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 …

  1. Stevie Silver badge

    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.

    1. BillG Silver badge
      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]

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        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!"

  2. TRT Silver badge

    Capita.

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

    1. Anonymous IV
      Joke

      Re: Capita.

      Dead Wringers!

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Capita.

      Even worse

      the words

      "Capita has fallen short..."

      SOP for them really.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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...

  3. Lee D Silver badge

    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.

    1. ZSn

      maths

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

      1. genghis_uk
        Facepalm

        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

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    2. MisterD

      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.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

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

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Steven Jones

          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...

        2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          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.

      3. John Savard Silver badge

        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.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          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.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          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.

        3. Andalou

          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.

      4. Pomgolian
        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.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @ 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.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          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.

      5. Professor Clifton Shallot

        > 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.

      6. Alan Brown Silver badge

        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.

      7. uncommon_sense
        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!

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          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.

        2. badgeringman

          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

      2. Diogenes

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

        1. MrDamage

          > "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?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

          2. uncommon_sense

            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...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            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)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            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.

            1. Kiwi
              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.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                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.

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            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.

          4. badgeringman

            Re: Let the advertisers pay?

            If you hate adverts -record the program and watch it later and edit the adverts out.

            thats what I do on my mothers TV -it means she can watch stuff in the day.

            shes 86 now and falls asleep while watching programs at night

        3. Andy 97

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

          oh, you're being a troll..

        4. Professor Clifton Shallot

          "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.

        5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
          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.

        6. uncommon_sense

          "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..

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            @ 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.

        7. badgeringman

          Either that or make them provide a black box for each TV like SKY AND VIRGIN

      3. tiggity Silver badge

        ..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.

        1. 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.

      4. uncommon_sense

        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.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "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?

  4. Oh Homer Silver badge
    Flame

    "High standards"?

    Since when has Crapita ever had high standards, much less its protection racket goons?

    The bastards have been chasing me for years, despite me telling their goons on several occasions that I do not watch TV ... I don't even own one. They're not interested. They just keep sending me (or rather "The Legal Occupier") those fake "final demand" letters, that have supposedly been "final" for over a decade and counting, which are worded "This is what you might need in court if you are breaking the law".

    This is like Aldi (which I've never actually shopped in) sending me a legal threat to the effect of "We have no idea who you are or if you've ever been into our shop. All we know is we don't actually have any record of anyone at your address ever paying us, and that annoys us greatly. In theory, if you do actually owe us any money then this is what you might need to do in court if we prosecute you. To avoid any further vacuous threats like this, please send us your dosh".

    I'm not sure what's worse, the harassment I've endured at the hands of these goons, or the fact that this blatant protection racket is legal - in fact fully endorsed and promoted by the government.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: "High standards"?

      I got rid of my TV and license about 3 years ago after informing them via their website that I no longer needed it. They've never contacted me since. I don't have an aerial on my house because I used to watch via my Virgin Media cable. I cancelled the Virgin Media TV service of course.

      I'm wondering what the logical (if I can use that word here) difference is between us.

      1. Oh Homer Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: "the logical difference between us"

        Logic and Crapita do not dwell in the same house.

        Read the original report on how Crapita targetted a church, despite being repeatedly informed that it was a church and had no TVs.

        Such stories are very common, in fact there's an entire movement (possibly several) devoted to exposing this racket and supporting its victims, where you will find many examples.

        Here's just a few, some from my own personal experience, some from people I know personally, and some that I've just read about:

        First (and you will see this from the investigation's video evidence) any contact you have with TVL (a.k.a. Crapita) will be used against you, so cooperation is not in your best interest. Even though they repeatedly assure you that all you have to do is tell them you don't watch TV, and the problem will go away, it's a blatant lie. Any response other than "Yes I watch TV, now please take my money" is regarded as a "sob story" and simply ignored.

