Veteran RAF pensioner wrongly harassed for months over TV licence

An 89-year-old RAF veteran has hit out after being “harassed” and threatened with legal action over claims that he does not have a TV licence – despite having paperwork to prove otherwise.

John Luck, from Nuthall, moved into his new property in December 2020 and purchased his licence at the end of November to ensure it was covered.

However, the pensioner began receiving letters from TV Licencing at the beginning of 2021 threatening him with fines of up to £1,000 if he did not pay his ‘debts’ immediately.

The pensioner, who is “virtually housebound”, attempted to contact the organisation on several occasions to prove that he has all the paperwork, but was forced to endure an almost seven-month battle with a “barrage” of threatening letters.

Speaking with Nottinghamshire Live, he says the ordeal has made him lose sleep at night from worrying, stating that he has “never owed a penny to anyone” throughout his almost nine-decade life.

“Being 89 I had been having a free licence, but then they messed it all up and now I’ve got to pay for it,” he explained.

“I moved here in December 2020 and as soon as I realised I needed a licence here I got one at the end of November.

“I started getting letters from them in January and tried to phone them up, at first I thought it was an administrative error and the information hadn’t caught up yet.”

After ignoring a couple of letters at the beginning, the pensioner began receiving more contact from the organisation as the months went on.

(Image: Marie Wilson/Nottingham Post)

Letters in March and April warned of a £1,000 fine and legal action if he did not purchase a licence despite Mr Luck having had one for more than four months by this point.

More letters came in May and June, before he was told that officers had been authorised to visit his home and that an investigation had been launched.

The veteran says he continued to attempt to contact TV Licencing to stress that he had “all the paperwork to prove it”, asking why he was being threatened.

He says the whole situation is making his “final years unbearable”, worrying that people are looking at him in a negative way for something he had not done.

“I emailed them asking why I’m getting threatened, stressing that it’s all legal and stressing that I’ve got all of the paperwork,” he said.

“This should all be in the systems and they should know about this, I licenced the property from November and it has made me feel so bad.

“I’m under the hospital, I’ve managed to reach 89 and I’ve still got my brains, I’m looking forward to my 90th birthday and I’m an ex RAF veteran for 20-odd years.

John Luck pictured with the enforcement letters he received from TV Licencing.
John Luck pictured with the enforcement letters he received from TV Licencing.
(Image: Marie Wilson/Nottingham Post)

“I’m virtually housebound, not in the best of health and this harassment is making my remaining years unbearable.

“I’m not used to all this rubbish that they’re doing to me, I can’t sleep at night because I keep waking up worrying.

“I’ve never owed a penny to anybody. I’ve kept all of the mail and the letters, everything I’ve got is in writing.

“I could understand it if it was a couple of months, but this has been going on for six or seven months.

“I don’t get out that much and I feel people are looking at me because I’m a debtor, I know it sounds stupid but this has never happened before.”

After Mr Luck contacted Nottinghamshire Live, we spoke to TV Licencing for a comment on his case.

In its response, the organisation admitted that the situation was down to an “administrative error”.

A spokesperson said TV Licencing has written to the pensioner apologising for his “poor experience” and offered a ‘goodwill payment’.

They told Nottinghamshire Live: “We are sorry for the distress caused to Mr Luck.

“An administrative error meant that the licence he purchased was attributed to his previous address, which triggered unlicensed mailings he should not have received.

“This issue has now been resolved and we have written to apologise.

“In light of his poor experience, we have arranged for a goodwill payment to be sent to Mr Luck.”


Nottinghamshire Live – Local News