cities, was made up of approx 15 people, some like myself ex military and some ex post office employees. In order to achieve your targets you had to catch 25 people a week each which everyone managed. I was taught by a bloke who did things by the book but there were others on the team who would resort to "tactics" that involved tricking the resident into admitting they had a TV.
My first months bonus for reaching my targets of nicking people and selling licenses was £700. License fee money obv.'

Actual incident outside a flat in Anfield:

*Buzzer on intercom is pressed*

Occupant. "who is it?"

Me. "Can you buzz me in please?"

Occupant. No Who is it?"


Me. TV Licensing can I get in please?"

Occupant. "I'm sorry there is no one gere at the moment but if you would like to leave a message please do so after the beep......beeeeep."

I laughed so much I just left him to it.
 

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