Save money- don't buy a TV licence

14 November 2013

tv_3004_narrowweb__300x373,0We all like saving money, and one way to do that is to go through direct debits and standing orders and see whether there are any old or outdated ones that could be cancelled. One bill that many people wish they could cancel is the TV licence fee- a £145.50 annual BBC ‘tax’ on watching telly. And they don’t even make Downton.

But you don’t have to buy a TV licence. According to BBC figures, less than 3% of the population don’t have a TV at all, and these poor individuals are normally excused, but depending on how you watch TV, you could escape the charge too.

The levy is charged on those watching live TV, so even if you don’t have a telly, if you watch programmes live over the internet, you are liable for the charge. If you record live TV programmes, which would include Sky+/TiVO services, you are still ‘watching’ live TV and need to cough up your £145.50. However, if you do not watch live TV, you don’t have to pay.

You could just use your TV (or computer) to watch DVDs and play computer games. You might watch movies and online-only series through LoveFilm or Netflix. You might watch BBC and other terrestrial programmes through iPlayer or catch up services (which is not the same as recording it for later viewing). In any of these circumstances, you do not need a TV licence.

So how do you get the TV licensing people off your back? Anyone who owns, or who buys, a TV will be hounded and threatened with court action without refrain- according to Aol over 155,000 people were convicted and fined up to £1,000 last year and 107 people have been jailed for non-payment, so it’s not an idle threat. However, you can make a  ‘No Licence Needed’ declaration on the TV Licensing website which, if accepted, will free you from snotty reminders for up to 2 years, when you will need to re-declare.

Of course, the TV Licensing people ‘reserve the right’ to visit your property to check you really aren’t watching live TV and veiled references to surveillance and detection equipment suggests they might be able to check whether or not you are watching live TV. It's up to you whether you believe this, or have more faith in the empty van with a man turning a handle to spin a detecting dish on the roof. However, if you genuinely don’t watch live TV, or you don’t mind waiting for catch up services*, this could be a way to save yourself some dough.

The alternative is to adopt an over-74 year old as they get free licences. But that’s probably going a bit far.

*a word of warning. Match of the Day does not appear on catch up until the Tuesday following broadcast. It’s like they know.

TOPICS:   TV

54 comments

  • jim
    save money - grow your own erb ya gets me blud?
  • Cheesey
    Whatever the rights orr wrongs of not having a Licence, just remember one thing: TVL/Capita employees have NO RIGHT OF ENTRY into your property without a warrant. You do not have to talk to them, you do not have to let them in to discuss anything, you do not have to sign anything to say they have visited. Simply say that you are busy and close the door.
  • Dick
    How would the BBC know whether someone does not have a TV or just does not pay for a licence?
  • TVMAN
    When the TVMAN comes to your door, throw swears at him like you were a teenager in heat and NEVER let them in your house and make sure they can't see your TV thru the window, etc. If they spot a TV, they can get a court order to enter your house. Without spotting a TV they have no reasonable doubt that you have a TV and a judge won't grant them a court order.
  • madge f.
    TVMAN What happens if they SAY they saw a TV in your living room from through the window? "Your honour, I seen it through the window" You're not at court say "nah guv, I keep it in the bread bin, and that's in the kitchen so he's full a shit!" Eh, EH?
  • Big M.
    WTF? 'veiled references to surveillance and detection equipment suggests they might be able to check whether or not you are watching live TV' How about an absolute demonstration that they CAN check to see whether someone is watching live TV? That would be some threat, no? That would scare us into compliance. No? It's a 'veiled reference' because they fucking well can't but want people to think they can. @madge funcher. They probably need evidence - a photo perhaps, something solid. Rather than, say, taking someone's word for it. Fuck the BBC.
  • Michael S.
    "How would the BBC know whether someone does not have a TV or just does not pay for a licence?" Retailers are obliged to take your name and address when you buy a TV and they forward the information to TV Licencing, who use a simple database query to determine all properties that do have a TV and don't have a licence*. (You don't have to prove your name and address when buying a TV, so I give them the details of the bloke next door, who is a wanker anyway.) *Of course it is pretty simple to arrive at a list of all UK properties registered for council tax that don't have a license and haven't declared that they don't need one.
  • Shiftyniftysshadow
    The people they employ to collect the licence are by their nature very greedy sales commission bods , there is a chart I believe floating around on moneysavingexpert which shows their commission structure ...crapita ...gangsters in suits
  • Terry
    I have only watched iplayer and lovefilm etc for eighteen months now. I have filled in the form on the licensing website three times- I only watch catchup tv etc. Every month, without fail, I get harassing letters saying I need to buy a TV licence, they are coming to get me etc. Shit service, hope. I never need a licence again.
  • The C.
    Lets all fuck the TV Licence off, cant jail us all fucking BBC kernts
  • Old B.
    In the old days Belfast the "licence men" were simply worked over with a 2x4 with nails through and then shot in knees. Seemed to prevent any unwanted attention.
  • jokester2
    Just another ridiculous tax. Scrap the licence and just put adverts on the BBC channels. Problem solved.
  • mozzy
    If any of your devices contains a TV tuner, then you are pretty much stuffed. They will assume you have the capability - end of. Tuners hide in all sorts of gadgets these days, so you have to check. Even an old, discarded VCR would count. If your IP has been using iplayer etc. again you could be on the sticky end, but they are unlikely to chase the ISP for the evidence. If you want to do as the article suggests, you should replace your TV with a similar specification monitor (sans tuner), hook up a PC or streaming box and away you go.
  • David
    @ jokester2 "Scrap the licence and just put adverts on the BBC channels. Problem solved." Now all you have to do is to persuade the advertisers to increase their advertising budgets by about £4 billion a year AND choose not to pass on that extra cost in the products and services they sell. Piece of p**s.
    • Happy2advertise

