back to article Licence-fee outsourcer Capita caught wringing BBC tax from vulnerable

Capita, to whom the BBC has outsourced its licence fee shakedown efforts, has been found to be targeting vulnerable people as part of an aggressive bonus scheme for its collectors. An investigative report by the Daily Mail has found Capita to be offering bonuses of up to £15,000 a year to its 330 enforcement officers, who have …

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Bah!

Coo! Who could have predicted that putting a fixed bounty on the heads of potential offenders could ever result in gross abuses by the headhunters?

That's never happened before.

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Angel

Re: Bah!

"We expect enquiry officers to behave in a courteous, professional manner and abide by a published code of conduct.”

[sarcasm=on]

Because the published code of conduct is in PowerPoint, so it must be true!

[sarcasm=off]

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Re: Bah!

[sarcasm=on]

Because the published code of conduct is in PowerPoint, so it must be true!

[sarcasm=off]

You missed a bit:

"Because the published code of conduct is in PowerPoint (in a slide deck that no-one has ever seen). so it must be true!"

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TRT
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Capita.

There's that word again... Sounds familiar... where have I heard it before?

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Joke

Re: Capita.

Dead Wringers!

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Re: Capita.

Even worse

the words

"Capita has fallen short..."

SOP for them really.

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Anonymous Coward

Time for an Eyebrow Raising Competition!

"Capita has fallen short..."

The Patrician of the BBC, Tony "Femi" Hall, must now realise that deCapita is the only solution!

A Public Service organisation can not be seen to subscribe to a company that uses mafia methods...

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Why is it not just folded into normal taxes?

So sad how much wasted time and money is spent on administering a bunch of unnecessarily complicated taxes.

Put £5 per screen inch on the price of a TV, on import or manufacture. Done.

Everything else is really just messing about. 30m households each buying a TV a year = £1.5bn for zero admin whatsoever.

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ZSn

maths

5*30=1500? Perhaps you should redo your sums.

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Why should it be folded into taxes? Why should I have to pay for your entertainment? Are you offering to pay for my camping trips and track days, should my motorcycle racing also be folded into taxes?

Charge the people who actually use it, stop trying to force me to pay for other people's hobbies. Encrypt the lot and decriminalise evasion so that Capita and TVL staffers can no longer hide behind "detection of crime" defence and can be prosecuted under harassment legislation.

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Perhaps it should just be added to general taxation and funded by the government. Unless you reckon that might affect impartiality of the service; impose constraints, produce murmurings of government tampering.

If you watch television, why not pay towards funding it? I mean, pay more than you do already for commercial channels by paying through marketing and advertising budgets added to the cost of products and services you purchase. Perhaps they could levy a tax on TV advertising... that way a non-commercial channel can be funded by the people who only watch commercial channels! They wouldn't have to pay a license fee then, would they? Although, now I come to think of it... can any way of funding non-commercial channels be really said to be fair? People who don't consume it, don't have to pay towards it. Hm... well, I hardly go to the GP now, and my kids are all grown up, so I guess I shouldn't pay for those either. I mean I *might* need the GP, I suppose, then again I *might* want to watch Dr Who, or Horizon. Or that ballet version of 1984, that was OK. So was that Planet Earth series, that was pretty good. And when the storms were wrecking the UK travel system and the power went, it was handy to turn on my battery powered radio and find a local channel with news and travel and weather on it.

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Anonymous Coward

I'd rather pay for the BBC than Uncle Rupert.

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That ship has sailed. France folded it into council tax before the arrival of Netflix and so on and there were savings in collecting it this way. If attempts were made to fold it into tax now in the UK too many people could reasonably argue that they never watch the BBC.

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Re: maths

The OP said "£5 per screen inch" so that means a lot of 10" TVs... 5*10 * 30 = 1500

Or you could make it £1 per screen inch with a more realistic screen size i.e. 1 * 50inch * 30 = 1500

That said, the idea of every household in the UK buying a new TV every year (especially highly taxed 10" ones) does seem a bit unlikely

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Anonymous Coward

Quite correct

Also its a license to use a TV receiver, though in practice the telly tax goes to the BBC and Capita.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Mister D

You wouldn't, just tick the box to say you don't have a telly, but be aware that the Capita goons will be

around. Its a license to use tv reception equipment.