        These people operate like canvasers working toward a "bite", and every bit of information you give them merely contributes to that bite. Telling them that you don't watch TV isn't seen as a termination of the pitch, it's merely an opportunity to further engage the lead by challenging their claim, or simply ignoring it and trying again on another day. And they absolutely will try again, forever, until you give up and pay. Responding to either their written threats or their doorstep goons is absolutely the worst thing you can do. Don't even give them your name, much less confirm or deny their speculative claims.

        Make no mistake these are ruthless bastards, worse than debt collectors. Stories abound of them fabricating evidence, such as tuning in previously untuned sets only used for gaming and videos, after you made the mistake of letting them in to "check" that you don't watch TV, then prosecuting you for watching the TV they just tuned in for 10 seconds.

        One of the goons once hammered on my door so loudly that I thought I was being robbed by junkies. But then I thought maybe it was a neighbour trying to warn me that my house was on fire, or the police informing me that a family member had been in an accident, so I answered the door. The first thing he did was demand I tell him my name. I had to remind him that the onus of introduction is usually on the person doing the knocking, or in his case violent banging. I made the mistake of arguing with him, but refused to answer his question. Even so he still wouldn't budge until I threatened to call the police and slammed the door in his face.

        TVL goons are not averse to a spot of B&E either, with or without a warrant. (It's worth noting at this point that TVL is the only private company in the UK that has the power to obtain either a Search Order or Search Warrant. Imagine if Tesco or Halfords or any other private company was legally permitted to force entry to your home, just to establish whether or not you might have ever been a customer.)

        I've known people who were prosecuted for assaulting intruders (whereas in America you can do this legally) thinking they were being robbed, but it turned out to be a TVL goon who just walked in through an "unlocked" door. Strangely the TVL goons themselves never get prosecuted for B&E, however.

        I could go on for several pages. The TVL literally operates like a protection racket.

        If this didn't happen to you, then you are part of a very fortunate minority. TVL has sales targets and other KPIs. It's extremely unusual for them to simply give up on any of their unconverted leads. I have to assume it was simply a mistake, and that unfortunately for you they will eventually get around to "correcting" that mistake.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "the logical difference between us"

          I'm in favour of a concept where defence of yourself and your home against assailants and intruders should be absolutely unlimited, without even gross proportionality.

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: "the logical difference between us"

          @Oh Homer

          Logic and Crapita do not dwell in the same house.

          CrapLogic

    2. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

      Re: "High standards"?

      I used to send all TV licensing letters back marked "not known at this address", even the ones sent to "The Occupier".

      (Same with council tax and various other annoyances).

    3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: "High standards"?

      Since when has Crapita ever had high standards, much less its protection racket goons?

      At one time, I had an empty house on my hands - and yes, I got the letters which basically said "you are a criminal, you'd better pay up quickly".

      I wrote and complained that the letters didn't have the legally required company information (like name/address !) - only to be told that since TVL operates for the BBC, and the BBC operates under Royal Charter, they are exempt from that !

      I wrote and told them that the house was empty, and got a letter back which effectively said "we still think you're a criminal but we'll hold off harassing you for a bit". I was rather hoping to get another threatening letter so I could then go and report it as a crime under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - one letter alone isn't harassment, but two or more is according to the definitions in the act.

      Given that their first letter is deliberately threatening, I can believe any story about their goons being heavy handed.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Scum

    This ^^^

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never use iPlayer

    I torrent all my programs just like every normal internet user.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: I never use iPlayer

      I am a normal internet user ad I don't torrent, because if we all expect to get things fro free, things I like will stop. The BBC actually needs the money. What news do you prefer watching? Who do you trust?

      1. Oh Homer Silver badge

        Re: "The BBC actually needs the money"

        So do I, but you don't see me imposing a "license" on everyone regardless of whether or not they use my services.

        The BBC needs to make up its mind as to whether it's a business or a charity. If it's a business then it should be funded entirely through a paywall and/or advertising, a la Sky. If it's a charity then it should be funded by purely voluntary donations.

