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Living in the past (UK BBC TV Licensing department) 
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Is an album by a band called Jethro Tull. Sometimes here in england that is exactly how I feel.

Here is my complaint to the tv licensing department of the government here :

Quote:
Complaints :

1. When I phoned up your contact number 08448006720 today I listened carefully to my options and chose 6, whilst one of the first 6 options was for "over 75's" this was repeated again in the second menu, it was in fact the only option, so I chose 2, your system then informed me that there were no available operators and proceeded to cut me off. I found this rude. It is normal procedure to place someone in a queue if there is no one available at that time. As an experiment I chose to redial and try another option (surely their can't be that much demand for permission to watch mind numbing entertainment?) and pressed 1 for "buy a license", then I pressed 1 for "pay with direct debit", following that I chose 2 for "new license", immediately the phone started ringing, and within 1 second a friendly staff member was tending my call. I DO NOT accept that there were no operators available during my first call. I am not naive enough to think that there is no correlation between the financial significance of the options that I chose and the probability of my call being answered. I will not let this slide, and will be following it up and taking it further until I can dial that number press options that mean that I will NOT give you any money, and still have my call answered. All responses claiming that this situation has been remedied will be met with me checking that this is the case.

2. Since August 2007 you have been sending me extremely rude letters that strongly imply that I DO waste my time in the most mind numbing fashion by participating in the rather disgusting social disease that is "watching TV". Had the first letter asked in a suitably polite tone whether or not I watched TV rather than implying that I do without any knowledge of my personal habits, I would have responded in a timely fashion to let you know that I am not that sad an individual as to bother with such a largely pointless activity. Instead I have been most disturbed to find the letters getting more and more rude and insulting over time and beginning to try to intimidate the reader into handing over the cash whether they are a user of the BBCs services or NOT. For example, the second sentence in the latest letter reads as follows : "This is because there is still no record of a TV License at this property, despite our previous letters." should this not read "...TV License or lack of TV..." ??? The last sentence in the same letter reads as follows : "If you have recently purchased a TV License, you need take no further action as our database will be updated automatically." should this not read "If you have recently purchased a TV License OR let us know you don't have one..." ??? In the letter before last is an even worse example of blatant intentionaly misleading information : "...to determine whether equiptment such as the following is being used illegally:

A colour or b&w tv
video or dvd recorder
set-top box
A computer"

... fine so far ...

"If evidence is found that any such equiptment is being used on your property without a license, you may be cautioned and your statement will be taken....criminal law."

This is very very VERY FAR from OK! It is NOT illegal to use any of those devices at all. It is ONLY illegal to use them to watch or record TV at the SAME TIME that it is being broadcast. This sentence is totally and utterly wrong. It is misleading and it is intimidating. I find this totally unacceptable.

3. Upon phoning up to make my complaint the kind gentleman informed me that there was no complaints department (considering the tone in your letters, I thought it may have been one of your larger departments) and that he would be happy to listen to what I had to say. I told him my thoughts and he recorded them in the computer along with the fact that I DO NOT own a television or use ANY other equiptment to view TV at the time it is being broadcast. After this he informed me (as your rude letters also did) that I would receive a phone call, letter, and possibly in-person visit to make sure I wasn't lying about not having a TV. This in itself is highly offensive. If a respectable citizen informs you that the are acting within the law, and you have no information specific to them (statistics that most people are mind numb brain dead fools that watch TV DO NOT COUNT) that indicates otherwise, they should have the right to expect that you will take their word for it.

4. The draconian TV licensing regime was dropped in some of your smaller colonies as long as 8 years ago, see here for an example : http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0011/S00040.htm. Do you not think that in 2008 it is time that britain came OUT of the dark ages and made the BBC what it is in effect, i.e. a public service???

Thank you for your time. I look forward, with great anticipation of the positive changes that you will effect because of my communications with you, to your detailed and acceptable response!


Hopefully that provides you with some entertainment :-)

I look forward to their visit.

Fred.

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Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:59 pm
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Thank you for your email. This will receive attention as soon as possible. If you need to contact us regarding this matter, please include this email's reference number in the body of your reply email.

If you are notifying us of a change of address, please be aware that we will not send a replacement licence as the current one is still valid until expiry. All future correspondence will be sent to the new address.


Oh, I can't wait!

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Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:43 pm
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Quote:
Dear Fred,

Thank you for informing us that you do not use a television and how you feel about our enquiries. In line with our formal complaints process your e-mail has been forwarded to me.

