TV Licencing intimidates the bereaved by sending threatening letter to the deceased


A Scottish MP has demanded an apology from TV Licensing for his Perthshire constituent after they issued a threatening letter to a deceased resident. 

SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, John Nicolson, described the letter posted to the deceased as “crass and insensitive.” 

According to The Perthshire Advertiser the deceased’s daughter, who had already informed TV Licensing of her mum’s passing, contacted her MP because she found the letters intimidating and upsetting. The letters addressed to the deceased demanded the £157 fee and threatened a £1000 fine if the deceased failed to “act now.” 

Mr Nicolson responded by demanding an apology from TV Licensing by taking to Twitter: 

“Yet another deeply crass and insensitive letter from @tvlicensing. The addressee is dead. 

“Her daughter says she has informed @tvlicensing. 

“And naturally she finds intimidating letters like this threatening and upsetting. Please contact me and issue an apology to my constituent.” 

TV Licensing apologised for the mistake in a response to Mr Nicolson’s tweet, writing: “We're sorry for any distress caused by this letter this wasn't our intention.”  

It promised to contact the constituent directly to say sorry and said it would also discuss the issue with the MP. 

But Mr Nicolson claimed the organisation made the mistake “all the time” and added when the woman reported her mother’s death to TV Licensing someone at the organisation told her the letters would probably continue. 

A spokesperson for TV Licensing said: “We apologise for the distress this has caused, which happened as a result of human administrative error. We have reminded customer service staff of our procedures for when we are informed that a licence holder has passed away.” 

As an organisation that provides a solution to this issue it saddens us that someone at TV Licensing admitted that the letters would likely continue as there are easy and cost-efficient ways to stop this from happening. Apart from the fact it causes distress to the bereaved and damages the brand, it is also illegal under GDPR and as we recently reported if a woman successfully sues Manchester City Council for sending a letter to her deceased son; it could also end up setting a precedent and costing organisations even more.   

For information on how to ensure you don’t send mail to the deceased contact us now!