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Why not privatise the BBC and let advertisers pay for it?

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> "Why not privatise the BBC and let advertisers pay for it?"

And risk Darth Rupert buying it, and having the BBC journalistic quality reduced to that of the rest of his offerings?

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Anonymous Coward

Let the advertisers pay?

I hate Adverts on TV. Not having ad breaks for 20 mins per hour is worth the TV license fee.

If on the rare chance that there is something worth watching on a commercial channel I record it and then skip the adverts when playing it back.

I hate Adverts

I hate Adverts

And yes, I worked for an Ad agency around 2010. Shame on me but I learned how they work from the inside. That put me off them for ever. They are even starting to use NLP on you unsuspecting punters.

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Re: @ Mister D

Not just TV reception equipment, but also for streaming TV programmes as they are broadcast or use of iPlayer (other catch-up services do not require a licence). If you use a phone to watch "live" TV progs or watch the Internet, it still needs a license although a home one does cover you for roaming on mobile devices as long as its running off batteries.

It's unclear to me if I take my laptop to a friends house (who doesn't have a licence) and I stream live TV whether he has to divert his eyes away from the screen...

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Anonymous Coward

@MrDamage

I'm sorry but BBC journalistic quality is like unicorn shit and is extremely biased. Anyone who believe it is impartial is living in a bubble, it's told what to do and say by the government of the day. Have you ever noticed how some stories break elsewhere first until they check with the government about what slant they want to put on it?

As a side note I have also noticed how any potential terrorist story was reported as terrorists yet now they refuse to blame terrorists until they have confirmation and have to. Could this be due to Trumps rhetoric? Another fun fact is the reporting of numbers, you could just use the number or you could slant it with "scores", "many", "few", "mass", " couple", "over n", "under n" where n is a number.

Tricky sods these journalists.

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Not Entirely Fair

People who only watch ITV are being forced to pay for the entertainment of people who prefer the BBC. And television is a preferred entertainment for those on lower incomes, for whom the telly tax is a great burden.

Also, this meant that unlike in North America, people couldn't use old TV sets as monitors for their computers without paying extra tax, thus making it more expensive to have an 8-bit computer there.

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Re: Not Entirely Fair

You're Rupert Murdock and I claim my £5.

A colour TV licence is £145 per year. That's £12/month, less than fixed line rental.

You can't get Internet for that much by any method.

And even the cheapest Sky Sports packages are more than double that.

If you don't want to pay it then that's absolutely fine. Don't watch broadcast TV or BBC iPlayer, just use ITV player etc instead.

You'll be spending far more on broadband of course.

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Re: Let the advertisers pay?

They are even starting to use NLP on you unsuspecting punters.
Gosh! NLP, a technique of layering subtle meaning into spoken or written language so that the writer/speaker can implant suggestions into a person’s unconscious mind without the reader/listener knowing what the NLPer is doing. I take it you don't read novels, or poetry, or watch TV and film drama... Not to mention listen to politicians.

Interesting example here: Obamas Mass Hypnosis Tactics Revealed (NLP)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: maths

> 5*30=1500? Perhaps you should redo your sums.

Must be a statistician. He just forgot to publish the standard deviation on that result.

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Mushroom

@MiserD (FTFY)

>Why should it be folded into taxes?

Why should MY taxes pay for YOUR kids education and YOUR healthcare? I've never been sick a day in my life and I have no kids.

Pretty pathetic argument you make.

99.9% of people watch TV, listen to the radio or use iPlayer.

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Re: Let the advertisers pay?

The last century called and asked for their argument back.

I strongly disagree with the license fee on the basis I hate the BBC, i find myself seeing their stuff at other people's houses and regularly think "when will they make something i might watch".

I have even got rid of my TV (to avoid hypocrisy).

However, the idea that there is only two options : license fee or adverts is not true today and has not been true for a long time. It is akin to arguing for the whip over the belt for being whacked with.

