Conspiracy Seriously what the heck is going on with the BBC licence fee thing


Staff member
For non-Brits, like myself, it came as a surprise that you pay a television licence fee separate to your taxes in the UK. Said fee is used to fund the BBC, pay salaries, pay productions, market etc.

Now apparently you can opt out of paying your television fee if you don't actually watch live television on your TV. Which I would like cause I don't actually watch free to air television that often, and am quite happy to catch up with things via the interwebs.

Okay to you don't have to pay the fee, if you don't then you will receive numerous letters from the BBC informing you pretty much that the Corporation is unhappy with your decision and you could face some serious legal issues. Have a friend in this situation, she simply throws anything from the BBC in the bin because you know ... spam! Well one night she received a visit from some shifty dude who was apparently from the BBC, refused to show his Id, and threatened police action if he wasn't allowed into her flat. She calmly informed him that there were a couple of males in the flat and they would now ring the Police themselves as the person point blank refused to show any form of Id.

Worried she contacted legal advice the next day, seems this is standard bully boy tactics from the BBC gestapo. No you don't have to allow someone claiming to be from the BBC into your house, no they have no legal rights, and no it isn't a Police matter if you remain calm and don't talk to them. Legal advice was to shut the door in their face, never allow them into your house - people have been stitched up, and don't get draw into conversation.

My question to any Brit members, is this all for real? Seems like state sponsored terrorism to me and in any developed Country must be breaching any number of laws and fall under the terms harassment and illegal representation.

Anyone not pay their licence? Be interested to find out what happened.

For the public record, in Australia our equiv to the BBC the ABC is funded by Government payment, i.e. public tax dollar at work.


An Old Friend
I recall some years ago that a friend of mine in London was telling me about the Television Taxes.
He didn't mention any contact like that from the BBC but he did say he paid that TV tax.
To me, it seemed pretty strange but many English customs seem strange to me.

Here in the USA we have other fees and taxes which are ... strange. Thing is, here they just shut you off if you don't comply. Then you get harrassed with phone calls but I've never heard of any personal home contacts.

Personally, I don't watch TV (per se). I have no antennas, no cable and no satellite. I only have broadband internet. Consequently, I see no advertisements. When I watch a show or movie online, depending upon the source, its commercial and interruption free.
With ad and pop-up blocking software, I don't even get internet ads.

There are sites like Pluto TV and Comet TV which do have breaks for ads because they stream live TV channels. I can watch NEWS, sports and live TV there but for me, the ads make it unbearable.

I pay a monthly fee for my unlimited broadband. This allows me access to anything on the internet which is not restricted. There's an awful lot of 'stuff' available for my monthly fee.
Technically, the TV shows, Movies, Music, eBooks and artwork I see on the internet is not actually free because I do pay a monthly fee.
Since it is already available and I didn't put it there, all I'm doing is viewing it. I don't control the content. Its like turning on the radio and hearing a song or a story.
As long as I don't upload any copyrighted material to the internet, what am I actually violating? Its like finding a $20 bill blowing in the wind beside a highway.

If I fail to pay my internet access fee, I no longer have access to the internet.
From that point of view, anything I see on the internet which I can access is technically 'Paid For by Me'. If I choose to pay an 'all access fee' to view a restricted site, it is an additional fee paid to view it.
For example, Netflix.
If I am paying my internet fee I can choose to pay an additional Netlix fee. However, If I do not pay my internet fee, I can no longer access Netflix.
This condition exists no matter which access fee you pay. Without the internet service, nothing is available.

The same conditions apply to phone wireless access. You pay for your phone service which grants you access to the wireless internet. You can then pay for access to Netflix but if you fail to pay your phone fee, you lose access to Netflix.

The TV tax in Britian kinda works like internet access fees (I think?). A tax you pay for access to televison. However, its obvious you can still access TV without paying the fee (tax). However, they have laws (tax laws) there which makes it illegal. The issue you bring up is interesting because BBC is a corporation, not the government. I'm curious if anyone there has ever went to jail over this for tax evasion?

Here is the states, stealing cable or electricity subjects you to legal consequences. The cable company has 'sniffers' which alert them to 'leaks'. The cable company might contact you if they find a 'leak' at your home. If you were stealing cable, they can and do start legal actions against you.


The issue you bring up is interesting because BBC is a corporation, not the government. I'm curious if anyone there has ever went to jail over this for tax evasion?
Yep, they've decriminalized it now but, until a couple of years ago, the courts often sent people to prison for not paying their telly licence


Code Monkey
Staff member
From my British friends over the years... Yeah, some of the Gestapo-like stories are real. Like having surveillance vans to find households with TVs turned on who haven't paid their license fees and, if you were using it for something like a game system, the onus would be on you to prove you weren't watching over-the-air TV (OTA). I don't know if they still do those kinds of tactics in the age of digital OTA.📺📡


Staff member
BBC having some problems?
Yeah, the Gov turned down their application to increase fees, and they have lost something like a million licence holders (set to get worse imho due to younger demographics now having various companies like Netflix).

They recently decided the elder are now required to pay the fee, which was singularly a despicable act imho. If they need to save money cut some executive salaries perhaps.