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UK - The TV License Conspiracy

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posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:21 PM
We get a lot of crap thrown our way here in the UK because of the TV licensing "laws"

Ok, first off, the license fee pays for the BBC in all it's different shapes and forms, from classical music and sports stations, to niche programmes, to HD tv - drama, comedy, reality, music, documentarys, 24 hour news, you name it, the BBC does it.

So it's not a tax as such, but the price to pay for having a national broadcaster.

It costs £145.50 per year, and it isn't a bad deal considering the amount of quality programmes they put out.

So, here's the thing - if a person doesn't have a TV license, the first thing they notice is the ads on tv about "detector vans" which allegedly can pinpoint a particular house, and tell if they are watching TV. They even claim it can tell which channel you are watching.

Rubbish - it's a myth.
In the 70's when people were out of work because of recession, they couldn't afford to pay for a TV license, so what the BBC did was invent an enforcement arm. What they did was put ads on the TV, showing a white van with a big dish on top rotating back and forth.
People fell for it, and when the TV license man showed up they answered everything he asked.

People no longer believe in TV detector vans, or the tooth fairy, or etc etc

So what they do now, is they bombard you with mail WARNING you of the consequences should you be caught without a TV license.

The next step is a visit from one of their "inspectors" who will ask you a series of questions about your TV or lack of it.

If you tell them you have a TV they will ask you to sign a form, and will even CAUTION you, using the same wording as a policeman does.

It's a scam, it's bullying, and the entrapment teqhniques they use are illegal.

They have no right of access.

You are not obliged to answer any of their questions.

TV detector vans do not exist.

It is all a ruse trying to get you to sign a document admitting guilt.

Once you sign it, you can be prosecuted.

The worst thing is that this is run, on behalf of the BBC by a private company, called Consignia (Customer Management) Ltd - so in effect, they push the license really hard, and try all sorts of underhand tricks to try and get you to admit guilt, because they earn a bonus for every person they get to sign up.

They have been known to force entry into homes of vulnerable and elderly people.

They lie all the time.

They are a profit making organisation, who earn a bonus for every person they "catch" and are separate from the BBC, but work under contract for them.

For every person they "catch" they get more money, so it is in their interest to "catch" as many people as they can, and they use underhand methods to do it.


My advice would be that if one of these "inspectors" which is jsut a fancy sounding name and means nothing, calls at your house, tell them nothing, deny access, stay polite, say you are not obliged to answer their questions, sign nothing, and FILM IT if you can.

These people are out of order and should not be harrassing people.

I am not advocating not paying your TV license or saying that you should not have one. I am merely pointing out the underhand tactics and sheer cheek that some of these people employ.
I have a TV license and I would urge everyone who needs one to get one as well.
edit on 18/2/2011 by budski because: (no reason given)

edit on 18/2/2011 by budski because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:31 PM
They definately use dirty tricks, i remember a while back on my way to work there was a billboard and it was used to advertise which addresses didnt have a tv licence. It was a funny thing to see, i remember deliberately looking at it week to week and seeing which address was the latest to be named and shamed.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:31 PM
reply to post by budski

I know what you are saying and yes its bullying - I actually found out that people were taxed for having windows back in 1842 .........

I know the TV licence is not Tax but another way of bulling us as were the windows - No wonder people cemented their windows up.

edit on 18-2-2011 by vesta because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:36 PM
reply to post by budski

One of their primary targets is students, particularly gullible, wet behind the ears students who don't know any better, and boy do they go after you!

If it is not your accommodation piling on the pressure, even though they admit it isn't anything to do with them, it's the universities themselves. A friend of mine even got paid to do their dirty work for them and warn other students that "the white van with the radar dish is in the area!"

What is even more ridiculous is that you have to pay the license if your room contains a television, even if you don't use it for television. Even worse is the fact that you have to pay if you own a laptop.

There were plenty of students who couldn't care less about television, but were forced to pay just because they owned a laptop....which any self respecting student needs to do their work on!

It is, as you say, the ultimate in scaremongering.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:40 PM
reply to post by budski

I think nowadays their real tool is the database.
They would have a list of all the addresses in the UK, and a list of all the addresses with licenses, subtract the second list from the first, and investigate the ones that were left.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:41 PM
reply to post by budski

Good topic

TV Licensing is one of my "pet hates"...