        If you want to be one of those voluntary donors then more power to you. I don't. The BBC is not a "public service", it's a state-protected racket than funnels a form of tax into the private sector. Propping up private enterprises, with involuntary taxation on my meagre earnings, is not something that I consider my civic duty.

        Maybe if the BBC didn't waste its "license" tax on paying obscene half-a-million salaries to its worthless suits, it wouldn't "need" to steal my money.

      2. uncommon_sense

        Re: I never use iPlayer

        " Who do you trust?"

        None of them!

        The quality and independence expected from a public broadcaster is simply not the BBC that exists today, therefore the reason it should be publicly funded is also moot..

  7. Ledswinger Silver badge

    The BBC actually needs the money.

    Of course they do. To pay for all that "talent".

    What news do you prefer watching?

    After the BBC were neutered by Blair in response to the Iraq war whistle blowing, not them.

    Who do you trust?

    See above. When did the BBC last do any high grade investigative or political journalism?

    1. Andy 97

      Is The Telegraph message board closed again today?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was hassled a few years ago when I was selling an empty property. I wrote the following to TV Licensing:

    "I refer to your letters of DATE and DATE relating to the Property. I am the owner of the Property but not in occupation of it. I have repeatedly told you the Property does not have TV receiving equipment in it. I have not ignored your letters. You have ignored my submissions to your (presumably useless) website. The Property is empty pending being sold. There are a few pieces of furniture but no TV receiving equipment in it.

    You have drawn to my attention what will happen if I am asked to appear in court. I now draw your attention to what will happen if you choose to proceed with court action:

    • Under penalty of perjury, you will make no statement that you have any reason to believe there is a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder in the Property;

    • If you make any such statement, I will draw this correspondence to the court’s attention and invite the court to inspect the Property;

    • In the light of this letter, you cannot hold an honest belief there is TV receiving equipment in the Property. Absent an honest belief, you will be committing an offence by seeking to obtain money from me. I will report the matter to the police and ask that they investigate whether you should be prosecuted under s2 of the Fraud Act 2006 (Fraud by false representation) and/or under s3 (Fraud by failing to disclose information). I will ask the court to consider if you are perverting or attempting to pervert the course of justice.

    • I will seek to recover my legal costs in dealing with the matter.

    If you proceed with any court action against me, you must:

    • inform the court you have absolutely no information whatever, not a jot or tittle, not a scintilla, not a smidgen, not a gnat’s piss of evidence that TV receiving equipment is being used in the Property;

    • tell the court that you have ignored my informing you that there is no TV receiving equipment in the Property;

    • prepare to spend time at Her Majesty’s pleasure for giving false evidence.

    As pointed out above the Property is unoccupied. It is not inspected every day and so correspondence is not always seen by me in time. If, notwithstanding this letter, you take court action and obtain a judgment against me by omitting the truth or by making false representations, you will cause irreparable damage to my professional reputation. I will not hesitate to sue for substantial damages.

    How to avoid perverting the course of justice

    • take notice of this correspondence;

    • stop ignoring my communications with you;

    • withdraw your threat of court action;

    • do not adduce any false evidence to the court relating to the use of TV receiving equipment at the Property;

    • stop harassing me. "

    The harassment stopped and I received an apology.

    1. creepy gecko
      Pint

      "I was hassled a few years ago when I was selling an empty property. I wrote the following to TV Licensing:......."

      Brilliant! Have an upvote and a beer!

    2. Oh Homer Silver badge

      Re: "I wrote the following"

      10/10 for effort, but I'm surprised they even bothered responding. From what I've seen of TVL's criminal mentality, I would assume they'd just laugh off angry letters and carry on regardless, no matter how well the law was articulated, unless the letter in question bore a royal seal in the letterhead.

  9. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The few programs worth watching in the US of A

    ...come from BBC.

    If you want to see what happens when TV is ad-supported, come on over and take a look (IF King Cheeto I will let you in, of course). It's not pretty. $350 sounds like a pretty good deal, it's about what I donated to PBS every year, when I watched TV, which I no longer do, because the program material is almost exclusively advertising or "reality" (read stupid gits trying to buy something and watching them try to make a decision for a half hour) shows.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: The few programs worth watching in the US of A

      Yay, a voice of reason in amongst the unthinking. Shame I can only give you one upvote.

