Blame it on the bizarre!

TV Licensing has today revealed the most implausible excuses gathered over the last 12 months for not having a TV Licence - and it’s been a top year for tall tales. Family members and the animal kingdom are among those that make an appearance in this year’s list, as heard by TV Licensing’s enquiry officers. From the sublime to the ridiculous, licence dodgers from all across the UK have been particularly inventive in their attempt to avoid paying their TV Licence.

Some of the more bizarre excuses given by licence fee evaders this year included:

  • Feathered friends: “A pigeon fell down the chimney and broke the aerial so I have bad reception”
  • Family members: “My 11-year-old son must have bought the TV during the night. It wasn't there when I went to bed”
  • Fairly far-fetched: "My payment card's been stuck in the washing machine so I can't pay"

While shifting the blame on to family and pets was a firm favourite, enquiry officers faced a raft of far more inventive tales, with one person even trying to blame their dreams stating “I've not bought a licence as I dreamt I didn’t have to and the saying is you've to follow your dreams”.

Despite the innovative excuses given by licence fee evaders, over the first 8 months of 2009, TV Licensing caught over 280,000 people across the UK watching TV without a licence.

Jon Shaw, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

“No matter how creative these excuses, people watching TV without a licence are breaking the law, and therefore risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. We do recognise that some people may be struggling to pay, and if this is the case, we would urge them to contact us so that we can help by setting them up on one of our payment plans.

Whilst we do have a successful track record in catching people evading the fee, we would always rather that someone pay for their licence than risk a fine. You can contact TV Licensing twenty-four hours a day at www.tvlicensing.co.uk or by calling 0844 800 6732.”

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For further information/excuses, please contact the TV Licensing Press Office on 020 7544 3144.

Notes to Editors:

Top ten

  1. “A pigeon fell down the chimney and broke the aerial so I have bad reception”
  2. “My 11-year-old son must have bought the TV during the night. It wasn't there when I went to bed”
  3. "My payment card's been stuck in the washing machine so I can't pay"
  4. “I've not paid due to my shop only accepting £5 and £10 notes and I haven't got any of those”
  5. “I've not been making payments as a baby magpie flew into my house and I had to stay in and feed it until it was ok”
  6. “I only use the TV to keep the horses company and one of them is blind so I should only pay half if I have to pay at all”
  7. “I can’t get the TV out of the box – can you help me?”
  8. “My dog that watches it when I'm at work to keep him company - not me”
  9. “My mum told me to tell you she’s not in”
  10. “I've not bought a licence as I dreamt I didn’t have to and the saying is you've to follow your dreams”

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