How to cancel and stop paying your TV licence

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How to save £8,000 by never paying for the TV Licence
States of Jersey Police. The answer is no. Have you ever been subscribed to a WASP without giving permission? If it were to start prosecuting people who watch the odd bit of iPlayer online, it would be like the record companies that take year-olds to court over a few illegally downloaded tracks. In which case why should the BBC be allowed to do this. TV licence evasion is not punishable by a period of imprisonment per se , but if convicted evaders refuse to pay the fine they were ordered to pay, or are incapable of paying it, a period of imprisonment may be imposed as a "last resort". Retrieved 20 December

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Can you legally watch television and not pay the TV Licence fee?

If there is no reply to the first letter and a TV licence is not bought by the occupant, then TV Licensing continues to write regularly to the address and "the tone of the letters progressively becomes stronger to encourage a reply". We have opened an investigation". We want to ensure you have the information you may need before a hearing is set at your local court.

Three basic tones of voice are used in TV Licensing letters: This period is not specified in freely available documents but TV Licensing suggests it could be used, for example, for the third and fourth renewal reminder. For example, green is used in 'Customer Service' letters and red may be used in 'Collections' and 'Enforcement' letters.

In all cases, the vocabulary and format used in the letters is strictly defined. If a business or household is not obliged to have a TV licence then TV Licensing will request written confirmation of this, even though no such information is required to be given in law. According to the BBC, it is not possible to opt out of receiving TVL mailings since they 'are not advertising or marketing material'.

Because TV Licensing did not pay the charge, the householder took the claim to the County Court, eventually winning the case and receiving the fee plus other costs incurred. If a colour TV licence is not purchased for an address, TV Licensing agents—known as "visiting officers", "enquiry officers" or "enforcement officers"—make unannounced visits to the address.

In August , there were reported to be enquiry officers [] all employees of the BBC's main enforcement contractor, Capita. Enquiry officers make around four million visits a year to households in the UK and Crown dependencies. Enquiry officers do not visit addresses in their own postcode, however. Although TV Licensing enforces the BBC's statutory obligation to ensure that every address where a television licence is required is correctly licensed its agents have no special right of access and, like any other member of the public, rely on an implied right of access to reach the front door.

A householder may withdraw the implied right of access to TV Licensing personnel by contacting the BBC and informing them that this right has been revoked; the BBC says they respect such requests although could still seek a warrant to search the property , except in Scotland. Upon visiting a property, enquiry officers ask a set of predetermined questions to whoever answers the door when they visit.

They then try to find out if that person has been receiving TV without a licence. If they suspect that this is the case, they issue an official caution to the person that whatever they say may be used against them in court. They then take a prosecution statement and ask the interviewee to sign it.

The enquiry officer may ask permission to enter the property and may examine any TV receiving equipment found there. According to the visiting procedures: If an agent has evidence that television is being watched or recorded illegally but is denied entry by the occupants so that they cannot verify the suspicion, then TV Licensing may apply to a magistrate for a search warrant.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper: Commission is paid when an enquiry officer obtains a prosecution statement from a householder, although they need to take a minimum of thirty statements in a week before they start earning commission. TV detector vans have in the past featured heavily in TV Licensing publicity, [] highlighting that technology capable of detecting signals from operating TV sets could be employed.

In the s, vans were supplied by Dodge and Leyland. In the s, Ford Transits were introduced. In , TVL launched its tenth generation of detector vans. It was stated that these vans had removable branding so that they could operate covertly.

Few technical details of the detectors used have been released. In a press release from , the BBC stated that: It was also stated that the equipment has a range of up to 60 metres and "can pinpoint the actual room that the television set is in. It says that 'a range of detection tools at our disposal in our vans. Although no technical details of the TV detectors used in these vans have been made public, it is thought that they operate by detecting electromagnetic radiation given off by a TV.

It was also stated that it could be used to detect TVs in 'individual flats in blocks. If a receiver is being used to watch broadcast programmes then a positive reading is returned. Detection appears to be primarily a deterrent to evasion. The BBC admits that no detection evidence has ever been used to prosecute a licence fee evader. They refuse to release any details of the technology supposedly used as to do so would "change the public's perception of the effectiveness of detector vans".

The BBC states that such technology used in conjunction with targeted advertising acts as a deterrent: Briefly, applications for authorisation are made in the name of the Detection Manager of Capita.

Correspondence between TV Licensing and the affected householder may be attached to the completed application forms which pass via a quality control 'gatekeeper' to the authorising officers AOs at the BBC.

