Sex, kids, sunlight, pets and more: TV Licensing has revealed the most extraordinary reasons people give for not paying for their TV licence. All are from the 256,000 people the agency says it caught watching TV without a licence so far in 2011.
You’re wondering about the sex one. It went: “Since I had a bit of a fling with the postman, I haven’t been receiving my mail so I didn’t get my TV licence reminder.”
Weddings came up, too, with: “I’m getting married and am too busy picking flowers, colours and things to buy a TV licence.”
Sex and weddings tend to lead to children, so TV Licensing also heard: “I never got the reminders because my two-year-old hides all my post in her toy box.” Plus: “I went to the PayPoint to pay for my licence, but I had to leave before I could pay as my kids were stealing sweets and I had to get them out fast.”
The best of the dog-ate-my-homework school of excuses was: “My payment card fell in the toaster so I had to iron it and now the PayPoint machine won’t accept it.”
Two more came from people with a firm grip on their finances: “I can’t afford a licence now as the repayments on my brand-new car are cleaning me out” and, with undeniable logic, “I would have to sell my TV to pay for a licence so I can’t do that.” Not to encourage this sort of thing, but you can watch the BBC iPlayer without a licence: it’s explicitly live TV you can’t.
Some tried to bluff it out by insisting they didn’t need a TV licence: “I already pay for my electricity bill,” said one. “No one watches TV apart from the parakeet,” said another.
But easily the best of the ones like getting a sick note from your mum was this: “I cannot go out to buy a licence because I am allergic to the sun.”
A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “Some evaders are very inventive. But watching or recording live TV without a licence is against the law. In fairness to the honest majority of people who pay the fee, we will prosecute those who try to avoid it.”