Oh no...it's the TV Licence people! What to do when the letters arrive and the inspector calls
If you’ve decided TV is Satan’s messenger and refuse to have it in your house or you just don’t pay your license on principle you will get a letter and possible visit from the TV Licence inspectors.
The visits, the letters, the ads are all hoping for one thing; to scare you into getting a licence as this is the most effective way of getting more people to buy one.
What do you do about the letters - well it’s up to you really, ignoring them is probably best, but if anybody decides to keep them as evidence of harassment and take out an injunction against the BBC then please let us know. I’d do it myself, but I can’t be bothered.
If you want to waste your time and a stamp replying, to say you haven’t got a TV, don’t think it will stop them pestering you. They will still want to come round just to check and even if you sign a declaration they will start over again in a year, just in case ‘circumstances change’
Occasionally they try sending letters out by recorded delivery. This is particularly annoying because if you miss the postie you can end up trotting all the way to the sorting office thinking ‘ooh I wonder what interesting post I’ve got’ only to find it’s a bloody letter from the TV Licence inspectors. Grrrr.
Sometimes it’s a give away if the postie has written ‘/occupier’ on the little card they leave, which can save you a trip.
I can’t tell you if these letters are especially horrible because I have a problem with paranoia and always check post I’ve got to sign for, as the envelopes say TV Licence on the back I don’t accept them. (To refuse recorded post you have to follow a certain procedure - look at the envelope, decide you don’t want to sign for it, say ‘nah thanks’)
There is one particularly threatening letter that they are fond of at the moment which would sound quite nasty if it wasn’t a load of cobblers
Basically it sounds like a really official letter saying inspectors have been authorised to come round and that they’ll take a statement under caution and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act for use in any prosecution, but it’s meaningless.
The ‘authorised to’ bit: authorised by who?
I could authorise my gran to come and take away your TV but would that mean you would let her? In fact all that has happened is the TV agents have been ‘authorised’ by their bosses to come round - yeh, well that’s their job, the letter just makes it sound more important.
The ‘statement’ bit - you don’t have to give any statement. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act is just more jargon that sounds worrying but isn’t - it is just a set of rules that regulate the behaviour of those gathering evidence accepted by a court and how it should/shouldn’t be got. If anything, it is something they have to bother with, not you! If you did stupidly make and sign any statement it probably wouldn’t have any more or less clout than if you signed one for your neighbour - but it won’t help you - don’t make a statement and don’t sign! It could save you £200 (yeah I know they say £1000 but that’s the max and if it all goes tits up it’s usually £100-£200)
As for the caution - you don’t have to listen or say anything to them, not even your name so don’t. There is a bit they may try and emphasis, the; ‘it may harm your defence if you don’t talk bit’ - it’ll harm your defence a lot more if you start yapping, just shut the door and say nothing. You could say ‘bollocks’ and shut the door but why would you want to be rude?
Your typical TV Licence inspector will probably be an agent working for someone like AMV consortium who are subcontracted by general parasites: Capita who currently have the contract for field staff from the BBC. The agents work like double glazing salesmen and get prizes if they are the get the best results.
Just like bailiffs, don’t let them in whatever the bullshit, they can’t come in if they haven’t got a search warrant and they can’t even apply for that without actual evidence that you’re breaking the law. Them saying ‘we know you’ve got a TV’ is not evidence, although a bloody great dish on the front of your house might cause you some problems here. As for the detector vans, how many people do you know who have actually been caught by one? I’ll guess it is none. In fact there doesn’t appear to have been any prosecution based on just on these.
If they start bugging you then ask for their ID and remind them that their own ‘Procedural Instructions’ say (2.0) that they must ‘visit without causing offence’ and you have (3.0) ‘no legal obligation to answer or co-operate’
If they do catch you on your doorstep treat them like you would any bailiff.
Don’t let them in, don’t say nuffing and don’t sign nuffing.
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