To be authorised, an application must be shown to be 'necessary and proportionate'. AOs sometimes reject applications. Once approved, the authorisation lasts for a duration of eight weeks. TV Licensing states "detection equipment will only be used if other less intrusive and more cost effective routes have been exhausted", [] and the BBC has stated that "Detection technology is generally used to obtain search warrants". The BBC also wrote that such evidence "is unnecessary" because "TVL uses detection evidence when applying for search warrants.

If, following service of the warrant an individual is found to be evading payment of the TV Licence, then the evidence obtained via the search warrant is used in court, not the detection evidence. In some cases, TV Licensing may apply to a magistrate or a sheriff in Scotland for a search warrant as part of the enforcement process. According to the BBC, such warrants are usually served in the presence of police officers. On no account must the warrant be executed without two officers being present.

Normally the two officers must be accompanied by a Police Officer'. However, there is no power to seize any apparatus. Data on the number of search warrants executed per year in the whole of the UK are not collated or held centrally by the various judicial bodies of the state.

In the same year in Scotland no warrants were applied for or served whilst in Northern Ireland 12 warrants were granted and 7 executed in the year. Some idea of the frequency at which warrants are used may also be taken from the result of a recent FOI request. Information provided by the Scottish Court Service suggests that TV Licensing search warrant applications in Scotland are virtually non-existent.

In their response to a FOI request the Scottish Court Service confirmed that no search warrant applications were made to courts in Scotland's two largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh , in the three-and-a-half years between 1 January and 21 July In , , people were prosecuted or fined for TV licence offences: Putting these numbers in perspective, it would appear there are more prosecutions and convictions per capita in Wales than in any other country in the UK. Table B4a This gender imbalance has not always been the case.

In , there were roughly similar numbers of men and women proceeded against for TV licence evasion. Since then the proportion of female to male defendants has risen steadily. In , 24, prosecutions that were commenced by the BBC did not result in conviction over one-in-ten cases in England and Wales.

TV licence evasion is not punishable by a period of imprisonment per se , but if convicted evaders refuse to pay the fine they were ordered to pay, or are incapable of paying it, a period of imprisonment may be imposed as a "last resort".

The length of stay is decided by the amount owed. In England and Wales, 39 people were given an average of 20 days in compared to 32 in and 51 in The British Parliament proposed decriminalising licence evasion, but the proposition was turned down by a House of Lords vote by to in February In England and Wales, prosecutions are the responsibility of the BBC and are carried out by its contractor, Capita, in magistrates' courts [21] In England and Wales TV Licensing has a maximum of 26 weeks to lay information to court after receiving information regarding unlicensed use of a TV from its enquiry officers.

The decision to prosecute usually takes place 12—14 weeks from receiving the enquiry officer's report. TV Licensing serves documents on defendants four to six weeks prior to a court hearing. A final check to see if a TV licence has been purchased is made a maximum of two days before the hearing.

Licence fee evasion makes up around one-ninth of all cases prosecuted in magistrates' courts. According to a TV Licensing briefing document, the level of fines and costs imposed by magistrates' courts vary considerably between different regions of England and Wales.

Magistrates take into account the financial situation of the defendant when imposing fines. The following are regarded as 'factors indicating lower culpability' which can result in mitigation of the sentence: According to TV Licensing: However, it is also pointed out that "it is a disciplinary offence for an enquiry officer to say or suggest this".

The UK government has stated that: The Magistrates' Association has been calling for the decriminalisation of TV licence evasion for nearly twenty years, concerned that evaders are punished disproportionately. One of the reasons given is the licence fee criminalises poor people, in particular women with children living on welfare. The report points out that such people are liable to be re-prosecuted almost immediately unless they dispose of their TVs. TV Licensing is managed as a sales operation [] and its officers are motivated by commission payments.

Although those found guilty of TV licence evasion cannot be sent to prison for that offence, if they default on their fine, they can be imprisoned. For example, in , 48 people were imprisoned in England and Wales for defaulting on fines imposed for TV licence evasion.

The figure for was In Northern Ireland, prosecutions are the responsibility of the BBC and are carried out by its contractor, Capita, in magistrates' courts. In , 5, people in Northern Ireland were prosecuted for non-payment of the television licence fee of which 4, were fined.

The corresponding figures for were 5, people prosecuted and 4, fines imposed. Instead of prosecution, in Scotland, TV licence fee evaders are usually asked by the Procurator Fiscal to pay a fiscal fine and a small number are simply given a warning.

For example, in , just ten cases reached the courts whereas 12, people were asked to pay a fiscal fine, no action was taken in cases, and people were sent a warning.

In addition, two people were asked to pay compensation and one person was offered the chance to pay a combination of fiscal fine and compensation. In a submission to Tynwald the Isle of Man Government regarding prosecution for non-payment of the BBC licence fee in the Crown dependencies, the BBC stated 59 cases were laid to court in the Isle of Man between and although "these figures include cases where no further action may have been taken eg because a writ was not served or the case was withdrawn ".

