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To watch iPlayer without a licence

(23 Posts)
newtolondon5567 Mon 25-May-20 11:25:44

Hi all,

I recently moved to the UK, and had to watch a few news programmes for work on iPlayer as a once off. I don't have a TV, and can't afford the licence fee (under rent stress and really struggling to afford essentials).

I feel really guilty about this, and am really stressed I'm going to be fined.

I guess my AIBU is AIBU to hope no-one notices. Are they able to cross check your iPlayer email address with current valid licences? And if you get caught, do they give you the option to buy a licence or do you get fined straight away (how much is the fine? I know the max is 1000 pounds).

OP’s posts: |
SoupDragon Mon 25-May-20 11:26:26

Would you go into a shop and just take something without paying?

Lougle Mon 25-May-20 11:27:58

You can easily choose not to do it? You're feeling guilty because you need a license to watch IPlayer. TV isn't essential, so there's no excuse.

terrelontane Mon 25-May-20 11:30:50

You will get away with it. That doesn't make it right though.

CoRhona Mon 25-May-20 11:33:01

Can you ask your work to cover the fee? I mean, it's highly unlikely but if you're struggling that much it's worth asking, surely.

LizzieMacQueen Mon 25-May-20 11:33:12

You can pay monthly if you cannot afford to pay the annual fee in one go.

LizzieMacQueen Mon 25-May-20 11:34:01

If you can't afford it then yes, you should not be using it.

TheQueef Mon 25-May-20 11:34:25

Watch it at someone else's place.
Who has one.

zscaler Mon 25-May-20 11:37:14

If you get caught you will be fined, rather than given the option to buy a licence.

This article talks a bit about how they detect people - there isn’t much detail for obvious reasons, but it shows some of the options:

You don’t need a licence to watch TV as long as it’s not BBC - you might want to consider getting Netflix instead. Or you can pay for the tv licence in monthly instalments if that makes the cost more manageable.

newtolondon5567 Mon 25-May-20 11:39:07

@lizziemacqueen I honestly unfortunately can't afford to pay monthly. I've budgeted down to the last dollar for water and electric and am living off beans. My plan when I moved in Jan was to get a better paying job quickly but obviously now no-one in my industry is hiring

OP’s posts: |
Aroundtheworldin80moves Mon 25-May-20 11:41:51

Putting aside the morality issue f not paying... Our experience with not having a license.

Sept- move to UK. DH thinks he buys license (he fell for a third party scam website- he's usually very careful!)
Oct- first letter, i says ignore if you've recently bought a license
Nove- second and third letters, reminding about fines. Again, says ignore if you've recently bought a license
December- a letter telling us we will be visited by enforcement officers on a certain date. DH takes that one seriously and rings them, discovers he's been had. Buys a real license... Which is then valid for a year from that date. Manages to get a refund.

So our experience is that you will get a lot of chances before it gets to the fine stage.

That's not saying you shouldn't get a license. That's your decision.

newtolondon5567 Mon 25-May-20 11:41:57

@thequeef We're in the middle of a pandemic...I can't just go to a friend's house to watch something for work. Even if it was possible, I've just moved to the UK so don't have that kind of network

OP’s posts: |
NannyR Mon 25-May-20 11:43:48

You can read the news on the BBC website without needing a license.

newtolondon5567 Mon 25-May-20 11:46:11

Thank you so much.

I guess I'm worried they'll have a digital record of what I've watched and will be able to definitely prove I didn't have a licence at that point

OP’s posts: |
roarfeckingroar Mon 25-May-20 11:47:23


newtolondon5567 Mon 25-May-20 11:47:59

@nannyr It was quite niche interviews I had to watch and transcribe quickly - it wasn't interviews with members of the government

OP’s posts: |
x2boys Mon 25-May-20 11:56:10

You won't get fined ,what will happen is that you will get a lot of increasingly threatening letters where they ask you to consider wether you need a licence , often these letters will say someone will come round to check wether you need a licence ( this obviously can't happen at the moment ) but even if someone does come round you are under no obligation to talk to them or let them in your house despite what they may tell you .

Panda368 Mon 25-May-20 12:03:17

You will just get a repeating cycle of threatening letters saying an enforcement officer is coming etc we just automatically bin these and the cycle eventually resets itself.

We dont use BBC but also haven't bothered to tell them we definitely dont need a licence. Apparently officers occasionally go round and knock to check but it's never happened to me and you dont need to let them in or speak to them.

newtolondon5567 Mon 25-May-20 12:07:00

Thanks all. When I moved in, I notified them I didn't have a TV and didn't need a licence. I'm worried about them cross checking my iPlayer email address with the licence database though

OP’s posts: |
Hingeandbracket Mon 25-May-20 12:14:48

I'm worried about them cross checking my iPlayer email address with the licence database though
I wouldn't worry about that. Crapita can't even administer the existing database properly.
The BBC (or Crapita) realistically have zero way of checking.
The sad reality is all of the people who are convicted either confess willingly or are tricked into confessing.
I say this as someone who pays because I can afford it, but who thinks the system is a total joke and the BBC needs a major kick up the arse.

Hingeandbracket Mon 25-May-20 12:18:13

You don’t need a licence to watch TV as long as it’s not BBC - you might want to consider getting Netflix instead
On a point of pedantry, that's not strictly true - you need a licence to watch or record any content transmitted "live" i.e. being broadcast in real time and/or to use player. In other words if I want to watch whatever is on channel4 right now, I still need a licence even if I never watch BBC.

Also you only need a licence to actually do things - not (as many an urban myth states) for simply owning a TV.

PlanDeRaccordement Mon 25-May-20 12:23:21

Since you are doing it for work, your employer should pay for the licence. If you are self-employed, add a few pounds to your fee to cover the licence as a cost of your business.

Housewife2010 Mon 25-May-20 12:23:35

I think the sooner that you have to input your licence number to access iPlayer the better.

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