      you really don't understand advertising costs bbc advertising won't come cheap guess that would solve the issue I don't see many ppi company's moaning about advertising cost 

  • Noghar
    Back in the days of CRT TVs it was possible to sit in a van in the street and tell what channel people were watching, because the electron guns in the TVs gave off a distinct radio signal that could be picked up remotely. Since LCDs that phenomenon has all but disappeared. Now the licensing authorities can't tell if you're watching live TV or not, so their default position is to assume that everyone has a TV, and anyone for who they have address details and can't find a corresponding TV licence will get sent snotty threatening letters. Personally I think the BBC is good value for money and the licence fee is worth it not to have our news and drama monopolised by R Murdoch & Family, but the fact that the license fee enables and empowers officious bullying snoopers really weakens the case for it.
  • Alexis
    The only way Crapita can get you is by tricking you into signing one of their forms. The demographic of those '155,000' (which sounds highly dubious) would be quite interesting.
  • jokester2
    @David "Now all you have to do is to persuade the advertisers to increase their advertising budgets by about £4 billion a year AND choose not to pass on that extra cost in the products and services they sell." No persuasion would be needed - advertisers want to advertise on the widest range of media possible and would happily pay to advertise on some of the most popular TV channels and radio stations. £145.50 per licence per year to watch BBC channels is ridiculous IMHO (especially since the only BBC show I watch is Top Gear and even they hate the BBC lol) Don't forget that you can get a 50% discount if you are blind.... that's really fucking useful!!!
  • HowDareYouBlockMyComments
    Completing the ‘No Licence Needed’ declaration on the TV Licensing website is a bit foolish if you're dodging them successfully I would think? Imagine you're a new resident in your new home and they don't have your name. Buy a TV, get it sent to your parents' place because you're at work and can't receive it. Address details for your licence-buying folks is attached to the new appliance. Then shred all the letters you receive from Crapita and only answer the door to expected guests and the postman. There are ways around them. Should mention I only use a TV for games and Lovefilm, but no way am I standing up, waving at them and giving them any details just to stop the letters.
  • Terry
    Mozzy you are a prick, how would a tuner in any device mean you have to own a licence if you do not watch tv. Also, you can watch iplayer as long as it is not a live transmission. No licence is needed. You can tell them this online or by letter or phone, but as you're not watching live tv you dont need to. After all, i dont need to tell the police that i'm not murdering my wife do I. Stop repeating bullshit and spend sixty seconds googling the law you idiot.
  • shiftynifty
    Personally the BBC is the best in the world...but not for a large £145.50 ...
  • angelbayboo
    Whatch the videos on youtube for what to do to when you dont have a licence/ dont need one/ or refuse to pay one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSK1B5z41s0 "Old Bloke" you will like this one, its from people in Belfast and what they do now to TV licence men, lol very funny
  • Big M.
    Amazing how much shit people believe regarding the TV License. You CAN buy a TV (with tuner) just for DVD's, games, Love Film etcetera. You declare it to the BBC on-line; I've done it and been pretty much left alone at the time. Can see why people don't bother though. Retailers stopped having to take details of people buying TV's quite recently. No wonder they like to propagate such bullshit when so many people buy it.
  • Big M.
    'If your IP has been using iplayer etc. again you could be on the sticky end, but they are unlikely to chase the ISP for the evidence.' ^ How the fuck would they do this? How the fuck would they even find out if I even have an internet connection let alone who my ISP is? What fucking planet are you on? What powers do you think they have?
  • pete
    Michael Souris above is mistaken about retailers being obliged to take your name and address when buying a TV. The Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1967 (as amended) has been repealed meaning that from 25 June 2013 onwards, TV dealers are no longer required to notify TV Licensing when they sell or rent out TV equipment. Remember, it isn't the police or HMRC who come after you for the TV tax. If it was I'd pay it!
  • Exactly
    Seems like good value at £145.50 for four tv channels plus red button plus all those radio stations. But you all keep using the service and not contributing. No problem. We will keep paying for the service for you. Help yourself to the food in my fridge too. I am out most weekdays at work.
  • ManAboutTheHouse