      Your advice should be, for all those who wish for the BBC to become "just another commercial TV company" should go and look at how it's worked out in the USA. It's clear from watching some of the imports from there just how much of a program is as breaks. for some of them, I'd be watching in puzzlement as the narrator sets off on another "coming up ..." bit quickly followed by another "and here's where we got to ..." - then it dawned on me that these were the before and after segues for a commercial break that we didn't have.

      Even people who never ever watch any BBC content gain from it being like it is. Without anything to hold up standards*, then "less crap than the rest" starts to look good. But if there's a few properly good things around, then mediocre shows up for the rubbish it is. Thus us having the BBC as it is benefits not just ourselves, but others around the world.

      * yes, I know, they've fallen a bit at times, and there's a lot of rating driven dross - but they still make a lot of really good stuff.

    2. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: The few programs worth watching in the US of A

      I'm not opposed to public funding of public services, including public service broadcasting, but that isn't what the BBC is, and the fact that it sells commercial material to the US only further demonstrates that fact. Most of its programmes are not even produced by the BBC, they're made by third-parties in the private sector, for profit, even if the BBC itself doesn't make any profit (or so it claims). Its board of quangos certainly make a profit, though, to the tune of up to half a million each.

      The quality of "BBC" (actually BBC third-party) programmes may be subjectively "better" than other more obviously commercial offerings (although the third parties who actually produce all the content for the BBC are very much commercial), but personally I don't really believe that stealing my money, then syphoning off this "license" tax to outsourced entertainment companies against my will, genuinely represents "a pretty good deal". Maybe it does compared to the mindless tripe on US television, but actually the more honestly commercial stuff we get in the UK is at least as good as anything on the BBC, especially ITV drama.

      Ultimately what it boils down to is this: In a socially responsible society it's only right and proper that no one should be allowed to starve, or die of neglect, or suffer untreated illness, and that public provision should be made to prevent those social injustices, but it is not somehow my social responsibility to ensure that you get to watch EastEnders. That should purely be a matter of consumer choice, where each individual gets to choose to pay for their own entertainment, not other people's, and moreover they should get to choose which specific entertainment they want to pay for, and reject that which they don't.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The few programs worth watching in the US of A

        "public service broadcasting, but that isn't what the BBC is, and the fact that it sells commercial material to the US"

        BBC Worldwide is a net contributor to the BBC coffers and part of the reason "only" 75% of BBC funding is generated by the licence fee.

        On a similar note, many of the smaller for-profit TV companies being contracted to make shows for the BBC were spun out of the BBC in the first place to try to make the BBC less of a behemoth.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The few programs worth watching in the US of A

      "If you want to see what happens when TV is ad-supported, come on over and take a look "

      Yes, I would strongly recommend anyone wishing the BBC to go "commercial" to try streaming a couple of hours of live US TV. There are plenty of "gray" website out there which will hook you up to CBS/ABC/NBS/whatever.

      Don't assume that what you see here in the UK is an "American" channel just because it's CNN, Fox News, Discovery etc because those channels have to abide by the UK and EU rules on broadcasting, advertising and product placement. Watching an actual US broadcast of CNN or Discovery is a very, very different experience.

      Without the BBC there would be far, far more pressure from the commercial channels, especially the US owned ones with deep pockets, to allow even more advertising.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: The few programs worth watching in the US of A

        I would strongly recommend anyone wishing the BBC to go "commercial" to try streaming a couple of hours of live US TV.
        You're a cruel bastard :-)

  10. John Savard Silver badge

    Amazed

    I am continually amazed that the British people have not stood up, and refused to vote for any party unless it made abolishing the telly tax an element of its platform. Either the BBC can be supported through progressive income tax, or it can support itself with commercials like the other channels.