I'm sorry that the receipt of our enquiry letters has upset you and hope that you will accept my apologies. I realise you had already attempted to contact us and would like to assure you that we do not intend to cause offence to anyone who does not receive TV signals.

I understand the agent with whom you spoke mistakenly advised we do not have a complaints department. In respect of the issues raised the advisor and their manager are notified and appropriate training given if the customer's address can be provided along with the date and time of the call.

As you made the call we would have amended our records to show that you do not receive a broadcast signal. This action will place a stop to further letters being produced for an extended period. You will be sent confirmation of this fact in a separate letter (ref; NSA1) however we will normally send a letter each year just to confirm that the situation remains the same.

If we've only recently amended our records, you may receive a further letter, which has already been processed and I cannot stop from being dispatched. If this does occur I would ask you to please ignore it.

The BBC (the Licensing Authority) has a primary duty as well as a government expectancy to reduce licence evasion and to inform potential occupants of their legal requirements. Experience has shown that one of the easiest ways to obtain information is to send enquiry letters to the addresses and act upon the information given.

The content of the letters are required to be specifically robust in order to send a direct message to licence evaders, although of course at this point we do not know if evasion is actually taking place. Options are normally included in the mailing for what to do if you do not receive TV signals in acknowledgement that for some people this is the case.

Unfortunately, just over a third of people were found to need a licence when we made contact with them. The BBC therefore decided that the fairest and most consistent approach would be to visit all addresses where we are notified that no television is used. By doing so, TV Licensing can identify the non-television users and thereby minimise future contact with them, freeing up resources to target evaders.

You are under no obligation to permit entry however if a Visiting Officer can verify that no television receiver is used on the premises, they can authorise a stop of up to 4 years on further contact. If the situation is seen to remain the same after that, the stop on contact is extended by another 6 years.

Although you are under no obligation to respond, replying helps us to keep our records as up-to-date as possible and is appreciated. We have in the past attempted to encourage people to respond by including a reply-paid envelope however it is often the case a response is only received after a more officious letter from TV Licensing has been delivered. I have marked your comments about the tone and the wording of the letters for the attention of the BBC and their marketing company.

I'm sure it must have felt frustrating not to be able to speak to an operator and for the call to be terminated. I understand you wished to simply inform us of the situation; we endeavour to provide as many agents as possible to be available to take calls. I should explain that phone line routes are divided into sections according to the query you select; therefore selecting one route may enable you to speak to one section of agents whilst selecting another route may result in you not being able to speak to an agent at the time (because all of the section's lines are in use). However we have notified the manager of the Automated Service regarding your comments.

We have a Freephone number: 0800 328 20 20; this number has been advertised in many of our TV trails. During busy periods there is also the option of writing to us for the price of a second class stamp.

I am grateful for your comments and trust I have clarified matters.

Yours sincerely

Mr XYZ
Customer Relations

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Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:02 pm
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I have to say, I particularly like this one :

A large group of idiots wrote:
We have a Freephone number: 0800 328 20 20; this number has been advertised in many of our TV trails.

Yes, that's right, even those people that do not watch TV are expected to get the phone number to dial from the TV LOL nice one...

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Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:40 pm
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It's a trap!

They did a sting here, where they had a commercial for something silly, beer mugs or commemorative belts or some shit during a pay=per=view boxing match, and they arrested everyone who ordered one since it only showed up on illegal boxes. That's awesome.

That said,what the hell is the BBC thinking? Regulating the receiving of signals? That's like telling women they don't need to wear tops and arresting everyone who looks at them. Preachers and politicians first.


Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:46 pm
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8InchesFlacid wrote:
They did a sting here, where they had a commercial for something silly, beer mugs or commemorative belts or some shit during a pay=per=view boxing match, and they arrested everyone who ordered one since it only showed up on illegal boxes. That's awesome.

LOL, that is indeed awesome. Silly fools ordering infomercial junk probably deserved it!
Quote:
That said,what the hell is the BBC thinking? Regulating the receiving of signals? That's like telling women they don't need to wear tops and arresting everyone who looks at them. Preachers and politicians first.

It's a traditional thing. I don't know why or when it started, but in NZ we dropped it a long time ago. It wasn't anywhere near as expensive at home a decade ago as it is here now though. Still, no one liked the idea, and the people made enough noise to get it ousted. Brits rarely make any noise that isn't "pardon me sir, but would you like me to kiss your feet?" or alternatively "wot ya lookin at, i'll smash ya" if they weren't educated :-) I'm fairly certain that a middle ground does not exist, at least not in appreciable quantities.

Fred.

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Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:06 am
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