23 September 2009

They have the technology

by Anton Piatek

8pm Tuesday night, and I am watching some trash on TV (or maybe it was a dvd – I don’t remember). There is a knock at the door, and I open it to find an ID card for the TV Licensing company…

I recently moved house, and tried to change address with them via their automated phone system. In fact I tried again for each red letter I received warning me that I didn’t have a TV license (two I think).

Anyway, the guy turned up saying “we have the technology”, obviously referring to the idea that they can “detect what tv you are watching from outside your house”. I never got how that works, especially with a LCD tv. Given that they have to be invited onto your property to see what is on your tv, and are trespassing if they don’t, then I am not sure how they can actually fine you if you say you don’t receive TV.

Of course the real joke is that I do have a license, and it is paid via Direct Debit. The problem is that they do not have the technology to change the address on that license as I have tried several times. The guy said he would do it when he got back to his hotel (the gprs connection on his handheld device apparently wouldn’t let him do it then and there), but I honestly expect to get another threatening letter.

How much money would they save if their automated phone change-of-address system actually worked? Surely it must be cheaper than sending a guy out all over the country, only to have him get shown a load of valid licenses that have the wrong address still…

tags: licensing - Rights - TV