    And the same people that only watch online, & therefore pay no licence fee, will be the same people saying there's nothing to watch on the BBC. As someone mentioned earlier, when ''Murdochworld TV' is as exploitative & as poor quality as it is, I'll take the alternative too. The 'freeness' attitude of so many people today is rather tiresome. Someone, somewhere else should always pick up the tab...
  • jokester2
    @Exactly - It might seem like good value for you but many would disagree with you. And if they don't watch BBC, why should they pay a tax for it? Stop acting like this is causing you to pay for other people. If you want to do that, take a look at the benefits system that allows people to push 14 kids out of their vag and then live in a mansion for free.... @ManAboutTheHouse - Not everybody who watches TV watches much BBC. For instance, the only BBC show I typically watch is Top Gear. None of this would be a problem if the BBC ran like any other TV network - i.e. Adverts.
  • Big M.
    I watch Top Gear. Sometimes. On Dave. Sky Channel 111. I imagine BBC Worldwide gets paid for this, I pay for Dave, simple. The only BBC output I take in is Radio 4. I do pay for this BTW, just don't begrudge anyone who doesn't. Wish I had the nerve. I use the BBC news/sport website, but hey, get a paywall and I won't. Not sure why people are so sure everyone MUST, and I mean FUCKING MUST digest some any of the shit the BBC churn out year after fucking year. But then people like 'Exactly' just KNOW this. I resent paying £145.00 per yer for fuck all except left wing bullshit. If you love 'Strictly' then fine, if you think it's a fucking gem then great. I think it's for air-headed fucktards (the Mrs included). Okay, to finish. All you BBC lovers must take a portion of something I pay for. Maybe, you don't tax your cars. Or steal things, or commit insurance fraud all day long. Watching/viewing/ listening is OPTIONAL. Get it?
  • Big M.
    I watch Top Gear. Sometimes. On Dave. Sky Channel 111. I imagine BBC Worldwide gets paid for this, I pay for Dave, simple. The only BBC output I take in is Radio 4. I do pay for this BTW, just don’t begrudge anyone who doesn’t. Wish I had the nerve. I use the BBC news/sport website, but hey, get a paywall and I won’t. Not sure why people are so sure everyone MUST, and I mean FUCKING MUST digest some any of the shit the BBC churn out year after fucking year. But then people like ‘Exactly’ just KNOW this. I resent paying £145.00 per yer for fuck all except left wing bullshit. If you love ‘Strictly’ then fine, if you think it’s a fucking gem then great. I think it’s for air-headed fucktards (the Mrs included). Okay, to finish. All you BBC lovers must take a portion of something I pay for. Maybe, you don’t tax your cars. Or steal things, or commit insurance fraud all day long. Watching/viewing/ listening is OPTIONAL. Get it?
  • pete
    @Exactly, I expect you lock your door when you go to work so people don't steal food from your fridge. We could lock the BBC door too. If the BBC was encrypted nobody could watch it without paying, and people like you could pay for it all, leaving people like me to pay nothing for BBC TV because I don't want it. Why should I help you pay for your TV entertainment? I don't mind helping poor people with money for necessities like housing and food, but paying for TV for selfish pro-BBC types who don't want to pay full price is stretching my generosity too far.
  • Kevin
    If you think it's a rip off you are a moron.
  • jokester2
    If you say stupid shit like the comment above, you are an absolute fuckwit!
  • Big M.
    @Kevin. So, I watch no BBC output but have to say £145.00 is good value. You fucking idiot. I would pay for my watching habits..... say £40.00 per year to the BBC - very generous too......
  • gaz
    The law states that you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes, on any device, as they're being shown on TV. This includes TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital boxes and Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorders. You don't need a licence if you don't use any of these devices to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV - for example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or you only watch ‘catch up’ services like BBC iPlayer or 4oD.
  • jeff t.
    Do virgin/ sky/bt etc pass your details on, or would they be breaking the data protection act
  • Lisa L.
    Can they give you a on the spot fine if u dnt pay it in full by the end of the week?
  • carol
    I really do not watch my television other than catch up program and now tv that I pay 8.99 a month so what can I do to stop them harrasing me its now got to stage they are sending people to my door both times they have knocked tv had not been on as I really do only use it in evening before bed for 4od etc I never watch bbc channels Not even on catch up for the last 19 years I have paid for my licence but it makes me sick when I pay for my u view box to be able to watch all the catch up channels. . Please someone give me some true real advice they can come check when they want as this is genuine. . But last letter man put through the door said I could not use my ipad, any consoles or computer with out a licence. ? Worried person... but fed up with being robbed.. Actually only stopped paying when licence ran out as house was being refurbished but these nasty threatening letters have got my back up some what..
