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Part 4 of the Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to use or install TV receiving equipment to:
The Act empowers the BBC to make and amend the terms and conditions of a licence. It allows the government to make regulations to exempt or reduce the licence fee for certain persons in certain circumstances. It also makes it an offence for anyone to have any TV receiving equipment in their possession or under their control who intends to use or install it in contravention of the main offence (above), or knows, or has reasonable grounds for believing, that another person intends to install or use a TV receiving equipment in contravention of the main offence.
The Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 define what is a 'television set.' The regulations also set out the various types of TV Licence, the criteria for obtaining them, the fees payable for them (including the frequency and amount of instalments) and the different concessions available, including concessions for people who are blind (severely sight impaired), people who are over 74 years of age, people who live in residential care and people who run hotels, guesthouses or campsites.
We have a policy for determining the circumstances in which we will cancel a TV Licence. A TV Licence lasts for as long as specified on the licence unless it has previously been cancelled by or on behalf of the licensing authority (the BBC) in accordance with section 364(4) of the Communications Act. We will only cancel a licence in the following circumstances:
1. Breach of licence terms
If there has been a breach of the terms and conditions of the TV Licence, including a failure to pay any money due, with respect to the licence, under the Communications Act and the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 within the regulatory time scales, and provided the licence holder has been given a reasonable opportunity to pay and is reasonably aware of the consequences of non-payment.
2. Error or fraud
If an over 75 TV Licence has been issued to a person who is not aged 75 or over, and/or for an address which is not that person's sole or main residence.
3. Change of circumstances
If the licence holder informs us that the licence is not required (whether by way of a justified refund claim or otherwise) or will not be required as from a future date, and we are satisfied that the claim is justified.
N.B. We will not cancel an over 75 TV Licence when we are informed that the licence holder has died. The licence will remain in force until it has expired.
If the customer wishes to move to a different payment scheme we sometimes need to cancel the current licence and issue a new one.
TV Licences will normally be cancelled by notice in writing and in accordance with the requirements of the Communications Act 2003, sections 364(5)(8) and (9), clearly stating the date of cancellation. We will send a letter of impending cancellation, which will be followed by a letter of cancellation unless the matter has been resolved. We may also cancel licences by publishing a general notice on the BBC's website and, if deemed appropriate by the BBC, in other national communications. We will only cancel a licence from a date which takes account of any money that has been paid in respect of the licence, rounding up to the nearest month of expiry if necessary (and, in the case of a licence for which a blind concession fee has been paid, rounding up pro rata).
Section 365(3) of the Communications Act 2003 gives the BBC a discretionary power to refund payments made in respect of a licence under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004. When deciding whether or not to make a refund, we will take into consideration any earlier claim by the claimant in respect of which there is reason to suspect that the refund was obtained as a result of false information, including a signed declaration by the claimant which has proved to be false.
These are the main circumstances in which refunds are considered:
Refunds are normally calculated in complete months.
Refunds can be given where the licence holder ceases to use TV receiving equipment at their address. The licence holder should not watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer at the address. If the licence has not yet expired, it must not be needed again before its expiry date.
Refunds can be given where the licence holder moves to a different address where they will be covered by someone else's licence (e.g. parents' or partner's address).
Refunds can be given in respect of licences which are bought as a result of an error by the customer, usually because the licence holder does not require the type of licence they have bought. For example, if they have bought a licence when there is already one in place at the address. In these circumstances, the customer can normally claim up to two years' worth of refund. If the licence was bought in error as a result of advice given by TV Licensing, the customer can claim up to six years' worth of refund.
Refunds can be given where the licence holder no longer requires a licence because it has been replaced by a different type of TV Licence. For example, the licence holder moves to an address which is covered by an ARC concessionary TV Licence for persons who meet the relevant criteria.
A claim can be made if a licence holder:
In this category, refunds can be given with respect to complete unused months. If there is a delay in establishing eligibility for the replacement licence, the customer can claim up to two years' worth of refund. If the licence was bought in error as a result of advice given by the Licensing Authority or its agent, the customer can claim up to six years' worth of refund.
A refund of up to half the licence fee (depending on whether the licence is a full fee or instalment licence) can be given if a licence holder has a blind certificate issued by a local authority or ophthalmologist, but failed to claim the reduction for the blind concession when his/her current licence was bought.
To qualify for the blind concession, the customer must supply a photocopy of one of the following pieces of evidence:
A person who has properly claimed a blind concession may also claim a refund of 50% of the fees paid on an expired TV Licence, backdated to 1 April 2000 or the first of the month in which he or she became blind (severely sight impaired), whichever is the later. The claimant must provide the licence and a photocopy of one piece of evidence (as detailed above). The usual rule that refunds must be paid to the licence holder only does not apply in this case. If the licence covers or covered the place where the blind or severely sight impaired person resides or resided throughout the relevant time, then a refund will be payable to the licence holder even if this is not the blind or severely sight impaired person (subject to satisfactory proof).
Refunds of complete months on a current licence will be payable automatically when an over 75 TV Licence is issued, backdated to the beginning of the licence or the first of the month of the 75th birthday, whichever is the later. However, no refund is payable on an over 75 TV Licence.
If the refund claim is due to the death of the licence holder, a refund may be claimed for any complete months left on the licence (as long as certain conditions are met) and may be paid to the estate of the licence holder.
TV Licence savings stamps have been removed from circulation and replaced with a TV Licensing savings card. For more information, please call 0300 790 6165*.
For more information about our refund policy in general, please write to:
The Refund Group
PO Box 410
Poor television reception
Your TV Licence does not guarantee the quality of picture you receive.
*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.