However, prosecutions are carried out by police and law officers. According to the States of Guernsey: According to the States of Jersey government: A fine for a TV licensing offence can only be levied following successful prosecution at the Magistrate's Court: According to the BBC: All received cautions at the Parish Hall. Of the 14, eight were male and six were female. There were no prosecutions in The poll also showed that opinion was split by a growing north-south and socio-economic divide.

Previous inquiries, such as the parliamentary Peacock Committee in and the internal Davies committee in , recommended continuing the licence fee, with conditions. In , an Ofcom report found that the vast majority of those it interviewed, including owners of digital television equipment, supported the principle of a licence fee to fund public service television and radio. The advantages of such funding listed by those interviewed included diversity, high quality, education, innovation, entertainment, information, original productions, pluralism , accessibility, inclusion of minorities and free access.

Nonetheless, having surveyed public opinion during December , a finding of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was that "the way the licence fee is set and collected raised issues about fairness".

Meanwhile, in , the Institute for Public Policy Research criticised the TV licence fee for its regressive impact, pointing out that it represents a much higher proportion of income for poor households, that evaders are most likely to be single parents, lone tenants, pensioners and the economically inactive and that the difficulties they have in paying the licence fee are compounded by the penalties enforced for non-payment.

Other technologies for receiving visual media, such as mobile phones and computers connected to the Internet, has led to questions over whether or not a licence fee based on television receiver ownership can continue to be justified when a television receiver is no longer the sole medium over which the BBC distributes its content; [] and these technological changes led the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to state in that the collection of a fixed charge based on television ownership may become difficult to sustain.

In , the House of Lords Select Committee on BBC Charter Review criticised the reclassification of the licence fee as a tax, pointing out that the BBC was in consequence reclassified as a central government body, with "significant implications for the BBC's independence". In a debate in the UK Parliament in October , the licence fee was referred to as 'a flat-rate poll tax' and as 'probably the UK's most regressive tax' [].

Some critics [ who? There is, accordingly, no appearance of a violation of the applicant's right under Article 10 Art. The television licence fee system has been variously criticised, commented upon and defended by the press. An internal briefing note released by the BBC in response to a freedom of information request names the TV Licensing Blog as TV Licensing's "most prevalent activist" [] who has "built a significant following both for his blog and for his TVLicensingblog Twitter feed over followers ".

In September , the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, launched a review of TV Licensing's methods, [55] following complaints about "heavy-handed" and "intimidating" tactics [90] and during December , it was reported by the press that the chairman of the all-party Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee had accused TV Licensing of behaving "like the Gestapo ", employing "tactics that are outrageous", saying: Their records are not always correct, but they write letters that assume members of the public are criminals".

A Select Committee of Tynwald was established in to investigate the value for money of the licensing system for the Isle of Man, and the feasibility of the Isle of Man withdrawing from it.

The government stated that "while the current licence fee collection system is in operation, the current system of criminal deterrence and prosecution should be maintained". The Communications Television Licensing Regulations [57] gives the following definition:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For licensing for broadcasting rights, see broadcast license. Television licensing in the United Kingdom historical. Retrieved 14 March Retrieved 18 September Retrieved 22 April Retrieved 20 October Retrieved 4 November Retrieved 18 January Retrieved 12 February Retrieved 16 February Tynwald, Isle of Man.

Retrieved 17 February Retrieved 7 May House of Lords Session Report. The Stationery Office Limited. Retrieved 15 August Retrieved 23 April Retrieved 16 January Institute for Public Policy Research. Archived from the original on 29 June Retrieved 13 August Retrieved 2 September The Capita Group plc.

Retrieved 12 May Retrieved 6 May Retrieved 20 February Retrieved 17 September Retrieved 20 January Retrieved 28 August Retrieved 10 September Retrieved 8 August Retrieved 25 August Retrieved 29 April Retrieved 6 November Retrieved 31 July Retrieved 3 June Retrieved 26 April Retrieved 28 September Retrieved 20 March Retrieved 6 October Retrieved 3 October Retrieved 25 April Retrieved 5 August Retrieved 30 December Retrieved 7 April Retrieved 8 April Retrieved 5 May Retrieved 28 February Retrieved 3 August Retrieved 25 May Retrieved 12 July Administering the TV Licensing system part 1".

Retrieved 11 July Retrieved 27 February Radio Reception via Television Equipment". Retrieved 5 April Retrieved 18 June House of Commons Library. Retrieved 11 January Retrieved 23 July Retrieved 24 July Retrieved 1 June Most Read Rand and local bonds rally as inflation surprises to the downside.

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“Don’t pay your TV licence — it’s the right thing to do.”

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