TV licence fee excuses revealed

The Queen with James Bond and corgis in a sketch for the Olympics opening ceremony The Queen appeared with corgis in a sketch for the Olympics opening ceremony

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A homeowner said they did not think they had to pay their TV licence fee because they claimed their pet was related to one of the Queen's dogs.

Other excuses given to officials by evaders last year included watching a stolen TV set, TV Licensing said.

More than 400,000 people were caught watching TV without a licence in 2012.

UK residents are legally required to have a licence if they watch or record TV at the same time as it is broadcast or could face a fine of up to £1,000.

A colour TV licence costs £145.50 while a black-and-white licence costs £49.

In January, TV Licensing revealed that more than 13,000 households across the UK were still using black-and-white television sets.

Criminal offence

Excuses for non-payment given last year included:

  • "Apparently my dog, which is a corgi, was related to the Queen's dog so I didn't think I needed a TV licence"
  • "Why would I need a TV licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I've got it"
  • "Only my three-year-old son watches the TV. Can you take it out of the family allowance I receive for him? He watches it so he should pay"
  • "I had not paid as I received a lethal injection"
  • "I don't want to pay for a licence for a full year. Knowing my luck I'll be dead in six months and won't get value for money"
  • "I have lost weight recently and had to buy new clothes. That's why I could not afford to buy a TV licence"

TV Licensing spokesman Stephen Farmer said: "Some of the excuses are simply hilarious whilst others show a great deal of imagination and creativity but being caught without a valid TV licence is a criminal offence and no laughing matter.

"Joking and wacky excuses apart, it's breaking the law to watch live television without a licence so anybody doing this risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    Not big and not clever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    I look forward to bleating lefties referring to people living in "TV Licence Poverty".

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    The BBC is a world famous national institution. Previously I disagreed with this mandatory fee but over the previous 5-10 years I have changed my mind. Predominantly for the BBC website and more recently the mobile content. The BBC website is the most visited webite in Britain on a daily basis. There is no threat of any pop up ads and the content can always be trusted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    Can never understand why it's a criminal offence not to have a licence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    And how many kept receiving threatening letters and phone calls saying they had not paid when in possesion of a current TV licence...? I did.
    They kept on hounding me even though I gave them my licence number.
    I am so glad I left that country... so glad!

  • rate this

    Comment number 409.

    Why do I need a TV License..?

  • rate this

    Comment number 408.

    "Joking and wacky excuses apart, it's breaking the law to watch live television without a licence so anybody doing this risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000."

    Technically that means anyone who watches via satelite does not need a licence.
    A satelite feed has a 2 second delay and therefore is not live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    380 "Interesting how the people who deride the BBC/complain about the licence fee... are on the BBC website.........incidentally paid for by the licence fee payers /facepalm" - it's amazing how many people can't see we may as well squeeze some value out of the unavoidable tax wrenched from us annually, so sneering lefties can lecture us on the very message boards we have to pay for /facepalm

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    Times have changed since we only had three TV channels. Not only do we have more channels but a wider choice of programmes. In my view the BBC is still stuck in a 1970s time bubble with much of its content. This was highlighted with "The White Queen" which ought to have been closer to "Game of Thrones" than some form of white washed view off history. We need a public debate over the licence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 405.

    The BBC is clearly anti Roman Catholic and anti-Christian. If I had the choice I would not give them a penny. It is an organisation whose workers have some very dubious morals especially with regard to paedophilia. They criticised the dopey Bishops who didn't know about child abuse but all their tough investigative journalists turned the other way when it was happening within their walls.

  • rate this

    Comment number 404.

    Lets not forget that a large proportion of the "fee" goes to Capita, the company that do all the collections on behalf of the Government and BBC.
    Lets face it, TV licensing is an antiquated system that the Aussies abolished in the 1960's, we are paying for prima donnas, that are on hugely inflated salaries, with pensions the rest of us could only dream of. It's time it was abolished!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    Unbelievable that is law to have a TV licence. Also the licence fee pays the wages of paedophiles and this is a proven fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 402.

    Spend a year abroad and see how much you miss the BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    Ah yes, the yearly made up scare-mongering drivel to bully people into buying a license. Never had a license, never will. Come at me BBC! There is no such thing as a 'detector van', and the only people who have ever been convicted were stupid enough to let the inspectors in and signed a full confession. Oh yeah, their fines actually cost LESS than a TV license would have in the first place!

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    At least a TV license is not a RIP off like Sky F1 channel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    I'd also like to point out in New Zealand they abandoned the licence fee because of a general revolt where the bulk of people refused to pay it.

    Sort of a consumers strike, what a concept.

    Of course if you even aired such an idea in the UK you'd probably get prosecuted for advocating some sort of criminal offence.

    Like to see them try prosecuting a few million no payers though. That'd fix it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    To guarantee quality programmes and not having to watch inane advertising wasting huge amounts of time, I will happily continue to pay the license fee. Mind you, I like the sound of the French system - fewer evaders that way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    Now let's hear the top 10 excuses and threats the private firm Capita Business Services Ltd. (always a favourite of the UK Government) have used to illegally gain access to peoples' property in the name of the TV Licence Fee and evasion thereof. And yes, I've got a colour TV licence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    Back in the day when it was BBC and ITV, the cost of ITV for the average family was three times that of the BBC. That was the additional cost of goods due to the cost of television advertising. And yes - you paid that even if you didn't have a TV!
    It would be interesting to see today's stats; I'd bet they would make the BBC seem very good value now as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    it's one of the few tax avoidance schemes we can all partake in..... it's called iplayer online and it's only got an hours delay on the programs which are live.
    unplug your aerials, disconnect your satelites, connect your laptop to your TV through HDMI and turn on the wifi. (just remember to not watch it live or you're liable even on the pc)


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