Britons may be able to apply for a TV licence refund worth up to £159

David Dimbleby says that TV licence system is ‘very unfair’

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With living costs spiralling, Britons have been searching for ways to reduce bills. From energy-saving tips to cancelling subscriptions, another outgoing to look into is the TV licence. While it might feel commonplace to renew it every year, there are certain circumstances which might mean people don’t need one – and this can entitle them to a refund.

All households must have a TV licence if they want to watch or record TV programmes live as they’re broadcast.

This includes all programmes on any channel, from soaps and series to movies.

The same rules apply to programmes broadcast live through online streaming services on a PC, laptop, tablet or phone, rather than a TV. While catch-up TV isn’t included, people do need one if they plan to watch any show on BBC iPlayer.

However, those who find themselves only watching catch-up TV (not on BBC iPlayer) and streaming services such as Disney+ and Netflix, might find they don’t need one.

There are also certain groups eligible to pay a smaller concession rate – or nothing at all – which would also entitle them to a refund.

A full TV licence currently costs £159, making for a sizeable return for those who can claim it back.

How to request a TV licence refund

Britons can request a TV licence refund if they won’t need their licence again before it expires, and they have at least one complete month left on it.

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The main circumstances in which refunds are typically considered include:

  • TV receiving equipment no longer being in use
  • The address already being covered by another licence
  • The TV licence being bought in error
  • A replacement TV licence being bought, such as moving from a black and white TV licence to a colour licence
  • Blind concession refunds
  • Refunds in consequence of an over 75 TV licence application
  • The death of the licence holder.

According to the TV Licensing website, the limit Britons have to apply for the refund is up to 14 days before the date they no longer need the TV licence.

If the licence has already expired, they can still apply for a refund if less than two years have passed since the expiry date.

People will have to fill out a short application in which they may be asked to provide evidence proving they won’t need the licence.

After submission, TV Licensing will confirm whether they’ll be able to provide a refund, before working out the precise amount to be refunded. Refunds are typically calculated in complete months.

A statement on the TV Licensing website reads: “We aim to process and issue refunds within 21 days of receiving your application. Any refund due to you will be paid to you by either a cheque or by BACS transfer directly into your bank account.”

Britons can find out when their licence expires by signing into their account with their licence number, name on the licence, and postcode.

However, those who have been found to be ineligible for a refund can still cancel their licence online if they don’t feel they need it anymore.

How to cancel a TV licence

If a person is sure they’ll no longer need a TV licence, they can formally let TV Licensing know by filling out the refund and cancellation request form.

TV Licensing may then pay a visit to check if the household is right to have cancelled – it says these inspections find one in five households do end up needing one.

If a licence is needed, the household will have to pay the full licence fee and may risk prosecution plus the fine.

The fine varies depending on location and can see people in the UK mainland hit with a maximum fine of £1,000, while those in Guernsey and Jersey could face fines of up to £2000 and £500 respectively.

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