    Or the BBC can be scrambled, so that people can be charged a fee to watch the BBC, but would not need to pay a fee if they only watch other television services. That, too, would be compatible with a free market.

    1. Alt C

      Re: Amazed

      Er no - having seen what happens to standards in a 'free market' advertising pays for everything on a trip to America a few years back, the BBC must be doing something good to keep some resemblance of standards within UK TV.

      America's crumbling power infrastructure, poor broadband options et al are all indicators that an unregulated 'free market' does not produce the best results for us proles.

      1. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

        Re: Amazed

        Really? I watch stuff from HBO, AMC, Netflix and several other "free market" producers who are paid for fully by their subscribers. And they shit from a great height over the products coming out of the modern era BBC.

        1. Alt C

          Re: Amazed

          Total up all those subscriptions and compare and contrast the price for the BBC license fee.

          I can't speak for HBO or AMC as to how much they show being original programs (never having subscribed to them) but netflix has 90 million(?) subscribers worldwide and produces enough original content to fill a week (maybe two) each year if you're lucky - the BBC has access to 27.1 million families according to the ONS (assuming every UK family paid) and they run 2.5 TV channels, a number of radio channels and local broadcasts - if they had access to netflix revenue streams and the need not to provide telly every day I suspect their quality might go up too.

          Tip: try comparing apples with apples.

          The BBC certainly isn't perfect but its much better than lots of the foreign TV I've seen.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Amazed

            The BBC certainly isn't perfect but its much better than lots of the foreign TV I've seen.
            Concur. I don't watch a great amount of TV, but it seems ~90% of what I do watch originates from the Beeb. The remainder is local (foreign) such as Rake

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Amazed

          I watch stuff from HBO, AMC, Netflix and several other "free market" producers who are paid for fully by their subscribers. And they shit from a great height over the products coming out of the modern era BBC.
          Shows like Luther, The Fall, Broadchurch, The Paradise... Strange, I could have sworn these were all made by the Beeb...

          1. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

            Re: Amazed

            "Shows like Luther, The Fall, Broadchurch, The Paradise... Strange, I could have sworn these were all made by the Beeb..."

            Never heard of any of them. Never had a friend rant about them. Don't think I'm missing out on anything. My number of hours of TV per month these days is a binary number anyway.

            Never watched "I'm a celebrity, get me out of it" either since we're talking about quality British TV.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Amazed

              Never heard of any of them.
              Er... they were the shows that accounted for a substantial proportion of what I considered worth watching during the brief period I subscribed to Netflix. Since they were all available free-to-air on the ABC I really couldn't justify the cost. As for movies, we have a great selection at the local library (free) and movies I want to watch frequently are usually available 2nd hand on Fleabay for $AU5.

              Never watched "I'm a celebrity, get me out of it" either since I'm sure I'd be bored shitless.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Amazed

              "My number of hours of TV per month these days is a binary number anyway."

              1011010000

            3. zaax

              Re: Amazed

              Westworld; Lucifer; Star trek; Stargate to name just three

            4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Amazed

              Never watched "I'm a celebrity, get me out of it"

              I'd like to break it to you gently but I can't. That's an ITV show.. ITV != BBC

              My number of hours of TV per month these days is a binary number anyway.

              So you are completely unfit to join in the discussion? The door is over there --->

              (And you are aware that all numbers possible[1] can be stored in binary? So what you effectively said is "I watch somewhere between 1 and infinity-1 hours of TV per month..")

              [1] Infinity is.. 'special'. And the other numbers don't want to play with it because it makes them feel small.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Amazed

          "Really? I watch stuff from HBO, AMC, Netflix and several other "free market" producers who are paid for fully by their subscribers. "

          Not really. Most of what they show is bought in "second hand". The likes of Netflix and Amazon have only recently started to commission original programming or buy in "first view" rights. Until very recently, the best they had to offer was a cream of the second-hand market. Their only USP was having entire series available on-demand and that was all they had. And even then, episode or series sometime disappear without warning.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Amazed

      That, too, would be compatible with a free market.

