TV Licence dispute- Help

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congming88 | 12:31 Sat 28th Aug 2010 | Law
48 Answers
I renewed my TV licence on-line last November and have e-mail and documentary proof of having done so (Expiry Date:30 Sep 2010)
At the beginning of this month I began receiving letters advising me that I was unlicensed, demanding payment and threatening prosecution if this was not forthcoming.
I called 'Capita' , the private company that collects TV License fees to find out why I was sent these letters.
I was advised that due to a "technical error" on their system, the funds had not been transferred from my bank to them. (They claimed to have sent a letter back in December 2009 informing me of this. I received no such letter.)
I was advised to visit my bank and check that this was the case.
Yesterday I did so only to be told that I would hve to pay 2 ponds for a statemnet from that period since immediate records go back only 6 months.
On a point of principal I called Capita asking them to send this fee since the fault was theirs and I was already out of pocket for phone and petrol. Their Customer Service Team member advised me that I would have to pay this and apply for reimbursement in writing. I told him I would do this if I had it in writing that they would honour this arrangement. He said that I would have to put this request in writing!
This comes at the end of a week that has seen my wife being doorstepped at our home by a Capita agent armed with a chip and pin machine requesting payment and threatening prosecution if this is not forthcoming. (My wife explained the situation and politely refused.)

I would be grateful to hear from someone who knows my rights and can advise me of my legal position regarding this matter.
Many thanks in advance...


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not sure about your rights but if you register for online banking, at least with my bank, statements are free online.
If you have actually got a TV license, then i would have thought that they are on a sticky wicket as it would be their fault if they sent out the license and you hadn't paid
Isn't it a case of them having to prove you don't have one as opposed to you having to prove you do?
Do you accept you haven't been paying or are you not sure?
If you just need to check when you last paid I would expect your internet banking or telephone banking will confirm the date the last time a direct debit was taken.
If Capita are right you then need to pay what you owe
oooooooooo..........wait 'til RebelSouls reads this..........!!!!
Does Capita forward your licence fee to TV Licensing? If so, you could check with TV Licensing to see if they have got your licence fee. Try:
I mention this because, as I have no TV set, and therefore no TV licence, I sometimes get letters on this subject from TV Licensing. Incidentally, the person whose name is on my latest letter is Joanne Osborne, of Customer Services. Best of luck.
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Thanks for all who have answered.
I input my Licence number at the TV licensing website only to get the message"you have input incorrect information..." or words to that effect. I assume that as far as TV Licensing is concerned I do not have a valid licence.
Woofgang, I have a licence that was sent from TV Licensing and so do not understand why this would have been sent if the payment had not gone through.
Kathyan, my thinking was the same as yours regarding the burden of proof.
Factor30, I made a one off payment as opposed to setting up a Direct Debit.I do not use internet or telephone banking as I am wary of security problems.
Jackthehat, who is RebelSouls?
He spends a lot of time in the 'news' section flagging up issues surrounding the bbc and licence enforcement.

As I pay by monthly direct debit, the collection dates and amounts are printed on the Licence itself. I, too, am surprised that a licence has been issued 'before' it has been paid for (if you like).

Which bank are you with ?
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By the way, up until this year I had been paying for my TV licence at my local post office before this facility was discontinued by TV Licensing...
It is probably a simple error on their part (maybe you have two different account numbers or, perhaps, the way that your postal address is set out is different from that which they hold for you) but it must be frustrating for you to have them looking for their money and you have actually paid it.

I hope you get it sorted out - once you have checked if the payment was made to them you should be able to resolve it easily.
I must admit, if I had the licence in my possession and e-mails confirming that I had paid..........I'd tell them to stick it and tell them to see me in court.
I left home in 1986 and had no TV licence for 18 months - that was about the most illegal thing that I have ever done.

Since then I have paid by monthly direct debit (in arrears) and it has been easy. However now that I have said that ..................
if you've got an actual license I can'r see how they can pursue this?
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I am wondering how many other people out there have encountered Capita's "technical error" and find themselves in the same position.
I also wonder if TV Licensing are aware of Capita's administrative malfunctions and are perhaps deliberating over whether or not to renew the contract with them. Capita is a private company with shareholders...draw your own conclusions...
I wouldn't be surprised (if the problem is widespread ) for them to lose the gig so to speak.
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I concur Woofgang and jackthehat but I cannot afford legal fees to take my chances in court.
However, if a member of the legal profession were to informally advise me that I have nothing to fear, then I would indeed tell capita to take a hike...
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Incidentally, I was thinking of contacting my MP. Do you think there is any point in doing this?
Sounds like Capita have made a mistake or two. Why, if the payment in November failed, did they not contact you then? Why no follow up letter in, say, February? Why has it taken 10 months to chase this. Letters sent in December just get caught up in the Christmas mail. Although I bank on-line, I always keep hard copies of bank statements sent to me for at least a year.

Must admit I have a vested interest in saying they should never have taken the work away from Post Offices. Then you would have had a receipt, as well as the Licence.
If you have a license in your hand that you know you paid for and honestly acquired, I would not waste an iota more of breath on the idiots.
Let them do all the work. Just sit here.
There is quite a long road to travel before you find yourself actually in front of 'the beak'. If you are genuinely concerned, I suggest you stump up the £2 for your bank statement. This will, at least, confirm that you have right on your side..............and then you can tell them to take a running jump.......
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Thank you all for taking the time and bother to reply. It is much appreciated.

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