Believe it or not, we could have no license fee and no adverts... imagine that .. its almost like its the future (2017 or something) ... other countries that have traditionally led England outdated ways; America has demonstrated it. If you want the BBC then you pay the license fee, not me.

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WTF?

Re: Let the advertisers pay?

Believe it or not, we could have no license fee and no adverts... imagine that .. its almost like its the future (2017 or something) ... other countries that have traditionally led England outdated ways; America has demonstrated it. If you want the BBC then you pay the license fee, not me.

And where is that done, and who pays? Here in NZ we did away with the license fee some time back (20yrs?), but even then we had a lot of ads despite the license fee. Pay TV (eg SKY) are at least as bad as freeview for ads, maybe more (plus you have to pay for the benefit of getting them).

The US? I do watch some US TV (sometimes some good series come out of there which NZ TV will buy exclusive rights to but refuse to show), they have plenty of advertising plus the sometimes 1/4+ screen of upcoming shows/events adverts during the show plus of course the "product placement" advertising which I generally don't mind.

So where is this magical fairy land with no adverts, no license fees, that you claim? Not even the land of GOG (garish orange goblin) has that, despite your claim.

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Because then it would not be The BBC, it would be a commercial broadcaster...

oh, you're being a troll..

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"Why not privatise the BBC and let advertisers pay for it?"

Because that's the real way to force the cost of the service onto people who don't use it.

If you don't watch TV you can avoid the licence fee but unless you are self sufficient, off the grid, make your own toothpaste and soap, and don't have any banking or insurance you can't avoid paying for things that advertise which means (apologies if this comes as a horrid shock) paying for the advertising.

Tesco's advertising budget is more than a pound per person in the UK, Unilever's is more than two. Total TV advertising in 2015 cost £5.3bn, total spend on advertising was 1.08% of GDP, making it £308.56 per person (adult or child) in the UK.

If you really think you got between one and a half times and two times as much benefit from adverts that you did from the BBC that's great but for me the licence fee looks better value.

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..taxing

But the whole point of tax is it covers things you do not want / use.

It's a social contract.

I have no great wish to achieve any of my taxes going on Trident, wars / military action that do little other than stir up hate of the UK, but my cash gets spent on that.

Back in the day (Great Britain) you needed a licence for a dog, but it was just scrapped & subsumed into general tax (US, N. Ireland, Ireland & others still do have them) so prior art for getting rid of a licence, and although some TV content may be offensive its less irritating than "dog mess" on the streets, in plastic bags littering trees & bushes.

I would be happy to see TV licence cost removed and to get some revenue back & return the dog licence at a hgh cost (including DNA test of the licenced dog), DNA would allow the culprit owner to be found & massively fined for fouling instances. Rigorous fouling enforcement would be needed so owners who do clean up could then qualify for a reduced licence cost as a reward.

..Cue downvotes from grumpy dog owners, I don't care, I dislike the all too frequent slalom walk around festering piles of "mess".

Slimy folk punting TV licencing. a while back a kid of mine was at first day of uni accommodation (those big blocks where communal kitchens, bathrooms etc but separate rooms), huge push for them all to have TV licences, spinning blatant lies when told kid had no TV - e.g. you must have a TV licence for any iPlayer use - I pointed out that home licence would do for the kid, as long as they watched it on phone / tablet not plugged in.

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> Are you offering to pay for my camping trips and track days,

> should my motorcycle racing also be folded into taxes?

Well I'm happy to pay my share of the tens of millions it costs to maintain National Parks for you to pitch your tent in and to fund the NHS so that if you have a mishap when racing your motorcycle you don't have insulting medical costs added to the injury. To be honest I'm not sure the government should fund Silverstone but if it decides to grant their request for extra money then I won't protest.

But sure, I get how upset you must feel about having to pay the equivalent of 10 litres of petrol a month for a BBC service that you have never, ever taken any enjoyment from at all, not when you were a child, not when they had live Moto GP, not now, and certainly not at any future point in your life.

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@ Pomgolian

"99.9% of people watch TV, listen to the radio or use iPlayer."

