About the TV Licence

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions

The terms and conditions of a TV Licence are available on this website.

What is the term of a TV Licence?

A TV Licence is a legal permission to install or use television receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV. The licence fee is not a payment for BBC services (or any other television service), although licence fee revenue is used to fund the BBC.

The requirement to hold a TV Licence and to pay a fee for it is mandated by law under the Communications Act 2003 (“the Act”) and the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended) (“the Regulations”). Under the Act, the BBC as the responsible public authority has the power to determine the terms and conditions of a TV Licence including the duration of a TV Licence. As the TV Licence fee is an annual sum, successive licensing authorities have followed the principle that a Licence should run for 12 months.

An initial Licence (i.e. the first TV Licence a person is issued with) may cover a period of slightly less than 12 months. A person needs a TV Licence from the day they first install or use television receiving equipment - which can be on any day of the month - while the Licence expiry date is fixed i.e. Licences are set to expire on one of 12 end-of-month dates.

This means that an initial TV Licence will expire on the anniversary of the last day of the month preceding the month of issue (e.g. a TV Licence issued on 15 August will expire on 31 July the following year). Any renewal of that Licence is given the same expiry date for the following year (i.e. a full 12 months).

This system is more cost-effective than one whereby a Licence can expire on any day of the year. Given the number of TV Licences in issue (more than 25 million), operating a system with 365 expiry dates would be costly both in terms of administration and enforcement – costs which would be borne by the licence fee payer.

Is an address or person required to be licensed?

A TV Licence is issued in the name of the person paying the fee and covers the use of television receiving equipment at the address/premises specified on the Licence.

The Terms and Conditions of a TV Licence are printed on the Licence. A copy of the Terms and Conditions is available here, and state that: “The licence allows installation and use of TV equipment at the licensed premises by anyone.” So while it is the address/premises that is licensed for using television receiving equipment, the Licence is issued in the name of the person on the Licence.

An “address” is any place which constitutes a “licensable place” for the purposes of the Communications Act 2003 and the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004  (as amended). An address or place with only one postal delivery point may be registered as being two or more licensable premises e.g. a house split into several flats, or a flat which includes a lodger.


Receiving your TV Licence

In addition to receiving my TV Licence electronically, will I also receive other messages (e.g. reminders) from TV Licensing?

When purchasing a TV Licence at www.tvlicensing.co.uk you are required to provide a valid email address. We may then email you other messages regarding your TV Licence including reminders that your licence is about to expire. If you would prefer to receive these messages by post rather than email you can change this via one of the methods set out under 'What if I want to change the way I’m receiving my TV Licence' below.

Why do I need to provide an email address to purchase a TV Licence online?

Providing us with an email address means we can more readily contact you via email with important messages about your account such as reminders that your licence is about to expire.

If I chose to receive my TV Licence electronically, how will it be issued?

On receipt of payment of the applicable licence fee (or in the case of customers who pay in instalments, the applicable issue fee), your TV Licence will be sent to your nominated email address, which must be valid for you to receive the emails we send you.

What if I don’t receive my licence and/or reminder after choosing to receive them electronically?

TV Licensing will make every effort to ensure you receive your licence and reminder after you choose to receive them electronically. We cannot guarantee that the electronic delivery of your TV Licence, instalment payment plan (if applicable) and your first reminder will be uninterrupted or error free, or that the server that makes them available are virus free. You can log into your TV Licence online at any time to confirm you are correctly licensed and to print a paper copy of your licence and payment plan (if applicable).

What if my email address doesn’t work for some reason?

It is your responsibility to inform TV Licensing of any changes to your email address. You can change your email address online or by contacting TV Licensing by phone or email.

If you do not inform TV Licensing of any changes and consequently do not receive an email reminder that your next TV Licence is due, you will remain fully responsible and liable to pay the licence fee and to ensure that you are properly licensed and may still be prosecuted if you are found to be using a TV receiver to receive television programmes without a TV Licence.

What if I want to change the way I’m receiving my TV Licence and/or other emailed messages from TV Licensing?

There are a number of ways you make changes to your account:

  • Unsubscribe via the TV Licensing website - You can change your account email by logging into your TV Licence online and following the instructions.
  • Unsubscribe via phone or post - You can change your account email options by contacting us either by post at TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL, or by phoning us on 0300 790 6165*. A textphone facility for the deaf or hard of hearing is available on 0300 790 6050*.
  • Unsubscribe via the secure link contained in the emails - You can change your account email options by following the instructions included within some emails. Please note that a minority of emails (e.g. your TV Licence and emails confirming changes made via the TV Licensing website) will not contain these unsubscribe instructions.

You can unsubscribe from email contact at any point. However, if you do so less than a month before your current TV Licence expires the changes may not come into effect in time to receive a renewal reminder by post so you may still receive your reminder by email. This is because it takes up to four weeks to change your preferences from email to postal communications.

Do I need a physical copy of my TV Licence?

