An 84-year-old pensioner will receive a formal apology after he was sent a “threatening and intimidating” letter demanding he pay his TV licence fee.
The letter, which was signed by an “enforcement manager” from the TV Licensing Authority in Dundee, claimed an officer would be sent to the man’s house, in the Dales area of the city, to check if he was watching TV illegally.
It was delivered despite the fact the pensioner, who did not wish to be named, had already registered he no longer needed a license.
“You have left us with no alternative but to proceed with the final stages of our investigation,” the letter read.
“An officer has been scheduled to visit your home to find out if TV is being watched, recorded or downloaded illegally.
“The officer may visit your property any day of the week, morning or evening.”
‘We are sorry for the concern caused’
The TV Licensing Authority has now admitted that “human error” led to the letter being sent out and have said they will be contacting the man directly to apologise.
A spokesman said records showed the man had previously held a free over-75s licence, before he contacted the licensing authorities to make a No Licence Needed declaration.
The spokesman added: “Unfortunately the advisor cancelled his licence but did not correctly apply the No Licence Needed declaration to the address, which meant he then received letters which were not intended for him.
“We will be writing to the pensioner directly to offer an apology.
“We are sorry this gentleman received letters that should not have been sent to him and the concern this has caused. This was a human error and our records were not updated correctly. This has now been rectified.”
‘The tone is quite threatening’
After initial concerns the letter was a scam, the man contacted the Dundee Pensioners Forum for support.
Secretary of the group Dorothy McHugh said: “The tone of the enforcement letter is quite threatening.
“Language such as this is worrying and intimidating, especially to older people and we are pleased that TV Licensing is to contact this resident directly with an apology. It’s the least he deserves.”
- The TV Licensing Authority is not sending enforcement letters to older people who previously held a free licence.
If older customers have received a letter that references enforcement it will be because the customer had not previously claimed the free over 75s concession prior to 1 August 2020, so the authority is unaware of their age, or because TV Licensing did not hold the most up to date address for them if they have moved house.