100% of people crap but I dont have to pay for your porcelain throne. If so many people use those entertainment services then they can pay for it.

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Stop

Why not privatise the BBC and let advertisers pay for it?

Because that would produce the worst of all possible TV worlds. The BBC (for all its faults) is easily head and shoulders above almost all the other media providers - yes I know they have to have an amount of pathetic populist drek (DeadEnders - I'm looking at you) but other than (maybe) Netflix are there any other media companies out there providing the breadth of stuff that BBC does?

Shackling them to chasing the advertising dollar will just result in them *only* making stuff that they feel will get advertising money. And we already have enough crap companies doing that.

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"Why is it not just folded into normal taxes?"

Probably because a significant minority of licence payers are not tax payers. Can't have the proles getting their TV tax free now, can we?

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Re: Not Entirely Fair

"Also, this meant that unlike in North America, people couldn't use old TV sets as monitors for their computers without paying extra tax, thus making it more expensive to have an 8-bit computer there."

You're talking shite man! You only need a licence if you use TV reception equipment to receive TV broadcasts. You DO NOT need a licence to own a TV. You don't even need to disable or otherwise remove the tuning facilities as some used to waffle about in the past. Other terms and conditions may apply with respect to live or near live streaming and the use of iPlayer out with the "traditional TV" stuff.

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Re: @ Mister D

You are at liberty to use "tv reception equipment" as a monitor or to play DVDs for free. It is reception of, or recording at the time of transmission, broadcast TV, or the use of iPlayer (but only iPlayer) that requires a TV Licence.

It is in the interest of the BBC to maintain, without actually lying of course, that mere possession of TV receiving equipment needs a TV licence. Vulnerable people will be more inclined to cave in.

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Re: Let the advertisers pay?

"So where is this magical fairy land with no adverts, no license fees, that you claim? Not even the land of GOG (garish orange goblin) has that, despite your claim."

He's probably referring to Netflix and the like. Although why I should have to subscribe to the entirety of Netflix and subsidise the sort of shite HE wants to watch instead of only my own choice of shite, I have no idea. I suspect in his perfect world, every TV program would be a one off pay per view DRMed up the wazoo so only those worth watching (in his opinion) would survive. Unfortunately, the bit of the equation he's not fully thought through is that the only shows left in that sort of winner takes all market will be the biggest sports, soaps and reality shite made for the lowest common denominator.

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Re: Not Entirely Fair

Your second paragraph is incorrect. If you do not use your television as a television but only as a monitor then you do not need a licence. Even if you use your television as a television but only for Netflix et al (from your computer) you do not need a licence. If you prefer your PET or Amiga experience on a CRT rather than through an emulator you are still free to do so at no charge.

The only (recent) difference is you now may no longer avoid the fee through the bizarre anomaly of iPlayer.

Where contempt for the BBC is valid is their despicable introduction of visible watermarks on their broadcasts. It is annoying that now even licence players have to wait for Blu-ray rips to be torrented to watch new content. That is a horrendous practice.

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RW

Re: ..taxing

"Dog taxes", formally called "dog license fees", are actually in place to ensure that all dogs have been vaccinated against rabies, a prerequisite for obtaining the metal tag that all dogs must wear on their collars.

Rabies may be a non-issue in the UK, but North America has many wild animals among which it flourishes: foxes, raccoons, bats of many species, etc.

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TVL staffers are civilians with NO powers whatsoever. They cannot enter your premises (unless invited) without a warrant and police attending and putting a foot in your door when you're closing it on them is aggravated trespass.

There are plenty of warnings of "never talk to them" and "if you do talk to them, make sure you video it" - they generally run away at the first sign of a camera in any case. It's both perfectly legal to follow them to see what they drive off in and to publish the footage on Youtube or other sites without obscuring number plates if they've been behaving in a menacing manner (Public interest defence to a DPA civil claim, which is the only kind of legal action possible for the aggrieved party - As someone attempting to act on matters carrying criminal penalties they'd have a hard time proving a right to not being publically identified, in the same way the police can't stop anyone filming them or publishing the footage)

Disclosure: I have a TV license. That doesn't stop them sending demands and threats of site visits (which never materialise) - that's been going on for nearly 20 years.

