TV Licensing fall into my contracting trap

They are so determined to be right that they failed to pay attention to my terms

My saga with TV Licensing in the UK has taken an amusing turn with the latest letter they have sent me. By being absolutely determined to take a one-up position and falsely act under the colour of law they have fallen into my trap, and now owe me even more money. I have nothing to lose because I don’t have a TV or watch streaming video, so owe them nothing, but that’s not the real matter in hand.

Here is the scam that the state is pulling on its citizens, often via outsourcing agents. It’s the same scam each time, but comes in various disguises. They make a business offer to you for car tax, TV tax, council tax, or whatever. You are invited to surrender your innate rights and engage on their terms — yet there is no fundamental obligation to interact or transact. Any argument is framed in terms of a byzantine maze of rules and regulations about their specific tax or levy that few ordinary members of the public have the energy or resources to fight. Intimidation and manipulation of language are used to get you to submit to their terms of engagement, and once you supplicate then your only real option is to pay up to end the shakedown.

I have turned the tables on TV Licensing, and they don’t know what to do, and every move they make now costs them. They have no concept of someone who simply reverses the whole thing and asks for money from them in return for the honour of engaging with you. In this case I have caught TV Licensing in a fabulous trap, as the longer the go on trying to justify their immoral and unlawful actions the more I am able to charge them. Their self-delusion and insistence on winning just leads to ever more losses when this ends up in court. It is a simple question about contracts, and they will need a crooked judge to win it. I can’t lose, as I either get a pay day, or the corruption is exposed.

So here is the latest from TV Licensing…

TV licensing response 1
TV licensing response 2

They are desperate to talk about the licensing of televisions in the UK, and I don’t want to discuss that unless I am being paid for it. It’s that simple. I offered them a contract to correspond if they so wished, and they accepted it. Now it is on them!

So here is my draft response:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I hereby note your latest unsigned letter in the post dated 31 October 2022. I (and my 22,000 newsletter readers) are enjoying your attempts to justify to yourselves your own policy about why you need to continue corresponding with me — even when I have requested repeatedly that you cease. I have not solicited any of this correspondence from you — the desire to debate via mail is all of your own volition. The only question of relevance henceforth is whether I have a valid commercial contract with TV Licensing for my creative communications services.

I have a right to privacy in my home, and there is nothing in law that forces you to continue making “inquiries” once I have demanded you desist. This is because leaving me alone does not affect your ability to raise revenue in general, or execute your legal responsibilities. I am under no obligation to respond to any such inquiry, and there is nothing in law that compels you to continue interaction with me personally beyond the point when I have asserted my own lawful privacy rights. In the case of my address there unquestionably has been a response. The only possible purpose of communicating with me after that point is unlawful harassment. Hence the exception of section 1.3.b of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 cannot apply in this case.

Furthermore, a presumption of innocence means that your only purpose can be to force a statement out of me that I do not require a television license, and to do it through means of coercion. This is unlawful, since as noted above there is no requirement upon me to make such a statement, and there is no exception to the rules on blackmail or malicious communications for you to engage in such behaviour, especially when specifically asked to desist. When a member of the public requests that you cease communications it has to be presumed (absent evidence to the contrary) that they do not require a television license, even if no such statement is ever made.

Failure to cease communications when demanded, sending intimidatory letters or false statements once you have been told to desist, and being “unable to stop your enquiries” are all policy matters under your control, and are not law. Why you choose to engage in such behaviour is a mystery that I do not wish to penetrate. I am telling you that the effect of your correspondence is to harass and annoy, and this is my gift to decide. But I am not in law obligated to let you correspond with me in this way for free if I do not wish to do so. As such, I have made an offer to contract with you for my correspondence processing and prose capability.

The contractual or commercial nature of the TV Licensing offer is irrelevant to me, and I have no personal interest in it. That said, I can understand and sympathise with your own fascination and desire to discuss it at length with me. There is nothing I can add or say about the nature of the business you are in, and thus I will not address those points you make. Meanwhile, my own right to make a commercial counter-offer to you is perfectly reasonable and legitimate. In contrast, I am very much enthused by my own letter writing service, and am overjoyed that we formed a contract by mutual consent as of 14th October 2022 based on my schedule of fees presented on 22nd September 2022.