  • karl
    every week there are on average 4 woman who have an income that is below the nation average who are put into prison for not paying the licence fee. the vast majority of people proscecuted are the poor. the licence is nothing more than a poll tax were the poor have to pay the same charge as the rich. and the licence fee has never had any democratic consent.
  • Steven
    So if a TV license agent turns up at the door I can just refuse entry and everything would be fine?
  • avl
    I don't get why so many people are having problems with people coming round. When i stopped paying my licence fee (broke up with gf who moved out and i didnt watch live tv anymore anyway). I just told them on the licencing website why i was cancelling my direct debit (that i only watched catchup shows streamed online - not even on iplayer) and I havent heard from them since, that was over a year ago. All you have to do is tell them you don't watch live TV because it's crap and they should leave you alone.
  • savygirl
    BBC what can I say. I decided 2 years ago I was not paying a license for programmes I have paid for time and time again. Endless Repeats!!! Plus most of the programmes put out are just rubbish. So now I pay for Netflix. I can watch what I want, when I want, for far less than the tv license. Without ads, and have the advantage of pausing or rewinding if I need to answer the phone or go for a pee, etc. Much better. If there are any decent programmes on which are very very few, then I catch up when I want on the iplayers. Much better. If we all did this they couldnt do anything about it. So wise up. Do what you want, not the bloody money grabbing government officials and money men.
  • My S.
    I wouldn't perhaps know how I finished right up in this article, however believed this kind of upload was previously excellent. I'm not sure who you could possibly be on the other hand certainly you'll your famed tumblr if you are not really already. All the best!
  • adamst
    You know what I did? I DIDN'T REPLY TO THEIR LETTERS AND OPEN THE DOOR LIKE A GOOD LITTLE SLAVE! And what happened? Nothing. Year after year, nothing. And I don't have a TV. Got better things to do with my life. These letters are to provoke people to act. Scare people, let them know you exist in this property. They will send people to knock on door. You open that door, you are telling them they are in command. You write back letters, you are saying 'YES MASTER, I HEAR YOU MASTER, I AM HERE MASTER."" You reply in front of door, you're saying, "YES, I AM A SLAVE, I OPENED THE DOOR BECAUSE I AM A SLAVE. TAKE EVIDENCE, GO ON. I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO LIE AND GET ME IN COURT." Every time a person acts on their command, by answering their letters, calling them on phone to complain, opening door - they are giving them evidence! Their mentality, BBC is , "YOU SHOULD HAVE A LICENSE BECAUSE WE SAY SO, EVERYONE MUST. YOUR LYING YOU DON'T HAVE A TV. WE SO GOOD AT OUR JOB! WHO WOULDN'T WANT OUR AWESOME SHOWS. WE DESERVE THIS MONEY!!!" This isn't about whether you got tv or not. This is about social conditioning. Dividing you all against each other and ensuring you act like a slave. That's their mentality. They see you, all of us as slaves, scared people. They see all of us as dirt, nothing more. So get a backbone all of you. This is your country, your home, your castle, your house, your family, your privacy. The final place of peace of mind no one allowed to invade but we let the authority do so, we let them! We believed in their lies and we were distracted by the media noise, and fear to get them change leglisation. Now, the most sacred rights is lost. You're going to lose much more. I guarantee you because of teh way people in Britain are like. A) Don't answer their letters. B) Educate your family to NEVER open door for anyone. Your friends got your phone number, family too and they can call before they come. C) Don't talk! Keep that mouth shut if you open door by accident to see them standing them. SHUT THE DOOR on their face and keep quiet. D) Have a small camera CCTV above to record at all times when they do come as evidence. They lie, they always like, and courts are dumb, believing in Vans that detect. They detect nothing or they won't need to do all this stuff. As for anyone else talking about it's a must, a bargain to pay. We got better things to do in spending our money. Like paying for our children studies, talking wife and family on a holiday, buying new shoes for our kids, spending more time with our children, helping a friend who is in need and give a friend a break. You complain about money and here you are throwing it away! Every penny counts and you are throwing it away! You know, the things you British were known for. You helped each other. We heard about you from the other end of the world and we admired you for the way you stick up for each other. Now, look at you. LOOK AT YOU arguing against each other, like enemies, because of a corporation? You're tapped in head! You never, put government, corporation, before your fellow man and woman, and country. Never. Most of you are doing that right here. You rather make this license things as a way to divide yourself from your fellow neighbour? I rather it all go away than have me go against my neighbour, people because of this. That tells me a lot about your values, what's important to you.
