A Court Summons
So, today, I got a summons to court, to defend against the charge of watching TV without a license.
For the foreigners among you, a TV license is something in the UK that’s essentially a product of the Dark Ages. It’s a £120 a year mandatory fee, paid by everyone who watches TV. It funds the BBC, because they’re not funded by commercials. That’s pretty much it.
Now, I don’t watch TV. Literally, no TV in this house is even hooked up to an aerial, and can’t receive TV channels. There’s no way of watching TV in the house without connecting X to Y, or whatever. I checked the exact legal wording, and you only need a TV license if you’re able to watch TV programmes live, or concurrent to them being broadcast. I can’t do that, not even on my computer (like iPlayer or other TV sites like that). They’re always shown about a day later. Either way, I checked this – and word for word – I wasn’t breaking the law.
A while ago, we got a visit from an investigator. He sat in his car the whole time, and asked questions. I answered them. I made it clear that if we were ever going to watch TV, we’d get a license. I wasn’t dodging the law. I just didn’t watch TV. No TVs in the house were set up to receive TV – they were all for DVD players and consoles – and I’ve read the legalese for iPlayer. Using that doesn’t make needing a TV license mandatory.
In answering all of this, I assumed that, well, they’d get the idea.
Apparently not. Today, I get a summons to go to court to defend myself, because – according to the form the investigator submitted – I said I was watching TV illegally. Okay…? I didn’t say that, but whatever. It also says “May I come in and inspect the set?” with the answer “No” written after it. That’s another intriguing thing, because he never asked that. Better still, I said twice “You’re more than welcome to come in and check” and he said “No, that’s not necessary.”
I called the TV Licensing Agency this morning, to ask, well, why the fuck I’d been summoned to court. The woman on the other end of the phone informed me that obviously the TV License Agency had to go with the words of their investigators, and that my opportunity to defend myself and set the record straight would be in court. When I said that this made zero sense, that they had no actual evidence, and that I literally hadn’t ever watched TV in this house and that it was actually impossible to do so, she again said that they’d need to go with their investigator’s words over mine.
Understandable. But now, because he lied, I have to go to court.
I asked exactly what would happen if the judge decided he didn’t believe me. And the answer was that I’ll be fined up to £1000, and have to cover the legal fees.
We don’t need one by law (trust me, I’ve checked a million times), and we’ve done nothing illegal. Does that matter? Apparently not.