Crucial change to TV Licence refunds means a lot more students can now reclaim cash
New changes to TV Licensing's refund policy are likely to put money back in the pockets of a lot of students. Are you due some cash back?
Credit: Romana Klee
Whilst everyone’s banging on about the increase in TV Licence fees this week (it went up from £145.50 to £147/year, in case you're wondering), it turns out there are much more interesting changes happening to licensing policy that no one is talking about yet.
And these are changes that students could definitely do with knowing about.
As part of a BBC whitepaper last year, TV Licensing made a promise to make their refund policies more simple, fairer and easier to understand.
Whilst we're not so sure about the easy bit (decoding the T&Cs on the TV Licensing website is still as baffling as it's ever been), we’ve pulled out some changes that could see many students receiving refunds on licences that they paid for but don't actually need.
What do I need to know?
After speaking with TV Licensing, we can confirm that as of April 1 2017, there are two major changes in their refund policies…
Two major changes every student needs to know
- You can now claim for a monthly refund for any unused months on your licence when you move out (previously only 3 month blocks were permitted)
- You can now cancel your TV Licence and apply for a refund if you’ve realised you’re actually covered by the student iplayer loophole!
Let's break these two points down for a bit of clarification:
Point one – monthly refunds
Until now, students have only been able to claim for a refund on the final few months of their TV Licence if they were leaving their student digs more than three months before the licence expired.
However, TV licensing have now changed this to a monthly refund policy – this means students are able to ask for a refund on any remaining months on a TV licence, provided there’s more than one complete month left on their licence. You’ll be looking at a refund of around £12 for each month you claim for.
Point two – iplayer loophole cancellation
You may remember back in September, it was announced that any household that watches BBC iPlayer would now also need a licence to do so.
Save the Student then reported about a small but crucial detail that invalidated the need for a TV licence for most students who only watch iPlayer and other catchup TV on a portable device. Not all students qualified for this, however – find out if you do need to be paying for a TV licence.
We were inundated with messages from angry students who had already shelled out for a licence without realising they didn't technically need one.
However, a change to TV licensing refund policy now means that if you do find yourself in this situation, you can now cancel your licence and apply for a refund on any months you've already paid as well as any remaining months on the licence.
That is, if you qualify to be counted on your parents' licence (find out if you fit the bill)!
Claiming your refund
If you pay for your licence by Direct Debit, contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 6071 and tell them your situation. If you qualify, they will cancel the DD on your behalf and send you a refund application so that you're repaid any months you didn't use (if you pay quarterly and paid your last instalment recently, for example).
If you paid for your licence with one up front payment, simply fill out the refund application form. If you're claiming for a refund because you're leaving your student house before the licence year is up, you'll need to provide proof you're leaving too.
If you have any doubts about whether you need a TV licence, check out TV Licensing's student page, or call the number above.