Author Topic: Ditching the television  (Read 6987 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Ditching the television
« on: October 31, 2014, 07:31:35 pm »
After a number of years being tempted not to buy a licence - we watch hardly any television and it's been like that for years - the BBC's track record over the past 12 months or so has persuaded me that it is beyond redemption and I will not renew my licence when it becomes due at midnight tonight.

Quite apart from the absence of a set, are there any other precautions we should carry out to keep the Crapita Enforcement Brigade off our backs? We are subscribers to Virgin, who supply us with a package including a television signal (unused) and a mega-fast internet connection and a phone line. I have tried today to uncouple the television from the package, but the droid I spoke to was clearly not capable of comprehending that I didn't want any television signal. We do possess a very old "Telewest" cable television set-top box but it's years since we connected it to the wall socket or power. I note that the name Telewest disappeared in 2006.

I am aware of the need not to watch stuff live.

Anything else I should be aware of?
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2014, 07:34:18 pm »
If you don't have a television or STB installed for use, and aren't watching stuff live on the interwebs, then I believe you're legal.  It then becomes an exercise in sarcasm vs database.

(Though other than the "To the occupier" letter at the start of each new academic year, I haven't had any harassing letters since I declared our lack of a television.)

You're probably getting a better deal on the interweb and phone line with the TV included, anyway.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Basil

  • Um....err......oh bugger!
  • Help me!
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2014, 07:42:26 pm »
Bastards still send letters to my dad.  I made the error of responding.  Wrong.

My last response was, Mr B senior has given up watching TV since he died four years ago.
Quote from: Kim
And remember that friends who organise things on Facebook aren't proper friends anyway.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2014, 07:46:59 pm »
You need to reply to their letters for years till they leave you alone. You don't *have* to admit inspectors should they call but I have been soft enough to let them in.
They look at how the furniture is arranged. If the chairs do not all face one point, they are more likely to believe there's no TV.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2014, 07:49:11 pm »
...

You're probably getting a better deal on the interweb and phone line with the TV included, anyway.

I probably am, but I wanted to be sure. I had a "text chat" with some bloke from Virgin today and downloaded  the transcript of our conversation. It was remarkably frustrating because he was only trained to increase people's packages and could not comprehend that I might like less.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

red marley

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2014, 07:51:03 pm »
TV Licensing would appear to be clear on the matter:

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/how-to-tell-us-you-dont-watch-tv-top12

Just tell them you won't be watching live, they then pay you one visit to check and then no more letters or visits.

Personally, as much as the BBC can annoy me, I'm glad they exist. Although I don't really watch live telly anymore, I still pay my licence on the basis that I want the BBC to continue. I'd hate to have only advert dominated channels on the TV and radio. Murdoch and his empire would love it though.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2014, 07:56:10 pm »
I have been of that view myself for a long time, jo, and have paid the licence fee through gritted teeth, but the most recent pro-Israeli coverage of atrocities, and the totally unjustified difference between their treatment of the Green Party and UKIP have finally forced me to say "enough is enough!"
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2014, 08:03:12 pm »
I was hoping to ditch the TV licence for November, but I was told that I didn't give the bank enough time to stop the direct debit, so hopefully it will be gone on December. The last time I watched TV was back in August and just got fed up with repeats, soaps, and bloody cookery programs.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2014, 08:04:52 pm »
I wouldn't use DD to pay for a television licence. They take it in advance so it makes it all the harder to give up the television.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2014, 08:19:19 pm »
We ditched our licence after the last election when the sodding BBC didn't subtitle their iPlayer reshows of the leadership debates and refused to fix the subtitles once reported as missing/broken.

iPlayer subtitles are still dire, but at least I'm not paying the BBC for the privilege of being unable to access their services.  Their political bias is also a reason I maintain my refusal to have a TV licence.

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2014, 07:56:12 am »
The myth that they will leave you alone if you inform them that you do not need a licence  is I'm afraid just that.  A myth.

The myth that they will leave you alone if you let them in is I'm afraid just a myth.

Why in the name of freedom should any person have to keep telling these people something is ridiculous.   I'm surprised that anybody tolerates such personal inconvenience.

I refuse them entry and don't even open, let alone respond to their letters.   


Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2014, 08:08:20 am »
It's interesting here in Germany as the equivalent licence (GEZ) is mandatory, even if you don't have a television. You have to pay it, no exceptions, and German television doesn't even have the quality of the BBC. And it's over 200€ a year. And it doesn't include Radio 4 which I think makes the TV licence worthwhile in itself.

Luckily my landlady and landlord have the GEZ and we have pretended, for the sake of the licence, that I live with them rather than in my own self-contained flat.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2014, 08:30:34 am »
But Wow, you won't be able to watch "Pointless" anymore!

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2014, 08:37:42 am »
But Wow, you won't be able to watch "Pointless" any more!
iPlayer viewed, catch up, Pointless will be okay to watch. There might even be a box set.

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2014, 08:49:57 am »
"Pointless" box set  ;D

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2014, 09:32:30 am »
But Wow, you won't be able to watch "Pointless" anymore!
I watched that once, at least they got the name right.

