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How do you cancel your TV licence?

File photo dated 7/12/2012 of a TV License. The cost of the annual television licence fee will increase from �154.50 to �157.50 from April 1, the BBC has said.
People aged over 75 are exempt from paying for the TV license. (PA)

About 82,000 people have cancelled their TV licence over the past five months, according to new figures.

Data revealed by The Times on Monday showed that an average of around 550 people cancelled their TV licence every day in the five months up to May this year.

Streaming services are reportedly responsible for the drop in subscribers, with an estimated 47% of households now signed up to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV or Disney Life, according to regulator Ofcom.

But how do you cancel your TV licence and are you eligible for a refund if you do?

Generic old person watching TV. TV Licensing customers over 75 will remain covered by a free TV licence until 31 May 2020. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 15, 2020. Following the BBC�s policy announcement on the future of the over 75s TV Licence fee, TV Licensing is advising customers currently receiving a free licence that they need not take any immediate action and that they will be supported through the changes when the current arrangement for free over 75 licences paid for by the UK Government comes to an end next year. Further to a public consultation, the BBC has announced that from June next year the BBC will fund a free licence for over 75s in receipt of Pension Credit. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
A TV licence costs £157.50 per year. (PA)

Who is exempt from buying a TV license?

According to the TV licensing guidelines, people are exempt from paying for a TV licence if they no longer watch or record live TV or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

They may also wish to do so if they are moving to a house which already has a fully paid licence.

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In June 2019, BBC bosses announced they would be stopping free licences for the over-75s, but any household where at least one person still receives pension benefit will continue to get the licence for free.

In March this year they pushed the scheme back until 1 August in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move means that from August this year, about 3.7 million pensioners will have to pay to watch BBC programmes.

BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 22: The logo of the streaming provider Netflix is shown on the display of a smartphone on April 22, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
Netflix and other streaming services are reportedly responsible for a drop in demand for TV licences. (PA)

Will I get a refund if I’ve already paid?

Those who cancel their TV licence early having paid for a full year may be eligible for a refund.

Customers who plan on cancelling your licence before it expires, and have at least one complete month left on it, can claim at least some of the money back.

People wishing to claim a refund should fill out this form on the TV licensing website.

If a request is approved, their TV licence will be cancelled automatically – while those whose request is denied will have to apply separately to cancel theirs.

How do I cancel my TV licence?

Customers who paid in full or monthly by direct debit for their licence are asked to contact TV Licensing using the form on its website.

They should provide details of why they want to cancel their subscription and the current address the licence is registered at.

Afterwards, those who pay by direct debit should make sure to cancel the monthly payments with their bank.

Are there are any planned changes to the TV licence?

TV licences currently cost £157.50 per year although there have been calls, particularly during last year’s election, to make the service free.

In December, it was reported that Boris Johnson was looking into consulting on whether people who do not pay the licence fee should be prosecuted.

The prime minister has previously said he is “looking at” abolishing the BBC licence fee, adding that while the Tories were currently “not planning to get rid of all TV licence fees”, the current system “bears reflection”.