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TV Shows TV licence

Discussion in 'General' started by CrapBag, 21 Feb 2022.

  1. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    We haven't paid for a licence since moving house last May. We've had numerous threatening letters, including ones with BIG RED WORDS and a warning that someone will be visiting our house... but it's all idle threats. And if someone did come to our house, the door would be shut in their face. You don't even need to engage them... it's a cold call from a salesperson.

    We have joined the multitude of UK residents who no longer watch live broadcast TV, and that number continues to rise.
     
  2. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Plus, y'know... nobody's forcing anyone to watch TV. I assume.
    Eeh... kinda. A TV Licensing Inspector can enter your home without your authorisation in order to investigate, but only if they've applied for a search warrant and are accompanied by the Police.

    Salespeople can't, to the best of my knowledge, apply for search warrant.

    Will
    they apply for a search warrant? Probably not. This guy claims to have been a TV Licensing Enforcement Officer and says that there was a target of at least one search warrant application per month, and that he never actually bothered - and neither did anyone else, it seems, as they were at risk of the Police just saying "let's not bother, then."
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2022
  3. VictorianBloke

    VictorianBloke Man in a box

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    I'm probably one of the few that would pay more for the licence fee, but then I use a lot of BBC services and content.

    I do think it's an outdated charging model, and people who legitimately don't use any of it should certainly not be criminalised or pressurised for opting out. These days it's only really the OTA stuff that couldn't be sat behind a log in anyway.
     
  4. slimithy

    slimithy What's a Dremel?

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    Taxes to help run the country, and optional tax that only serves to makes a company rich, aren't the same thing are they?
     
  5. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Err... have you seen what Our Glorious Leaders have been spending our money on of late? Billions to their families and friends.

    Also, the money doesn't go to the BBC: it goes to the government, like any other tax. The government then adds it to its Consolidated Fund, then it's used in the Appropriation Act in which the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) - not the BBC - decides where the money should go. Then and only then does the BBC and S4C, which is not part of the BBC but still funded by the TV Licence, get any dosh.

    But you're absolutely right in it being optional, in that if you don't want to watch live TV (or use iPlayer) you don't have to pay it - which makes it, to my mind, considerably less odious than non-optional taxes you have to pay whether you want to or not.
     
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  6. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    Aye, but I don't go fishing so I don't have a rod licence, if their goons started harassing people there would be uproar.
     
  7. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    To be faiiiiiir, it's a lot easier to tell if someone sat by a canal is fishing than if someone sat by a TV is watching a live broadcast...

    Maybe the closer comparison would be if you keep getting hassled by Environment Agency bailiffs 'cos your hobby is to sit by a canal holding a rod but without any line on it. Which... yeah, you would.

    But there's certainly something to be said against TVLA's approach of "if you're not on our database of people-who-pay, we'll just go ahead and assume you're a thief."
     
  8. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    Ok then, I don't have a permit to cultivate marijuana, I don't want people coming round to check my loft, followed by the HSE checking I'm not storing illegal quantities of petrol, with a queue down the street of various bodies checking I'm not in breach of any number of things I don't have licences for :wallbash:

    The presumption of guilt is criminal.
     
  9. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    The presumption of guilt is how investigation of any crime takes place. You don't have a permit to cultivate wacky-baccy, but if someone notices that the snow doesn't seem to stick on your roof or that your energy usage is sky-high you'll get a visit from some uniformed individuals asking to take a little look-see - just like if you've got a TV but no TV Licence you'll get a visit from some uniformed individuals asking to take a little look-see too, except that the Police actually care about grow-ops and give considerably less of a toss about TV Licences.

    Here's a really good example: the DVLA. I own a car. If I want to keep the car on a public road - not even drive it, just keep it - I need to pay an annual tax. If the DVLA knows I own a car but I don't pay that tax, they send some people round to find out what's what - "assuming that I'm guilty" in the same way the TVLA assumes I'm guilty if I don't pay that tax.

    And just like with the TV Licence, the solution to the DVLA thing is to tell 'em that I don't have to pay - a statutory off-road notification, which is exactly equivalent to having to tell the TVLA that I don't watch broadcast TV or use iPlayer. In both cases, they then leave me alone (in theory, at least.)

    Again, though, the TVLA is a lot more aggressive about all this, and I'm not saying I agree with that; but, equally, I'm willing to bet there are a lot more people using TV Licence-able services and not paying than there are untaxed cars on the road.
     
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  10. Omnislip

    Omnislip Minimodder

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    The license fee sucks, is regressive, and is enforced by an awful organisation who should be ashamed of themselves. If you don't use any live TV ever, or iPlayer, then I agree you should not pay for it.

    Having said all that, my point is that you can't on sound moral grounds just pick and choose what taxes you pay. If I'm a pacifist, I don't get my defence contribution back. If I didn't use the NHS last year, I don't get that back. Fundamentally we need principles of collective taxation or else we can't have nice things. I'm all up for changing how taxes are raised, but not for individuals deciding for themselves that they don't need to pay this or that, while the rest of us pick up their slack.
     
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  11. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    I really can't agree with you here.

    A criminal investigation doesn't take place with presumption of guilt, it begins with grounds to suspect. Not having a TV licence is in no way grounds to suspect.

    And regarding your DVLA example, you declare the car SORN and it's a done matter. No one will harass you about it. If you submit the paperwork to the TV licencing people saying that you don't have a TV (or it's SORNd) they will continue to harass you and as posted earlier, often ramp up the harassment as they know you're there.
     