  • rlsmith
    BBC suck balls £150 a year to watch that fkn retard will.e.am prancing about like a twat on The Voice. the only thing good on BBC is the sport, tennis, rugby, snooker and world cup ect. I pissed my pants when I looked on the BBC website and it says "A TV Licence costs £145.50 for colour, or £49.00 for black and white." WTF is Black and White? if i tell the BBC I have changed the colour settings on my 42" plasma to black and white, can I save £100? the BBC is so old fashion, like the queen, just will not die, think it's time for some involuntary euthanasia.
  • Hugh J.
    Morrisons and Sainsbury are about to introduce a similar payment scheme for groceries. You will receive a bill each month for groceries, even if you have not shopped there. The stores are claiming that the service was available for you, so you should pay whether you shop there or not.
  • Greybee
    I think in principal we should not have to pay this tax any longer...I dont try to void paying because it just seems like too much bother and only relatively recently started to feel more irked by the injustice of it all when I learned about the massive grant the BBC receives from the EU. Funny that because I thought making us all pay and threatening us with jail if we dont, was at least going to avoid funding from elsewhere (other than our own government perhaps) and keep everything nicely neutral and unbiased. Not so it seems. I just love being on a state pension while helping to pay a big fat salary of one of the company bosses via the tax...makes me feel warm all over...just as well because I cant afford to heat up my whole house. This ridiculous tax is outdated, phoney and must end. Let the already biased beeb acquire it's money wherever it chooses and include adverts if necessary...so flippin what.
  • Phil
    I cancelled a couple of years back and was given a refund. Just needed to point out that we did not watch live broadcast TV. I watch on Amazon Instant and Netflix and have never looked back. I watched 'normal' TV in a hotel recently and it was horrible - all those adverts on the BBC for their own programmes! And such cheap and rubbishy programmes. No way would I return to licensed, scheduled TV viewing.
  • soupdragon
    Just got my 1st threatening letter saying I'm under investigation, bring it on you bastards my hammer is near my front door & if I catch yous looking in my window I'll treat you the same as would with any peeping tom.
  • touchstone
    Please don't pity those who do not have a television. They are more intelligent than you.
  • Popstar
    I stopped paying the licence fee 4 years ago even though I still watch live TV. I get a threatening letter once every couple of months. I open them, laugh at the veiled threats then bin them. They are always addressed to 'the legal occupier'. I have never responded to them. I have had 3 visits from the Capita goons but have never opened the door. I have a TV in every room receiving live transmissions. Fuck the BBC and double-fuck Capita!
  • William
    The honey moon is over. Sky and other network are doing very well. With fantastic programs. Why wouldn't the bbconn men do the same. They're all lavishing the money anyway. Because it's cheap money. People are fadeup. The government should listen.
  • simon
    Why do we have to pay them they waste our money on silly thinks sky charge a fair amount of fees but they provide a good services . Frankly I do not want the bbc in my set they should only provide it to the people who want it for me thanks . I hope the new government will dismantle the bbc and show them how to be self efficient without relying on the people hard working cash .
  • David B.
    Have to say those who spout the, "it's great value for money" mantra, they are the best people to finance the BBC, after all sky subscribers pay a great deal more than the licence fee to watch what they want to watch,and Sky appear to be making a profit. but the reality is, it's just a tax. and like most things publicly funded are great at wasting the tax payers money without having to account for it,I pay for netflix and amazon video, both services cost less than the TV Tax and I do not require to pay a tax to watch them, with no adverts. The BBC can go to a subscription model so that the whiners that cry they are supporting the alleged evaders, can pay for the service they crave, without the forced support of the tax payers that don't watch BBC, if it's that great it shouldn't be a problem, should it?

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