      Ahh.. the Free Market. That mythical Unicorn that is going to solve all the problems of the world, feed the hungry, heal the sick and make sure that everyone lives a fulfilled and happy life..

      New Flash: It doesn't exist. And hasn't ever existed. And probably won't - like pure democracy. It's a fever-dream, dreamed up by some people who refuse to look at the world as it is and solve the problems in the *current* context but instead insist on some mythical superposition that will solve all ills. A bit like Communism (except there have been very small-scale instances where communism has actually worked - albeit for a brief time).

      So, in short, "compatible with a free market" is shorthand for "lets change everything to match my expectation of how the world should be before messy reality intrudes". It's a bug, not a feature.

      1. uncommon_sense
        FAIL

        The History of The Failure Of The World.

        Communism, Capitalism, National Socialism, Globalism, Feminism etc. are all IDEOLOGIES!

        They could all individually work perfectly well in an Evolved World, populated with Highly Evolved Rational Beings.

        Unfortunately, on this planet all they got to work with is Homo (marginally)Sapiens, and so they all fail!

        -------------

        Communism fails, because humans are much better at Enjoying than they are at Working.

        Capitalism fails because humans do not compete fairly and squarely.

        National Socialism will most likely also fail, because humans are a lot better at Freedom than they are at Responsibility.

        Globalism fails because humans in their current lowly evolved form are not as similar as they think, and because one size really does not fit all.

        Feminism fails for the same reason as Machismo, just opposite, because it is an Extreme, and fails to maintain a balance between the wants and needs of the sexes and their mental differences.

        ---------

        The Middle is where we all could have a good life, if only we could get there and stay there..

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish I could pay a license fee and get my BBC legally. The Beeb is a treasure and should be treated as such. Everyone complaining about the license fee should be forced to watch a steady diet of "free" American television for a year's time, preferably while being subjected to the Ludovico Technique.

    1. Kiwi
      Thumb Up

      @AC

      Everyone complaining about the license fee should be forced to watch a steady diet of "free" American television for a year's time

      A year? Seriosuly? You're that cruel?

      I'd reckon one ep of the Carcrashians or whatever it's called, just about any of those reality shows where half a dozen people repeat the same phrase over and over ([Narrator] "John was upset when he hit his finger" [cut to John] "I was a bit upset when I hit my finger" [cut to another person on the show] "I think hitting his finger made John feel a bit upset" (repeat ad infinitum for the next 20 minutes, repeating the sequence after every ad break in case the salad audience has forgotten that they've been told 30 times already that John was upset when he hit his finger) - and of that would have an urgent call through to a suicide hotline. Well, for normal folks anyway.. Them yanks seem to be something else...

      (Yes, there's some good shows, but for every hour of "Decent" there's a thousand hours that'd make reading youtube comments look like a good source of intelligent conversation!)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just the BBC

    It would be lovely to see the back of the licence fee, however as long as a proportion of it goes to lining GCHQs pockets I can't see it happening any time soon.

    1. Andy 97

      Re: Not just the BBC

      Do you have any proof of this?

      I know World Service is paid for (or used to be) by a grant from The Foreign Office, but GCHQ? I think you're mistaken.

  13. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    The Peter Principle of customer experience in effect!

    The BBC, which is mostly paternalistic, but is occasionally thoughtless outsources to Capita, which is mostly thoughtless, but occasionally avaricious. And then Capita hires the detection Stasi, who are on a comp plan that drives behavior that is mostly avaricious and occasionally ruthless!

    The only part missing is where Capita's license Stasi can deputize homeowners to report their friends/neighbors/family members in return for a cut of the resulting bonus that the license enforcer receives.

  14. Timbo

    When the UK adopted digital TV, (and everyone had to ditch or adapt their CRT's) is the point at which the manufacturers of TV receiving devices (set top boxes, flatscreens, VCR's etc) should have ensured their products could take subscriber cards*...and then the BBC could have easily encrypted their service and the licence fee method of collecting monies, could have been axed, along with all the extra cost of employing 330 people to doorstep you.