It is not a requirement to retain a physical copy of your licence. However, TV Licensing recommends that you access your licence online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk and print off a copy for your records.

What is TV Licensing’s liability in relation to electronic communications?

Under no circumstances will TV Licensing be liable for any of the following losses or damage (whether such losses were foreseen, foreseeable, known or otherwise):

  • loss of data
  • loss of revenue or anticipated profits;
  • loss of business;
  • loss of opportunity;
  • loss of goodwill or injury to reputation;
  • losses suffered by third parties; or
  • any indirect, consequential, special or exemplary damages arising from your purchase of your TV Licence online and the delivery and receipt of your TV Licence, instalment payment plan (if applicable) and your first reminder electronically regardless of the form of action.

Paying for your TV Licence

Where can I pay cash for my TV Licence on some payment schemes?

You can pay for your TV Licence in cash or by debit card at any PayPoint. There are approximately 26,800 PayPoints across the UK. They can be found in newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and garages.

For information on the locations and opening hours of PayPoints please check the PayPoint website.

If you have a query about disabled access to a PayPoint please phone TV Licensing on 0300 790 6165*.

Why do you require the TV Licence fee to be paid for in advance?

A TV Licence is a legal permission to install or use television receiving equipment (TV, computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or any other) to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV, regardless of how they are received (terrestrial, satellite, cable, via the internet or any other way).

Unlike utility and other consumer bills, which are usually paid for in arrears, the TV Licence fee is a fixed fee to permit installation or use of television receiving equipment to receive television programme services, and is charged annually in advance.

Therefore in most cases the licence fee is paid in advance by Monthly Direct Debit or under a Cash Payment Plan. However, payment in arrears is possible by Quarterly Direct Debit; this incurs a £5 premium as set out in the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended).

The schemes available for paying the licence fee by instalment are the following:

Monthly Direct Debit

The Monthly Direct Debit Scheme enables individuals to pay by monthly direct debit for their current TV Licence in six monthly instalments, and in the seventh month start to pay in advance towards their next licence in 12 monthly instalments. They then continue paying for future licences in this way.

Cash Payment Plan

This scheme is the same as the Monthly Direct Debit Scheme in that individuals pay for their current TV Licence in payments over six months, and in the seventh month start to pay in advance towards their next licence.

Quarterly Direct Debit

Individuals can pay the licence fee in arrears under the Quarterly Direct Debit Scheme. This payment method comes with a £5 annual premium (or £1.25 per quarter) because the licence fee is paid in arrears. The £5 premium is prescribed by Parliament under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended). Persons are advised of the premium whenever they choose this payment option, and it is outlined in the payment plan accompanying each new licence.

Savings Cards

Individuals can choose to save towards the cost of their next TV Licence using savings cards (previously called Saving Stamps).

Do you earn interest on advance payments?

Funds from advance payments made under the Monthly Direct Debit Scheme and Cash Payment Plan are surrendered each month to the Consolidated Fund administered by HM Treasury. This money is held in an interest-neutral way.

Why is there a £5 surcharge for paying the TV Licence fee by quarterly direct debit?

Unlike utility and other consumer bills, which are usually paid for in arrears, the TV Licence fee is a fixed fee to permit the installation or use of television receiving equipment to receive television programme services, and is charged annually in advance.

Because the licence fee is paid in arrears under the Quarterly Direct Debit Scheme, this payment method comes with a £5 annual premium (£1.25 per quarter). The £5 premium is prescribed by Parliament under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended). People are advised of the premium whenever they choose this payment option, and it is outlined in the payment plan accompanying each new licence. If people would prefer not to pay this, then there are other payment options, including annual and monthly direct debit.

What happens if you inadvertently overcharge for a Licence fee?

When TV Licensing becomes aware that an overcharging error has occurred, they will act to rectify the situation and arrange a refund as soon as possible.

*Calls to our 0300 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number, whether from a mobile or landline. If you get inclusive minutes with your mobile, calls to an 0300 number will be included.

 

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Latest press releases

TV Licensing: Check your details online to make sure your licence isn’t at the wrong address
Wed Sept 19 2017
When the cost of the Licence Fee was fixed at £145.50 in 2011, TV Licensing wrote to Direct Debit customers letting them know their licence would be automatically renewed and they would not receive any contact from TV Licensing as long as they kept up their payments.
TV Licensing launch radio trails aimed at students
Fri Aug 29 2017
TV Licensing has launched new radio trails on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, BBC Radio 2 and the Asian Network). The trails are part of a campaign encouraging students to make sure they are covered by a TV Licence in their student accommodation if they plan to watch or record live TV or watch or download BBC programmes on iPlayer.
Students going mobile as they leave TV sets behind
Tue Aug 15 2017
A change to the law last September means students are now more likely to need a TV Licence to watch on mobile devices. A TV Licence is needed for watching and recording live television, and since September, watching or downloading BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies to laptops, mobiles or any other equipment.
 
 

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