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Friday, April 12, 2024
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HomeBBC WatchI won’t stand for BBC licence fee harassment

I won’t stand for BBC licence fee harassment

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THE BBC have a cheek. Last month, Tina and I received a letter from their hired thugs asking us to contact them to find out if we need a TV licence. We ignored it. Ever since we gave up the licence a couple of years ago, we haven’t watched live TV or any live broadcast. We gave up the licence for a good reason – the BBC’s bias, by omission or commission, their constant campaigning on climate change, diversity or Brexit, and their compliance with and promotion of anything remotely Woke. Yet they are completely delusional, still believing that they are the most trusted and entertaining broadcaster.

Anyway, last week we received another letter from TV Licensing, this one more threatening – for a start, their friendly green highlighted boxes had been replaced by an angry deep red. I found it amusing but I wonder how others, maybe older, disabled, mentally ill or a little more sensitive, might have reacted. Get in touch or else, it basically said. 

What bothers me about letters like this is the insinuation that you are a criminal unless you can prove otherwise. That you are a liar, a thief and in need of investigation. That’s one hell of an accusation and in many cases, certainly ours, completely unfounded. It’s like a copper knocking on your door every once in a while to ask you whether you’ve broken the law or are thinking about it. Insulting, completely useless and a waste of public money. 

As it is, we have written a letter to them, which you can read below. We’ve also asked them to refund the money paid for the stamp since I shouldn’t have had to write to them in the first place.  

The BBC states that you need a licence to watch live broadcasts or any BBC content but there is no law, to my knowledge, stating that those who have given up this anachronistic licence must inform the Gestapo. This is harassment, plain and simple, and if this letter doesn’t have the desired effect and the BBC spends licence fee-payers’ money to send its thugs round, they will be refused entry, as is my right. 

For the benefit of those who are still paying £159 a year to be hectored by the BBC, I would like to know how much the Corporation spends on these letters or for their henchmen to visit properties, and for that matter, why. People give up on other services every year but aren’t stalked by that company afterwards.

I’ll be glad when we finally have a government that sinks the organisation and makes it a subscription service. They’d deserve it. 

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To whom it may concern

With regard to your letter of July 2022 and subsequent reminder of August 2022.

Your initial communication was extremely patronising, implying that I might be a liar, a criminal or mentally deficient. I am none of these things, nor am I five years old (as the tone of your missive suggests). I had determined to ignore your unwarranted inquiry as impertinent and as such beneath my contempt or consideration; however your latest correspondence has made me so angry I feel I must make my feelings known and correct you on a few points.

Both letters are headed: ‘Your status: No Licence Needed. Expires: September 2022.’ There is no expiration date on my status. I will NEVER require another licence, I loathe the BBC and will not fund them.

 I have informed you that I do not need a licence and assured you that I do not watch or record live broadcasts on any device. This has not changed and you have no right to assume arbitrarily that it has. My declaration is for a lifetime. The law regarding this matter has not changed either since I made my original declaration and neither has my mental acuity; I am aware of the law and abide by it. 

I am particularly infuriated by the intimidating language you have used which implies a legal authority to which you are not entitled: ‘We need to hear from you by 14/09/2022. Or this address will be treated as unlicensed.’ And: ‘We wrote to you recently . . . We didn’t hear from you and time is running out. Buy a TV licence if you need one – or renew your No Licence Needed declaration. If you do neither, and ignore this letter, your address will be treated as unlicensed. This means that we may have to open an investigation and schedule a visit to your address. We will also continue writing to you’ (emphasis in original letter).

You have no right to demand that I confirm my status: there is no legal compulsion for me to do so. Likewise any ‘investigation’ you may undertake: this is merely language used to imply that you are entitled to launch an official investigation. You are not. These are high-handed tactics used to frighten vulnerable people who do not know better (the elderly, for instance) when the most you can do is send one of your bully boys round to interrogate us on the doorstep; they have no right of entry and cannot force us to answer their questions. 

Do not threaten me with ‘investigation’, visits or interminable letters, which may amount to harassment. If I inform any organisation that I no longer wish to avail myself of their services, for instance a gym, and stop paying them accordingly, I do not expect them to place an expiration date upon my declaration of intention. I do not expect them to write to me insinuating that I may still be using the facilities or, in the event of my failure to deny these allegations, an automatic assumption that I am still sneaking in through the back door to use the rowing machine and must be billed again.

Do not waste your time, or mine, with further letters. I will ignore any future attempts you may make to contact me regarding this matter.

Yours faithfully

Michael Fahey

PS: The price of a 1st class stamp is 95p. Since I should not have had to send this letter to you, it would be peachy if you would pop that money into an envelope and return it to me. Thanks in advance. 

Editor’s Note: Harassment and criminalisation for non-payment of the TV licence fee is shocking and the process is vicious. In correspondence with TCW the BBC denied that anyone had been imprisoned for non-payment of the licence fee. For the year they isolated that may be the case. But their words rang hollow. The fact is that the threat of criminalisation is there to make you pay up. If you don’t pay the fine for non-payment, which many simply cannot afford, yes you can be imprisoned. The sooner the government revisits this, as Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has promised, and puts an end to it the better. 

It seems that the more people walk away from the BBC (Mike and Tina are far from the only ones – some 700,000 stopped paying over the 2020/21 lockdown period), the more coercive TV Licensing has become, prosecuting no fewer than 49,144 people last year, nearly all of whom (92 per cent) were convicted. Michael and Tina have not yet had a knock at the door, but an astonishing  671,500 homes in 2020/21 did.

Given the assiduity of the BBC’s private licence fee police, perhaps they could be put to better use investigating real crimes?

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Michael Fahey
Michael Fahey
Michael Fahey is a social conservative and mental health carer.

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