    And then it would be a case of: No subscription, no reception.

    Likewise, existing Sky subscribers could have paid a little extra to receive BBC services.

    Common sense clearly isn't something any of the big wigs in Govt or at the BBC had back then or have any more.

    * With a discount for any extra subscriber cards for people with more than one TV in the house.

    1. Tachikoma

      They did that by design, if they didn't make it so you have to receive the BBC on top of all the other channels, they wouldn't get as much money.

      I saw a poll (probably here on the Reg) that about 28% of the population would gladly drop the BBC if it meant no licence fee.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "I saw a poll (probably here on the Reg) that about 28% of the population would gladly drop the BBC if it meant no licence fee."

        Based on the earlier comments of "free market television", how long would it take for a later poll to show how many people regretted the BBC subscription model or commercialisation?

        I saw a poll the other day that stated that 20% of people who voted yes to Brexit now regret it. Sometimes you have to think carefully before voting for what you think you want because when you get it, it might not be quite what you expected. I strongly doubt the BBC as we know it would survive if the licence fee was removed and I strongly suspect many nay-sayers would regret it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have you heard of Canel+?

      If the BBC went encrypted and moved to Smartcards on subscription what's the betting that Uncle Rupe would pay some ex-IDF bods to hack the encryption and post it on the web thereby killing the Beeb's revenue scheme.

      It's not like he hasn't got form for it.....

  15. Number6

    Try watching Dr Who on BBC America and compare the experience to watching it on the BBC in the UK. The flow of the story is completely disrupted by ad breaks every few minutes, way more than you'll find on ITV and other UK commercial channels. A typical Dr Who is 45-50 minutes long, that's stretched to fill an hour slot on US TV, with the filler material consisting of adverts.

    I'd be willing to pay to receive access to the BBC programming in the US to avoid all those adverts, but I guess that would cut into their US revenue stream as viewers (and then advertisers) deserted their US channels in droves. I don't watch much TV - Dr Who and occasionally a film if I want to play at couch potato, and that's it for a year.

    However, I did spend several years in the UK without a TV (and didn't miss it) and was most unimpressed by the behaviour of the TV licence goons. No end of threatening letters that implied in large fonts that I was a criminal who would be prosecuted, with the "if you don't have a TV you don't need a licence" in very small print at the bottom. One letter looked pretty much like a final demand, in red and suggesting I pay within seven days or else. So I waited the seven days in an attempt to discover what the 'or else' was and sadly nothing happened. Fortunately for them they never sent an inspector round when I was at home - unsurprisingly I was never at home when they did knock on the door so only knew of their presence by the note pushed through the letterbox. I never, ever responded to any of their letters apart from the first one addressed to the previous occupants, which I returned as "moved away, return to sender", much as I wanted to tell them where to shove said bits of paper and I think that annoys them even more than someone contacting them to say "no TV here".

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "A typical Dr Who is 45-50 minutes long, that's stretched to fill an hour slot on US TV, with the filler material consisting of adverts."

      What? Only 10-15mins of ads in a whole hour? I bet there's chunks of the show cut out to make room for a few more ads.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        I bet there's chunks of the show cut out to make room for a few more ads.
        Actually, they just speed up the show "a bit". It's quite noticeable if there's music and you have perfect pitch.

        1. Kiwi

          I bet there's chunks of the show cut out to make room for a few more ads.

          Actually, they just speed up the show "a bit". It's quite noticeable if there's music and you have perfect pitch.

          I remember when Babylon 5 was on TV over here. Hmm.. 45mins/ep as from the studio, 1hr time slot, 20 mins worth of ads (give or take). They do other things as well, like the big blocks of screenspace for "upcoming" shows, sometimes up to 1/4 of the screen, often for more than 1/4 of the total program time (sure it goes away 5 minutes after the last ad break, but then it's only a minute or two till the next one!). And there's the habit I've seen of top 2/3 the last few scenes from the show, the right-hand 1/3 of the bottom being a tiny window with the credits (unreadable even on a 42" screen), and the remaining stuff about upcoming shows - maybe with a voice-over while the actors in the actual show still have lines to finish.

