The BBC urged the ‘heavyweights’ in the TV license battle to back off.
After knocking on the doors of over-75s who have not paid their fee, BBC bosses have been urged to call off TV Licensing “heavys.”
Since last summer, around 260,000 elderly people have refused to pay the £159 charge.
Customer care visits have started, according to the BBC, and will provide support and information.
Silver Voices, a campaign group, has written to director-general Tim Davie to express concerns about the impact on people with dementia and other chronic illnesses.
It raised concerns about mental health issues as licensing officers showed up “unannounced on doorsteps.”
Silver Voices has advised pensioners who are visited by workers from Capita, which runs TV Licensing, to “politely show them the door.”
Dennis Reed, the group’s director, dubbed the outsourcing firm’s teams “uniformed heavies.”
Despite these pleas, at least 20 visits have so far been made.
In some instances, a letter was inserted into the letterbox.
“I came today, and We’re Here to Help,” it reads.
Even though TV Licensing will know that these households had a free license, the group claims there is no mention of enforcement.
“These phantom and token visits reveal the BBC’s lack of confidence in pursuing this large group of obstinate over-75s who are resisting the scrapping of their welfare benefit,” Mr Reed said.
“Rather than squandering public funds, the BBC should accept Silver Voices’ proposal for an enforcement amnesty for all those who previously received a free license, at least until the next general election.”
“This would also relieve the government of the obligation to keep the free license until at least 2022,” says the author.
Those who have not paid received letters last month stating that their license will be “cancelled” and that customer care visits will be made.
They were not enforcement visits, according to a spokesman for the TV Licensing Commission.
“We are assisting a small remaining group in obtaining proper licensing, which includes customer care visits carried out by members of staff who have received special training in supporting older customers,” they said.
Staff are expected to explain the options available to customers based on their circumstances, such as spreading the cost or applying for a free license if they receive Pension Credit.
The rule change impacted 4.2 million people.