For several years I have been paying my TV License. However, with less quality programs appearing on TV, I found myself watching TV less and less.

Back in June, I calculated that the only TV I watched was 3 hours worth of the Big Bang Theory. This in effect was costing me £24.25 per episode, so I made the decision to stop paying for my license.

It is important to note, that you do not need a TV Licence to own a TV, you only need a license if you watch or record a TV signal as it is being broadcast.

The first thing I did, was donate my digital box to a charity shop and detuned the analog signal. As I have a decent DVD collection, know sources where to watch programs online (not as they are broadcast), and play gaming consoles, I know I wouldn’t miss the TV Channels.

Cancelling my payments were straightforward, but as soon as I cancelled my payments, I began getting the threatening letters about home visits and possible fines, all addressed to the present occupier.

Even though I legitimately do not watch TV signals as they are broadcast, the TV License authority are treating me as a criminal and demanding payment.

I have now managed to stop this unwarranted harassment, and would like to share with others the steps I took to get the TV License Authority to leave me alone.

Template Letter

The first thing to do is contact the TV License Authority, and remove their implied right of access from your door. Certain organisations have an implied right of access to carry out their duties, such as the emergency services, council workers, postman and TV Licence agents.

However with TV Licence agents they can have their implied right of access removed, which means no more intimidating visits to your door. I used the letter below to remove their access

Date: xx/xx/xx
Ref: xxxxxxxxxx (Use the reference number that TV License use on their letters to you)

The Present Occupier
Your Postal Contact Details

Dear TVL/BBC

My address is listed in your database as being unlicensed. It is important that you take note of the following details and instructions below:

  1. I do not require a TV Licence as I do not use any equipment to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV.
  2. I hereby give notice that the implied right of access to the property known as [YOUR POSTAL ADDRESS], has been removed in respect of the following:
    • a. Any employee, or agent or principal or any other person acting on behalf of the BBC or TVL.
    • b. Any employee or agent or principal or any other person acting as third party AGENTS for/or on behalf of the BBC or TVL.
    • c. Please also take notice that any transgression of this notice will be dealt with through the courts.
    • Please also note that there is no legal requirement on an individual to provide their name, so do not send further correspondence to try and confirm my name. I expect this to be confirmed in writing that you have (a) received the notification, and (b) you will adhere to the notification.
  3. Other than confirming my notice to remove your implied right of access, I no longer wish to receive any communications from BBC or TVL.

Yours Faithfully

The Present Occupier

The letter should be sent to: TV Licensing, Bristol, BS98 1TL

It is also advised to send your letter by recorded delivery and keep a copy of the letter close to hand in case they ever do ignore your letter and visit your home.

After this letter has been sent, give it a couple of weeks and you should receive two replies. The first reply states;

We’ve noted our records your wish to withdraw the common law right for TV Licensing’s officers to approach your property. We reserve the right to use other methods available for the detection of television receiving equipment.

And the second reply states;

You recently let us know that you don’t need a TV Licence. Our records have been updated and you won’t receive any more letters from us for almost two years. We’ll then get in touch to check whether your circumstances have changed…..

Do not throw away these letters, as it has been reported on other sites, that sometimes they will ignore your requests (unlawfully) so if they do appear at your door, do not engage them in any conversation as you are not legally obliged to, just show them the letters and tell them to go away from your doorstep, and close the door on them.

Technology Employed

All the letters contain a threat that they will use TV detection technology to capture TV Licence evaders, but what exactly is this technology being used.

Freedom of Information requests have been rejected to try and find out the technology used, however the complaints that this caused resulted in the Information Commissioner having to make a statement about the reasons of upholding the right of the BBC to deny the request, basically stating that “If people knew the technology employed, it would reduce the effect of the threat as a deterrent“.

This implies that the threat of TV detection equipment is partially bogus. It is also important to note that there has not been one court case where the TV detection technology has been used against TV Licence evaders. The general consensus on this, is that if they were to use this evidence, they would have to disclose what technology was used, how it was calibrated and the accuracy.

For example, if you are caught speeding by a speed camera and contest this in court, the police have to provide the court with details on the technology used, when it was last calibrated, the margin for errors, etc. The TV Licence authority would have to subject their technology to the same review if it was being used in evidence which would then go in public record.

The fact that they have never submitted this data as evidence against TV Licence evaders, shows they are unwilling to let the technology be examined and this is probably because the advanced technology they always describe is probably nothing more than propaganda.

Disclaimer

This information is only provided for those that do not watch or record TV signals as they are broadcast and would like to remove the constant harassment by the TV Licence Authority. If you do watch or record TV signals as they are broadcast then you do need a TV Licence.

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4 Comments

  1. Gary

    January 26, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I recently sent a letter to TV licensing and got a reply stating that there is no implied right of acces law in Scotland. Is this correct?

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      January 26, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      To the best of our knowledge implied rights of access is a Common Law for the entire UK, so it should cover Scotland. Even if they do show up at your door, you have no legal obligation to talk to them or let them in (unless they have a warrant).

      We’ll do some digging to see what we can find and update this post.

      Reply

  2. Paul

    June 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Yep and thing with me
    I wrote taking away access and they wrote back saying this law does not apply in Scotland ????.something to do with land reform????
    Although in a blog I read it said you can use the f”ear and alarm excuse ”
    Under beach if the peace.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      July 1, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      They seem to be trying to pull a fast one. We’ve looked at the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2003/2/contents, and it deals mainly with public access rights to core paths, land ownership and transfer of land, etc. Even skimming through the document again, I do not see any reference for access to individual properties.

      Unless they show up at your door with a warrant, you are under no legal obligation to give them access to your property and you are under no legal obligation to answer their questions. As long as you do not watch a TV signal as it is being broadcast, then you have no legal obligation to engage with Capita and their agents as there is no legal contract established, and no law being broken.

      Personally, I would not engage with them, or respond to their letters, as any response you do give is further information to them which they will hope to incriminate you. They operate a scheme similar to the speculative invoicing model that copyright trolls have been using.

      Reply

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