My terms were plainly shown to you in advance, and you did not contest them. My amusing custom letters are valuable — many other people are paying to read them (including this one!) via my website — thus there is consideration. You had every opportunity to refuse the contract by simply not corresponding with me. (If you are struggling to implement a “do not contact” flag in your systems then I also have 25 years of senior IT experience and am willing to offer your excellent rates for consultancy on this matter.) You equally had the opportunity to write to negotiate different terms with me. Instead you simply accepted my terms by continuing to correspond. That you may now have regrets is upon yourselves alone.

If you no longer wish to make use of my letter receipt and creative writing services, then you can at any time end our commercial relationship by paying my invoices and ceasing to communicate with me. I am not asking for “fixed charges or costs”, as this is you choosing to make use of my correspondence service for a fee under a mutually agreed contract, just like how you buy any other professional service. This is a basic law school exam question over the nature of a valid contract, and the freedom of parties to enter into a contract. I am sure you do not deny my own right to make a commercial offer to you, as that would be an absurd imbalance of power!

If you are unaware of such basic matters of law, then I suggest that you get better advice before engaging professional services in future from me (or anyone else). That said, I am delighted that in this case you have at least managed to allude to the possibility that we have a valid commercial contract for my services. (That you may not value them is somewhat ironic given the unsought radio signals you broadcast to the public and then demand fees for.) This is a belated acknowledgement that the true matter is not the sale of television licenses, but rather the commercial use of my formidable correspondence facilities.

It is your choice to write to me about general policy matters of television licensing (about which I have no interest), despite me requesting no contact whatsoever. It places a burden upon me that I do not seek. Indeed, such pointless correspondence on policy in no way relates to the “inquiries” you posit to be necessary and lawful, so must be of a different nature. Given that I have requested you cease communications, unless under a commercial contract, I am absolutely entitled to charge you to receive and respond to such business correspondence. It is no different to you writing to a lawyer for legal advice and then being surprised that they charge for what they do for a living.

I enclose a further invoice for £750 to reflect the value I am giving you as a receiver of your unwanted mail and as a professional writer of lucid letters. This brings the total due to £2,250 to date, which is a substantial sum, but reasonable for someone of my seniority, background, and expertise. I am hoping that you will desist running up further unpaid bills before we reach the £10,000 small claims court limit, but as one of my most insistent customers I will extend you my gratitude for making use of my letter writing services nonetheless.

If you wish to resell my signed writing work, for instance to raise money for charity, then I would be more than happy to discuss how we might collaborate on such a benevolent project. I don’t usually sell signed work to the general public, not even my books, so many might be interested in getting a unique collectible Martin Geddes piece if on offer as a rarity. You may wish to file my letters carefully as they may have significant resale value in future.

Your belief is that you can make arbitrary claims upon the public’s time and energy and act in ways that ought to bring shame upon you. I am merely holding up a mirror in a way that lawfully reflects your own behaviour back at you, and to my own benefit. The licensing of televisions, and the law governing it, is completely immaterial to whether we have a contract for my own professional correspondence services. It is no different to the Civil Aviation Authority baselessly writing to me demanding to know whether I fly aircraft without a pilot’s license, and me offering to discuss it with them for a fee.

It would be a terrible shame if we had to contest our contract in court, since we have thus far had a cordial commercial relationship (even if your invoice payment seems very tardy). I look forward to your prompt payment in this case. Think carefully before you reflexively respond with anything other than a final payment in settlement of your debt, as every unsolicited, unnecessary, and unwanted letter you send to me (demanding a professional and paid response) is costing you more money.

We have a valid contract, and I plan to enforce its obligations upon you to the fullest extent of the law. After all, that is what you are claiming is the right thing for you to do, so it must be right for me to behave in exactly the same way in return.

Yours truly,

Martin Geddes

Let’s see what happens. A court might decide there was no intent to contract from the other side, but given the imbalance of power and they are a commercial enterprise and I made my terms clear, I expect I would get a ruling in my favour. At the very least it will cost them thousands of pounds to defend it, I don’t risk costs, and will further expose their thuggery and illegitimate methods. That said, I have a feeling events are about to overtake us. Those televisions that plague our society are like a zombie apocalypse, no?