          TV3 is now even worse, I'd say the credits are maybe 1/8th of the screen space, the rest devoted to advertising. And they wonder why people would rather pirate or go to places like Netflix?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much?

    "Capita is paid £58m a year by the BBC"

    "its 330 enforcement officers"

    That works out to £175,757.58 per collector per year, or am I in the same league as Mr "5*30 = 1500" above?

  17. BongoJoe Silver badge

    I rang them back saying that I was unable to receive a TV signal except only from The Republic of Ireland.

    I asked whether I needed a licence or not and of course they couldn't give me an answer. It wouldn't have made a difference anyway as I don't watch television. But it's always fun to appear willing and unable so that one falls out of the little boxes they put you in.

  18. Les Matthew

    Best joke ever

    “not reflect the high standards we expect.”

    This is Capita.

  19. andy gibson

    Am I one of the lucky ones?

    I decided to give up on TV when I moved and my new place had no TV aerial.

    I filled in the form saying I didn't watch TV, they popped round, they were polite, I was polite. They went away and I've heard nothing since, over a year on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I one of the lucky ones?

      > I filled in the form saying I didn't watch TV, they popped round, they were polite, I was polite.

      I wonder if there is any other country in the world where the authorities will send someone around an individual's house to, politely or not, ascertain whether the individual watches television.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Am I one of the lucky ones?

      "They went away and I've heard nothing since, over a year on."

      IIRC they never say they won't contact you again. IIRC they do state somewhere that informing them that you have no TV will only stop the letters for two years or three or something like that.

  20. adam payne Silver badge

    "Capita has fallen short of the standards the BBC has a right to expect on behalf of the British public"

    When does Capita ever meet the standards required and expected by any of their clients?

  21. VanguardG

    Consider the quality of the product...

    I don't know about the programming in the UK, but in the US, the overall programming is actually so bad that the people broadcasting the drivel should be paying the viewer to watch it. Since you lot have to pay to watch it, I hope the real BBC is better than the knock-off BBC America we get here....which has so many ads the old re-run TV shows that form most of the programming have been cut to make room for even more ads than the original shows had when they were actually running for the first time 'round. Used to be one got 48 minutes of actual show in the 1 hour time slot...give it another decade or so and shows will have 1 hour time slots but only a half hour of actual show - and we'll have ads for other ads. "Have you seen the new ad for Acme Vehicle Insurance? No? Well, don't worry, because it will be airing just after this short interruption by the show you actually tuned in here to watch."

  22. Andalou

    W.r.t. foreign programmes from more ad-supported networks the biggest annoyance is those infernal shows with forty-five second recaps every five or seven minutes. It is crazily annoying watching them edited ad-free on Netflix.

  23. Kiwi

    W.r.t. foreign programmes from more ad-supported networks the biggest annoyance is those infernal shows with forty-five second recaps every five or seven minutes. It is crazily annoying watching them edited ad-free on Netflix.

    FTFY

  24. Sam Skittle

    Crapita delenda est!

    I had the very great misfortune to be working in an architectural design office which was taken over by that group of ‘government favourites’ spivs who are collectively known as Capita. Any staff member who objected to this takeover was immediately sacked!

    That design office, whose particular skill set and professional expertise had been built up over many years, is now no more, since the greedy asset-stripping dysfunctional firestorm that is Capita took what they wanted and then sacked all their ‘acquired’ professional staff using entirely false accusations of professional “incompetence” and other such evil manipulations in order to facilitate the divestment of their incidentally acquired ‘carbon units’ (aka as ‘human beings’). And when they had exhausted their sadistic pleasures upon these professional staffers whom they had ‘acquired’ as part of their lucrative take-over deal, they shut that formerly flourishing architectural design office down!

    "Crapita delenda est!" I say. No ifs, absolutely no buts!

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