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1) TVL/BBC employees hide their identity

Although TVL/BBC seeks out the identity of people who are not their customers, they are highly secretive as to their own. The "overdue notice" letter sent to me in February 2006 was from Val Smith of Customer Services:

I assumed Val Smith to be a real person. But while sorting out TVL/BBC corresondence from my days as their customer, I made the following discovery.

Here's a letter from Val Smith in 2002, acknowledging my payment of the licence fee:

Here is the equivalent letter from 2003, again by Val Smith:

And here is Val's 2004 letter:

Let's take a good look at those signatures.

TVL/BBC regards members of the public who withhold their identity as licence fee "evaders". Yet, the above comparison shows that TVL/BBC staff hide their own identities through the creation of fictional persons.

Feb 2007: see TVL/BBC's explanation

2) The BBC's involvement in TV licensing

The false identities used by TVL/BBC staff are part of a much bigger problem. The below scan is from TVL/BBC's 2005 annual review:

The first two lines of the scan say that TV Licensing is a trading name; the Licensing Authority is the BBC itself. The Inland Revenue gives the following explanation of a trading name:

"Many businesses, whether sole traders, partnerships or companies, conduct all, or part of, their business using a trading name. Some may use many such trading names in the course of conducting their business. However, a trading name has no legal status of its own and is simply a “brand name” for the underlying legal entity, individual or company, carrying on the business". (Inland Revenue website:

In other words, TVL is not an actual organisation. It is a trading name, or brand name, for the BBC's licensing and sales operation. The BBC has a contract with Captia to undertake the revenue collection work. Capita acknowledges the relationship between TVL and the BBC on its website, saying that "TV Licensing is the trading name used by the BBC's agents":

"The Broadcasting Act 1990 made the BBC responsible for licence administration and TV Licensing is the trading name used by the BBC’s agents. Capita took over this contract on 1 July 2002 ... Our role is to send out reminders, process queries, applications and payments and maintain an accurate licence database. It also involves looking for people using a TV set without a valid licence". (Captia website, 2006)

TVL's trade name status can be seen in its logo, which includes the letters "TM" in a circle; this means that TVL is a trademark.

The effect of the "TVL" trade name is to create the impression that the BBC is not involved in licence fee activity, and that TV licence enforcement is conducted by a separate, regulatory body.

Even the paper TV licences avoid referring to the BBC by name, saying that the licence is "...issued by TV Licensing on behalf of the Licensing Authority". Decoded, this simply means that the licence is issued by the BBC.

But the fact that the BBC is TVL is confirmed by the BBC itself in responses to questions under the Freedom of Information Act. These are extracts from a response in mid-2005:

So, there we have it; the TVL is the BBC, and the BBC is TVL. This is why this website always refers to "TVL/BBC", since the two are the same.

The reason for this masquerade is that the BBC does not want to be identified with TV licensing activity; otherwise, its letters and materials might look something like this:

Or this (see the actual leaflet at BBC Resistance):

And posters such as this...

TV license

...would be this:

TV licence

So pervasive is the presentation of "TVL" as an organisation that even BBC employees start believing in it. Here is an example of the BBC's own website referring to TVL as the "Licensing Authority", even though it is nothing more than a brand name.

Click on these images for more examples:

Such use by the BBC of a trade name when selling and enforcing licences is highly relevant to the privacy of people who do not need the licence and have no wish to pay the BBC. If any organisation sends out letters, receipients are entitled, at least morally, to know the identity of who is sending that mail, particularly when those letters are unsolicited and persistent.

This entitlement is even more critical when the organisation, not receiving the response it wants, sends agents to the home of the private citizen with the aim of gaining entry. To experience a knock at the door, and then an attempt at entry, by an uninvited visitor is bad enough, but for that visitor to conceal - indeed, misrepresent - the identity of organisation he represents, can only be regarded as abhorrent.

The BBC's perception of its relationship with the public

The BBC's attitude towards people is indicated by the below scan from TVL/BBC's booklet "About TV Licensing". This says that people who do not require a television licence are the BBC's "customers". In other words, TVL/BBC does not accept the concept of a non-customer.

In democratic society, people have the right to choose whether or not to receive the services of an organisation. This right is denied by TV licensing legislation which requires people to pay the BBC before they are allowed to watch other channels.

But this extract goes further; even people who choose not to watch any channels - and thus cut themselves off from the BBC entirely - are still categorised by the BBC as customers. In other words, the BBC denies people the right to exist without it, while at the same time concealing its identity in forcing an unwanted association.