Because not having one is a criminal matter:

1: It's not up to me to prove a have a license when they show up, it's up to them to prove I don't.

2: Standing on the doorstep accusing of not having a license loud enough for passers-by to hear is probably legally actionable slander.

Then again, where I live, pointing out to the same passers-by that someone is a TV licensing inspector results in a "hostile" gathering in short order. It's amazing how fast they can run.

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Re: Quite correct

"Also its a license to use a TV receiver"

Whilst I pay the fee, that's my fundamental objection to the current structure as well. It dates back to the days of radio receiver licenses and radio receiving licenses were abolished specifically because they were impossible to enforce.

TVs being much larger and bulkier were regarded as "easier" but that hasn't been true for over 20 years.

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Re: Let the advertisers pay?

"I hate Adverts on TV. Not having ad breaks for 20 mins per hour is worth the TV license fee."

in some countries you got TV license fees AND 24 minutes per hour of adverts on the state channels.

Unsurprisingly more than 1/3 of people refused to pay licenses and the costs of trying to collect coupled with a couple of convictions of TVL inspectors for criminal behaviour on doorsteps resulted in them being abolished.

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There are strong arguments to go for the New Zealand model.

All broadcasters (TV and radio) are eligible for grants from the (ex-)licensing budget.

Funding for the state broadcaster is rigidly accounted for. Any programs sold overseas (or on DVD, etc) must have their grants paid back.

In the case of private broadcasters, they are made to pay interest on the grant too, but that's still better than the previous situation where they had the same model, but the state broadcasters (TV and radio - both commercial activities, unlike the BBC's stations here) got the money without any further obligations or reporting requirements and used most of it to prop up their commercial radio network.

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Mushroom

Legacy Legislation, from when Auntie was Miss Fanny Shagwell

"Why should it be folded into taxes? Why should I have to pay for your entertainment?"

This stems from The Olden Days, when the BBC was the only channel, and its purpose was to Inform, Enlighten and Entertain the public in an Objective and Unbiased way, for the good of said Public.

If ANYONE can recognise the current BBC and our Government from that description, they need a detox quite badly!

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The problem is in keeping the "unbiased" BBC separate from the mess we see now, and only allowing the first to be supported by licensing.

The second problem, as James May once said, is that once the BBC is gone, it(in its original form) is unlikely to be recreated due to perceived cost.

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"Why not privatise the BBC and let advertisers pay for it?"

Because its content would then become the same insufferable drivel as the other private channels, which defies the Purpose of the BBC altogether. It is already much too close as it is..

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The BBC Horizon, which should now be renamed Health and Wellness Horizon, used to be my favourite programme, before they destroyed it. As Clarkson, Hammond and May have also left the premises I see little reason to tune in any more...

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@ uncommon_sense

"Because its content would then become the same insufferable drivel as the other private channels, which defies the Purpose of the BBC altogether. It is already much too close as it is.."

That would be either watchable or another crap channel nobody has any interest in until it dies off. The only reason to fear the removal of the license fee is to be certain it is a failure without support.

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Re: Quite correct

I have no TV or any BBC recieving equipment at my house. yet since 1992 BBC TV licensing have been contacting me by letter about a TV license one letter every 2 years.

Fairly inoffensive letters asking if I had a TV, I told them I had no TV the letters stopped for 2 years

This went on until 2015

Capita took over

I recieved a letter a NASTY THREATENING LETTER every month,

I told them by phone I had no TV.

I told them by letter I had no TV.

The letters kept coming monthly for three years

I finally had enough and threatened them with court action

They even sent a threatening letter while the court case was being dealt with

The case came to court

The judge found them guilty of harassment and sending threatening letters.

But said he could not enforce this because Capita have a legal right to contact anyone they feel may be using a TV without a license.

So the justice system openly allows harassment and by their actions condones harassment by CAPITA TV licensing .

When the justice system allows a crime to go unpunished, it is time to take the law into your hands.

I tried it the legal way - now its my way

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