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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Can we have our money back please, Mr Hall?

The BBC likes to say that they would lose a lot of money if non-payment of the licence fee was decriminalised. Perhaps, but if they are that sensitive, perhaps they would like to consider repaying some of the money the government pays them to broadcast to the dead. Here is the BBC position on refunds:

What to do if the licence holder dies

The death of someone is always a difficult time. We try and make it as simple as possible to make the necessary changes to the TV Licence.

If a TV Licence is still needed at the address

Anyone who was living with the deceased licence holder will still be covered by the current TV Licence. If the licence is not a Free Over 75 TV Licence, please send a short statement in writing that the licensee has died. Please also let us know the name of the person still residing at the address. Future correspondence about the licence will be addressed to them.
The address to write to is:
Customer Services
TV Licensing
DL98 1TL
A copy of the death certificate is not required.
If the bank account details for the Direct Debit need to be changed, please enclose these with the same letter. The bank account holder must also sign the letter.

If the licence is a Free Over 75 TV Licence

A Free Over 75 TV Licence will remain valid for that year. In the following year the person still residing at the address will have to renew the licence. If that person is, or will be, over 75 years old by the time of renewal then it is best to apply now for their Free Over 75 TV Licence. You can do this by using acontact form to tell us their name, date of birth and National Insurance number. If the person still residing at the address will not be over 75 then we just need to know their name. We will send a renewal at the appropriate time.
You can also call us with the details on 0300 790 6131. Find out more information on call centre opening times.

If the TV Licence needs to be cancelled

If the licence is not a Free Over 75 TV Licence there may be a refund due to the estate. Refunds are given on any quarters (3, 6 or 9 months) left on the licence. Please complete an online refund form if you are an executor for the estate.
To just cancel the licence, please use a contact form to provide the title, initial, last name, address and licence number (where possible) of the deceased person.

If the licence is a Free Over 75 TV Licence

We’ll simply cancel the over 75 TV Licence. Please use a contact form to tell us the name, address and TV Licence number (where possible) of the deceased person. As the Over 75 licence is issued free of charge, there is no refund.
See that? Nothing to repay for the dead Over 75s, because it is issued "free of charge". Actually not so. It may be free to the user, but it costs the government (i.e. tax payers) £550 million to pay for the licenses of the over 75s. With an average life expectancy of 5 years, that implies a 20% chance of dying in any given year or 10% of the license going unused.

That is a £55 million annual windfall to the BBC in unrefunded license fees.

1 comment:

Jose Richard P. Archival said...

I feel very amused of what I've learned. Very interesting!