My parents have a TV but no means of reception. This is because they've made a conscious decision to not watch TV, but have the option to watch DVDs etc. They've been harassed regularly by the Licensing people, who have even insisted on touring their home on multiple occasions. Either side of this were regular phone calls and what were effectively, threatening letters. In one conversation, when the caller discovered my brother lived with my parents, actually questioned my mother's parenting skills in not having a TV available for my brother's use.

This ceased after they called when I was in the house. I advised the caller that my parents had notified them they had no means of reception and that any continuing "check" of this would be considered harassment. I also advised my intention on consulting legal advice if the harassment continued. As far as I'm aware, such regular contact has now ceased.

What really bothers me is the fact that they consider all people MUST have a TV. They hold the assumption that if you don't, you're lying. Essentially, rather than with most licenses where you purchase for use, they target non-license holders and question their non holder status.

Plus, they now take your address etc when you purchase a TV... that really, really concerns me.

I recall studying Law in the 90's, when we touched on the Licensing laws. The fact they were introduced to regulate and subsidise national TV/radio communications is now obsolete. You may have over 2,000 channels and technically, your licensing is only funding a handful... yet the law covers the receipt of all.

And don't even get me started on the additional/non UK provision which doesn't even require a license. I've sat in Spain and watched Eastenders... paid for by me. My friend (residing in a non TV household) watches her programmes on BBC IPlayer... paid for by me.

Sorry I'm ranting there Budski - you've touched on a raw nerve there for me

edit on 18/2/11 by lizziejayne because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:44 PM
One of the newer tricks they use is that when you are buying a television or one of those digi boxes they insist you must give your address 'to check the coverage'... This was when they were newer btw, years ago when I was in student accommodation... Well I didn't think too much of it we had a licence for the shared house, a day later (and it's a good job I pickled up the phone, the others blabber something rotten when put under the slightest pressure) the TV licence people called up - gawd knows where they got the land line number, it was ex directory - and they start saying that we need one licence each! 5 lads can't share the one licence, that licence is only for the living room of the shared house?

What? So I just let the guy prattle on until he started to get bored he was not getting anywhere and in the end - he 'updated his systems' to reflect the fact that the house was a house all along and not separate flats... Which funnily enough was not even his angle in the first place?! No one mentioned flats, just a shared house with 5 lads paying rent...

So anyway I told the other lads all about this, as they were all getting digi boxes for them selves they had a little fun giving the addresses of people they didn't like when they brought theirs... Kids lol

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:46 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8

lol, they now put on the license letter that even if you only have a PC with a modem, you are capable of watching TV and must therefore pay a license fee because you can get iplayer online.

My reaction?
sod right off

My disclaimer in the OP still stands - I have a license, I am not asking anyone to break the law, and I would say that you have to have a license.
I am just railing against the enforcement agents and their underhand tactics.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:49 PM

Originally posted by LiveForever8

What is even more ridiculous is that you have to pay the license if your room contains a television, even if you don't use it for television. Even worse is the fact that you have to pay if you own a laptop.

That's technically wrong though, as you don't need to pay for a license if you just have a TV. Since you can use that TV to watch DVD's, play Xbox games etc...

You don't need a license...

Unless, you watch Tv.

Anything else is a scam, or false.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:55 PM
reply to post by mr-lizard

I remember that if you only owned a black & white tv you would only need a black & white tv licence which were much cheaper, however if you had a video player (dvds werent out then) then you would have to have a colour tv licence.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:00 PM
Guys, I would only asdk one thing - if you like this, flag it.

The more people know about this scam, the better.

When they get nasty
ish, and won't leave you alone:

Here's how to deal with them:

Once again - have a TV license, do not break the law, I have one, and so should you.

edit on 18/2/2011 by budski because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:05 PM
Personally, I believe it all needs to be dragged to the front, discussed and addressed.

We pay licenses, technically for the reception of radio and TV. However:

* Only one provider is regulated or subsidised by this money
* One can legally obtain reception of said radio or TV services without a license

Technically, TV licensing has become a covert tax. A tax rigorously applied, simply because it provides an easy hit.

The whole concept is ridiculously out of date, irrational and simply begs for an overhaul.
edit on 18/2/11 by lizziejayne because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:05 PM

Originally posted by mr-lizard
That's technically wrong though, as you don't need to pay for a license if you just have a TV.