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2014, 09:53:54 am »
It's interesting here in Germany as the equivalent licence (GEZ) is mandatory, even if you don't have a television. You have to pay it, no exceptions, and German television doesn't even have the quality of the BBC. And it's over 200€ a year. And it doesn't include Radio 4 which I think makes the TV licence worthwhile in itself.

Luckily my landlady and landlord have the GEZ and we have pretended, for the sake of the licence, that I live with them rather than in my own self-contained flat.

IT is the same in France I believe - you have to have a licence regardless.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

snail

  • Inch by inch.
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2014, 10:11:01 am »
I was without a tv for a few years. Finances were tight and it was the choice of £6 a week for food, or if I ditched the TV and licence, about £11 a week for food, which is much more doable. (Well, it was in 2006).

I only had one visit, and I was in the bath, so when I answered the door in a towel he was far too polite to ask if he could come in. I did get lots of letters though.

The strangest thing was the problem I had with the electricity company - they didn't believe the meter readings were so low, and were convinced I was scamming them. They, too, insisted on visiting and I did let them in. Over the phone, they just didn't get it:
"No, I don't have a washing machine, I use the laundrette. No, I don't have a PC, I have a low-energy laptop. No, I don't have a sound system, dishwasher, television..."
"What do you mean, you don't have a television?"
"I don't have a television."
Silence.
Followed by, "Blimey, you must have really good views where you live."
???

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2014, 10:43:10 am »
The myth that they will leave you alone if you inform them that you do not need a licence  is I'm afraid just that.  A myth.

The myth that they will leave you alone if you let them in is I'm afraid just a myth.

Why in the name of freedom should any person have to keep telling these people something is ridiculous.   I'm surprised that anybody tolerates such personal inconvenience.

I refuse them entry and don't even open, let alone respond to their letters.

I can only speak for my own experience.
I cannot remember any letters from the TV Licensing people in the last five years or so.
Before that, I had many letters but I answered one on their website (I think it might have had NOTV somewhere in its address)
http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/how-to-tell-us-you-dont-watch-tv-top12
 and I have not been pestered since. I think at the time there was a disconnect between the website and the paper letters but the matter was sorted.

I have been visited by an inspector twice.
On the first visit, the man never entered the house.

David dealt with the next visit. I think the inspector did come into the house but we seem untroubled now.

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2014, 11:15:01 am »
We still have a tele. A lot of days it doesn't get switched on. However, we're not about to get rid of it because there are a few programmes on the Beeb that we like to watch. So we don't mind paying a licence fee to help pay for them. I get pissed off with the folk who ditch the tele and watch everything on iPlayer without contributing a penny towards the stuff that they like to watch.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2014, 11:29:17 am »
We still have a tele. A lot of days it doesn't get switched on. However, we're not about to get rid of it because there are a few programmes on the Beeb that we like to watch. So we don't mind paying a licence fee to help pay for them. I get pissed off with the folk who ditch the tele and watch everything on iPlayer without contributing a penny towards the stuff that they like to watch.

This, really. If you watch it, pay for it.

We weren't, we just watch stuff on DVDs or Amazon, so dumped the licence months ago. Heard nothing. It's quite disappointing. I don't know why we get so hung it anyway, just bin and ignore.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2014, 12:20:06 pm »
I don't know why we get so hung it anyway, just bin and ignore.

I think it's the intimidating and accusatory tone of the letters (big black and red stamps all over the envelope stopping just short of telling your neighbours and the postman that you're an evader; telling you to retain this letter because you may want to refer to it in court; telling you that if you do not respond "a tv licensing inspector may call" (surely that's what they're paid for); the basic assumption that if you don't have a licence you're evadingin payment), coupled with the whole idea that just because you don't have a TV you need to sign up to be recorded on a database of deviants.

When we didn't have a tv a few years ago, I found it amusing to scrawl responses on the TVL letters - generally suggestions that to be useful, an inspector's visit would be better scheduled out of office hours - and send them back unstamped, without ever actually telling them we didn't have a telly. My parents used to get much more upset by the letters they received.

Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2014, 12:33:39 pm »
I don't know why we get so hung it anyway, just bin and ignore.

I think it's the intimidating and accusatory tone of the letters (big black and red stamps all over the envelope stopping just short of telling your neighbours and the postman that you're an evader; telling you to retain this letter because you may want to refer to it in court; telling you that if you do not respond "a tv licensing inspector may call" (surely that's what they're paid for); the basic assumption that if you don't have a licence you're evadingin payment), coupled with the whole idea that just because you don't have a TV you need to sign up to be recorded on a database of deviants.

When we didn't have a tv a few years ago, I found it amusing to scrawl responses on the TVL letters - generally suggestions that to be useful, an inspector's visit would be better scheduled out of office hours - and send them back unstamped, without ever actually telling them we didn't have a telly. My parents used to get much more upset by the letters they received.

Pretty good summary there jsabine.    :thumbsup:

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2014, 12:35:54 pm »
They should just give up and fund the BBC out of general taxation.  It'd cost less, and even with the political bias, strictly-come-bake-factor and dodgy subtitling, it's still better value than much of what the government spend our money on.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Ditching the television
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2014, 02:38:27 pm »
I agree with Kim about general taxation. 

I too object to the authoritarian and threatening content of the letters. I don't respond to threats, either officially sanctioned or otherwise.