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 673.

    I am a magistrate and am not surprised at the figures given for no TV licence. I have sat in court sessions (lasting half a day) where we have dealt with between 50 and 100 cases, in some cases it is a second or third offence.
    Simple answer, to not get a criminal conviction, pay your TV licence or get rid of the TV. If you really need your TV you can pay monthly and spread the cost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 668.

    After not actually watching TV for a year, due to the rubbish output, I wondered why I was paying £145 a year for a box to gather dust in the corner. So I gave it away, and never looked back. That was 5 years ago. Have I missed anything? Nope!

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    I rarely watch any TV at the time it is broadcast other than sport... Life is too short to waste watching almost 20 minutes of repetitive adverts per hour.
    Keep the Licence Fee and let us have some entertainment without constant and prolonged advert breaks

  • 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 48.

    With the amount it costs to collect this tax plus the cost of chasing and prosecuting 400,000 households, surely it would be better to fund the BBC directly out of general taxation.


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