  12. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Very true, except - as you say - the TV Licence is a tax you can pick and choose as to whether you pay or not. You just can't use the services it funds (well, rather generously, a subset of the services it funds) if you don't - much like I can't use my car on public roads unless I "choose" to pay the DVLA.
    I made reference to that earlier: not having a TV Licence should not be grounds for suspicion, you're right. However, owning a TV but not having a TV Licence is - exactly like owning a car and not paying the DVLA. Or, to go back to an earlier and much less apt comparison, sitting at the canalside with a rod but not actually putting the hook in the water.
    That doesn't seem to fit in with others' experiences in this thread:
    (All emphasis mine.)

    There are just two posts - this and this - even hinting at anything to the contrary. Seems to me that, just as with DVLA, the official method of proactively telling the TVLA you don't need a licence works just fine.
     
  13. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    I'm mainly basing my belief based upon the experiences of someone on another forum, who is being sent all the stages of threatening letters, etc. coupled with this website.
     
  14. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    Your beef is with partially Capita then, who is charged with the enforcement of TV licenses, and whomever is setting their KPIs
     
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  15. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    So you're basing your belief, in part at least, that submitting an "I don't need no stinkin' licence" notification to the TVLA will, unlike submitting the same notification to the DVLA, actively trigger harassment... on letters posted to a website by someone who did not submit an "I don't need no stinkin' licence" notification to the TVLA?

    I wonder how many letters he'd have got if he'd just filled in the form? Equally, I wonder what would have happened if he had decided to just stop paying his vehicle tax without filing a SORN with DVLA? (Spoiler: a little more than letters... £80 immediate fine, followed by prosecution and an additional £2,500 if you're caught driving the thing on the road for any reason other than travel to or from an MOT or other test appointment.)
     
  16. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    By and large, yes. Them and the system that allows them to operate in this way, I fundamentally disagree with it.

    The crux of this comparison is that an untaxed vehicle is an indicator of damaging behaviour, likely a large number of vehicles being driven without tax have neither an MOT or insurance, and can cause serious problems for innocent people. I don't see why TV licencing should be more feverishly pursued than untaxed vehicles.
     
  17. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    And there we, again, agree: I said as much here and here. And, in fact, it is not: the courts, as I mentioned before, very rarely grant search warrants to the TVLA (which, in turn, very rarely demands 'em.) Contrast with the DVLA, which will see you in court if you "forget" to pay the FPN you automatically received when you decided you didn't fancy paying vehicle tax any more.

    Enforcement of the TV Licence is almost (but, as above, not quite) entirely handled by private-sector companies working on behalf of Her Majesty's Government (and not, contrary to popular belief and the Government's own messaging on the topic, the BBC). Their aggression, if aggression is to be found, is driven wholly by profit-seeking - they get, I am assuming, a cut of every fine - and nothing to do with harm reduction. Though, that said, consuming TV Licence-funded services and not paying for 'em is harmful, though not nearly as much as hooning it up the wrong side of a dual carriageway in an untaxed Subaru.

    Thankfully, as I've said, it's easily fixed: as proven in this thread, you just need to fill out the form and - bar a possible single visit from the inspector to make sure you were telling the truth - you'll be left alone.

    Now, was I talking about the TVLA or the DVLA in that above sentence?

    EDIT:
    Also...
    ...sounds a lot like a presumption of guilt t'me. Maybe I don't want to pay it 'cos I genuinely don't have my car on public roads, but I also don't want to tell the DVLA or its inspectors that because... I dunno, reasons.
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2022
  18. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    This is perhaps where I'm getting caught up, what I've gleaned from various sources is that the pursuit doesn't start and end here. I've seen enough YouTube videos pf people getting their nth visit from enforcement, I suspect it is like Hermes and comes down to the specific employee you get assigned, some are good and some are bad. I will concede that this thread suggests otherwise but I can only gather what I can from various sources, I've never been without a licence of my own so I have no first hand experiences.

    You can move into a new build house in the clothes you're wearing and they'll start sending you letters, the DVLA only begin when you register a vehicle to that address, it's an important distinction.
     
  19. Omnislip

    Omnislip Minimodder

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    I think there is an important but subtle distinction here - you can quite fairly "pick and choose" if it _applies to you_ by your media consumption habits; but you can't pick and choose whether or not to pay it, as you should pay it if it applies to you, and not pay it if it does not.
     
  20. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Or they're playing the victim for views. Like the dude with the website: he could have stopped the letters immediately by just filling in the form like everyone else, but he didn't - and then goes all Shocked Pikachu when he keeps getting letters.

    And, remember, this isn't someone who just landed on the Earth from nowhere: it's someone who, by his own admission, had been paying for a TV Licence for years prior to just cancelling the Direct Debit and sticking his fingers in his ears. Obviously the TVLA's going to want to know why, 'cos he used to need a TV Licence - much like the DVLA is going to want to know why you stopped taxing your car all of a sudden.
    But sending a letter saying "hey, you don't seem to have a TV licence, you need one if you watch broadcast TV or use iPlayer, you can buy one here or fill in this really quick and easy form to let us know you don't need one and we'll leave you alone" is very different to an £80 fine followed by a court summons.

    Plus - and I'm going to make an assumption here, but I'm willing to bet I'm right - there are way more households without a car than without a TV.

    But, again, I am in no way saying that TVLA's collection agents are above harassment, misrepresentation, and/or outright mistruths in pursuit of a juicy fine. That's a problem, but one which seems thankfully rare going by the anecdata in this thread.
    Doesn't the same apply to any tax? I can legally not pay VAT... if I only buy VAT-exempt or zero-rated goods. I can legally not pay capital gains tax... by not making any capital gains. I can legally not pay income tax... by not having much income. And I can not pay the TV Licence by not watching broadcast TV or using iPlayer.

    If the tax applies, then aye - you pay it. That's not a matter of choice, unless you like prison!
     

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