Saturday, 15 September 2012

Ethically questionable

In our ever growing video archive at TV Licensing Watch, one of the most frequent deceitful refrains heard from employees of Capita Business Services who visit unlicensed addresses door to door under the BBC TV Licensing™ contract is: “if you have a tv you need a tv licence”.

“if you have a tv you need a tv licence” is a lie. The so-called “television licence” is in fact a “television broadcast receiving licence”. Possession of a “television broadcast receiving licence” permits the watching and or recording of live broadcast television programmes that are scheduled and available in the UK. In legislation, Parliament has made the distinction between television (audio-visual equipment) ownership and using television to watch and or record live broadcast television programmes that are scheduled and available in the UK.

Seemingly, under cover of the BBC TV Licensing™ contract employees of Capita Business Services do not make the distinction that Parliament has made in the relevant legislation. Under the BBC TV Licensing™ contract, Capita Business Services have the injunction to “maximise BBC tv licence revenue”. Which is what they seem to do without scruple. Of course, by doing so, employees of Capita Business Services visiting unlicensed addresses door to door maximise the “uncapped commission” payments they receive for the sale of each BBC tv licence. Consequently, exchanges such as the following take place on a daily basis. The Capita Business Services employee pictured here is responsible for this classic piece of TV Licensing™ door to door deception.

TVL™ Salesperson : “If you haven’t got a tv you don’t need a tv licence”
Householder: “Even if I had a tv I wouldn’t have to purchase a licence”
TVL™ Salesperson: “You do though”

The householder is correct. The BBC themselves have confirmed repeatedly that mere ownership of a television (audio-visual equipment) does not require a television licence. So what is going on? In a word, “mis-selling” seemingly. With their “uncapped commission” payments, employees of Capita Business Services seem to have been given every financial incentive to mis-sell BBC tv licences regardless of the actual need of a householder to actually possess a BBC tv licence.

Mis-selling is defined as:

“The ethically questionable practice of a salesperson misrepresenting or misleading a potential customer about the characteristics of a product or service. In an effort to make a sale to a potential customer, a salesperson could leave out certain information or describe a product as something the potential customer urgently needs, even though sound judgment would indicate an opposite conclusion.”

We at TV Licensing Watch are of the view that selling BBC tv licences to households that have no legislative requirement to possess a tv licence seems as clear a case of mis-selling as any of the numerous mis-selling scandals that have come to prominence in the news media in recent years. Of course, as far as we can make out, as far as the BBC is concerned, mis-selling is something that others do and never happens on behalf of the BBC. Take for example this headline from the BBC News website on 11 September: “UK-based banks accused of massive mis-selling in Italy”. However, the point to note is that if BBC tv licences are being sold door to door on the stated and misleading basis that "if you have a tv you need a tv licence" then it seems to us at TV Licensing Watch that this is not only mis-selling but misrepresentation as well.

The apparent mis-selling of BBC tv licences on behalf of the BBC to households that have no legislative requirement to possess a BBC tv licence seems to be yet another consequence of the BBC TV Licensing™ contract and the way it is being “operated”. Ethically questionable? You decide.

The value of domestic cctv surveillance and handheld video camera can prove invaluable in gathering evidence of the serial abuses and misdemeanours perpetrated by employees of Capita Business Services under cover of the BBC TV Licensing™ contract. TV Licensing Watch advise anybody who has the misfortune to have face to face dealings with Capita Business Services TV Licensing™ to make an audio-visual record of those dealings in their entirety covertly or overtly with cctv and handheld video cameras.

For people who have not exercised their right to remain silent, TV Licensing Watch advise anybody who has had the misfortune to have face to face dealings with Capita Business Services TV Licensing™ and have received a summons as a consequence to contact a licensed law practitioner if: there is the slightest discrepancy between the actual situation regarding viewing habits and/or what actually happened during the interview compared with what has been written on the TVL178 Record of Interview self incrimination form.


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