It might be morally and ethically wrong, but technically, it is right.

If you own a device that could be used to watch the BBC, you must pay the license. For black and white viewing, you pay less.

Which begs the question; when are they going to increase the license fee to suit the new HD/3D televisions?

I wouldn't put it past them!

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:07 PM
They tried it with me but I had none of their crap.

Do you own a TV? Yes

Do you watch it? No

Why do you have a TV? To watch DVD's

Do you own a computer? Yes

What do you do on it? None of your business

Do you have the internet? Yes

You must pay TV licence... Why?

You have a TV and you have the internet

Okay, how do you know I have a TV?

Because when you bought it from Comet, they told us..

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:07 PM
The funny thing is, and if you watch the second vid you will see, that Consignia have not been trading since 2002.

The video was shot in 2009, and the company has gone "underground" and changed its status, because they now have only one contract.

Guys, please flag this if you think it's worth it, because we need to get this message out.

BUY your TV license, DON'T let these scum hassle you.
edit on 18/2/2011 by budski because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:11 PM
No I checked my licence and it stated that even if you have a mobile with WAP capability then you must have a TV licence.

So yeah its, TV(wish they would invent a TV that doesnt get TV channels just to use for DVD's etc), mobile phone, Laptop/PC, GAMES CONSOLE. Basically if it can get TV programmes on it or connect to the internet (which is why I think iplayer was created to include laptops in the licence agreement) then you have to pay.

Personally many folk on here advocate having a licence, whilst I have one, if say a million of us were to stop paying tomorrow they couldnt arrest or fine us all. I say we shouldnt have a licence for the reason that up til last year we were still paying for things like BBC World Service, why? I think it is a desperate con, the only decent thing about it is that there are no adverts, however, I have noticed a slight more relaxed enfocing of the no 'plugging' rule where there were not allowed to do product placements.

Jus ma tuppenceworth.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:14 PM
i videod my dinner in the microwave and have the tape on stand by, tv huh? its a microwave!
although i dont like being forced to pay the wages of celeb douches on bbc, i got a knock on the once about not having a licence, well i dont know how they know, but the guy was very polite and gave me reasonable time to obtain one. i mostly use my tv for playing games so i kinda hate the bbc, but, ugh what can you do?

edit on 18-2-2011 by neonitus because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:15 PM
reply to post by budski

A good thread, i agree with most of it. But i hate the bbc, becacause we have no choice in the matter. As you know if we own a video, but no tele, we still have to pay the licence fee, because it is capable of picking up the signal. Or if you have a tele, and for what ever reason you can think of, decide you will never watch bbc, you still have it to pay. There have been reports of people actually removing the bbc bits, from inside the tv, but yet again the fee must be payed, because they say the parts could be put back. It is an absolute outrage, and as been for decades. It takes away from people, any choice whatsoever in the matter. It is a bent corporation, that takes away our freedom of choice, gives us the finger, and says pay up.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:19 PM
You only need a license if you watch live television broadcasts via aerial, cable, satellite or online. If you don't watch live broadcasts, only use your TV for gaming, watching dvd's etc ... you don't need a license at all. You don't need a license, for example, if all you do is watch repeats on BBC iPlayer.

If you tell them you don't require a license, they'll leave you alone for two years. Then they'll send out another form, you tick a box, sign it, send it back and they'll leave you alone for another two years.

They don't show adverts with detector vans either (I think it's the OP who's living in a timewarp), they just say that if your house isn't on their database as having a license ... or having told them you don't need a license ... then you can expect to receive a letter. Or a visit. And they only do the latter with people who've been written to repeatedly & who can't be bothered sending a reply.

Quite where the conspiracy in the thread title comes into this I really don't know. This thread's better suited for the Money Savings Expert Forum rather than here.

posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:21 PM
reply to post by scottlpool2003

If you have a TV and you have the internet, you are legally obliged to pay the fee.

I will also point out it isn't just the BBC who benefit from the license fee, but Channel 4 and S4C also receive money as well. Not many people know that Channel 4 is a state owned broadcaster.

That said, I agree with the OP's premise about the enforcement. To date, not a single person taken to court of license evasion has had any evidence collected from such "detectors" ever presented and it is widely believed they don't even exist. I am a telecoms engineer by trade and whilst I am by no means an epxert in this particular field, I have a hard time coming up with a technical way such detectors could possibly work.

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