A west Wiltshire resident said he feels ‘harassed’ and ‘hacked off’ after receiving regular warning letters from the TV Licensing Authority despite the fact he doesn’t even own a television.
Tom Pettitt, 45, of Silver Street, in Bradford on Avon, has rceived several letters from the authority over the years but a recent one, which threatens to send enforcement officers round unannounced, proved to be the final straw for the company director.
“The way it is written is terrible,” he said.
“I feel as though I’m getting harassed. This is almost like written harrassment and I’m hacked off with it. If this letter was received by someone more vulnerable or elderly, then it would be quite worrying for them.”
The letter was sent by the Bristol TV Licensing Enforcement Division saying they had authorisation to visit his home and could even interview him under caution in line with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Mr Pettitt, who is the director of Heaven Scent, a candlemaking and incense firm, said: “If I don’t have a TV, I don’t need a licence but all of these letters are insinuating I do have one. It’s hacking me off. I can’t be the only person this happens to.
“I have never had a TV at this address, ever, and I have been here for about five years Angus MacKay, 40, of Holt, who runs a factory in Warminster, has also received similar letters from the authority.
He said: “Many years ago we had an employee that had a TV delivered to the factory and ever since then they have been absolutely convinced we are sat watching TV, but he bought it for domestic use at home.
“It’s wasting time sending anybody out. I find them quite aggressive.”
A spokesman for the TV Licensing Authority said: “We have a duty to enforce the law on behalf of the honest majority who pay the licence fee. Unfortunately, if a licence is required, some people will only buy one when warned of the consequences of being unlicensed.
“That is why some of our mailings contain messages that are designed to deter a possible evader. In fact, when we visit people who tell us they don’t watch TV, over a quarter of those we make contact with do actually require a licence.
“With a database of nearly 30 million addresses, we ask people to co-operate with us when we make inquiries and if a licence is not required, we would encourage them to inform us, allowing us to update our records and minimise future contact.
“With regards to Mr Pettitt, our records show that his address is unlicensed and that we have had no contact from him to let us know his situation. Until he does contact us, he will continue to receive letters from us and may receive a visit from an inquiry officer in due course.”