PLEASE NOTE AS OF SEPTEMBER 2016 THE LAW IS CHANGING REGARDING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR HAVING A TV LICENSE…THIS BLOG HAS NOW BEEN UPDATED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THIS NEW LAW. IF YOU USE BBC IPLAYER THIS APPLIES TO YOU…IF YOU DONT THEN DONT BOTHER READING THIS AGAIN 😉
Ok so a lot of people have been asking about TV licensing issues so here is my guide to avoiding paying it and also what to do if caught without one.
I left home 20 years ago and in that time I have owned two tv licenses both for roughly 6 months, I have been caught without a license nine times, I have received one summons to a magistrate court, yet I have never set foot inside a magistrates court, never been to jail and never been fined any amount because I know the real truth about this whole racket.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the TV license. A lot of lies have been and still are being told by the BBC. The name alone is misleading as the license is not for the tv but for receiving broadcast television or streaming from BBC iplayer. So I’m going to bust some of the myths for the benefit of all those who have been messaging me. First off let’s dispel a few myths
TV detector vans and internet detector vans do not exist!!! this is a clever propaganda trick to scare people into paying up like good little sheep. They track you through other methods such as the electoral role and commercial information that you volunteer like when you buy a TV in a store they ask you for your address.
TV license evasion is not a criminal offence!! Yes I know you’ve seen the adverts saying that it is…well believe it or not the TV is lying to you because it is in their interests to deceive you.
You will not go to jail for not having a license, yes I know you’ve heard of people who go to jail for license evasion…well that is another lie. What happens is they get taken to a magistrate’s court, get a fine and don’t pay the fine…that is why they went to jail…not paying the fine (which is a criminal offence) but you are mislead into believing it was because they didn’t have a license.
From September 2016 you will now need to have a tv license if you use BBC iplayer, but having had many discussions with tech minded people we are all in agreement that there is no way they can police this new law. We may have all seen talk about internet detector vans but let’s face facts here….each van would cost thousands and how big an area could they even cover? Given millions of people are streaming stuff online. Always assuming the technology even exists (which I’m assured it doesn’t)
If you want to watch live TV via streaming and also stay within licensing regulations then there are loads of websites that you can stream terrestrial tv without using BBC iplayer. Sorry but I can’t name them here but just Google it and you find many websites eagerly competing for your custom…so to stay ahead of the law just don’t use BBC iplayer and you are safe……but speaking figuratively they really can’t catch you if you do continue to watch BBC iplayer without a license
Ever since January I have been legally license free, I watch downloaded content only, I download what I want to watch and pipe it through to my TV through a HDMI cable, if I want to watch a tv programme I use a free catch up TV service on the web (not BBC iplayer) and stream it to my TV via the same method. This means I don’t need a license.
The people who come out to catch you work for a private company called Capita, the BBC got tired off all the bad press that came with enforcing the license so they handed it over to capita to avoid damaging the BBC brand. The employees get a bonus for every license they sell on the doorstep. So stop thinking of them as enforcers and start thinking of them as salesmen!!!!
Here is a list of powers these people have
Long list wasn’t it?
You may get those “official warnings” and “notice of impending action” letters, these are computer generated and sent out by the hundred thousand. They are merely a psychological tactic to scare you much like the letters debt collections agencies use.
Here is what to do if a Capita salesman shows up at your door and you don’t have a license.
DONT let them in, they have no power of entry
DON’T give your name or identify yourself as the occupier, this destroys them because they need you to volunteer this information and without it they can take no action….they can’t issue a summons for Mr or Mrs nobody, like most things in this country it is purely relying on the information you voluntarily give.
DO: tell them to go away or make an excuse why they can’t come in and why you have to close the door.
I’m on shaky legal ground here…if I encourage you to evade the license fee then that would be highly immoral and I could be incriminating myself I’m not really sure on that score.
So you should like…totally buy a license now…and don’t be such a naughty sheep ever again
I have heard stories of people contacting the TV licensing people and telling them they no longer receive broadcast TV…while still continuing to do so 😉 , if you do TVL will refund you whatever is left on your license as they did with me when I went license free. They will send you a letter telling you that they may do a visit to confirm this. I went license free in January yet nobody has ever come to my door and even if they did I would never let them in out of principle.
Lastly here is a transcript I had with a TVL doorstep visitor I had back in 1997, it was 8am in the morning and I had just finished a 15 hour night shift, I was shattered, badly needed a shower and my bed. So as you can imagine I wasn’t in the best of moods. I remember it well because it was my first run in with these guys and in my ignorance I did worry about what would happen for weeks after.
TVL: hello are you the occupier?
ME: yeah who are you?
TVL: TV licensing enforcement, we have no record of a TV license at this address. Do you watch Television?
ME: no not at all
(you could clearly hear the voice of a TV presenter reading the news)
TVL: could I quickly come inside and do a visit to confirm this?
ME: no piss off
TVL: I can hear your TV, we can sit down and sign you up for a license right now and you won’t get prosecuted.
ME:I don’t need a license I haven’t got a telly
TVL: come on mate I can hear the TV from here, either you can sign up for a license with me now which will take 5 minutes or you can get prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1000 or imprisonment
ME: I’d like to get prosecuted now f*ck off
Then I slammed the door on him
I didn’t get prosecuted and never heard a single word about it after that, nobody else ever came to visit me at that house.