Imprisonment for not paying your TV license?

Imprisonment for not paying your TV license?

Continuing to refuse to pay your TV license could have legal implications. Read below. 

TV prison

Millions of South Africans aren't paying their TV licenses for various reasons. Some stream and others argue that they already pay for DStv and don't need SABC channels but it seems that as long as you own a television, you're liable for that annual payment. 

A reader sent their complaint to MyBroadband after he was informed that he had been handed over to the TV License debt collection agency for falling behind on his payments for his TV license. Naturally, the reader was concerned that this could have an impact on his credit record if he got blacklisted by the SABC. 

According to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), the SABC isn't a credit provider thus they cannot blacklist people for not failing to pay their TV licenses as they don't provide credit to consumers. TV licenses are paid for upfront – either on an annual or monthly basis. 

ALSO, READ: OUTA responds to SANRAL's plans to block licence renewals due to unpaid e-tolls

TV licenses are more like a tax than credit thus initial failure to pay your TV licence would have no bearing on your credit score.

The trouble comes when you continuously refuse to pay your TV license while you're in possession of a TV. 

The SABC can obtain a court order or default judgment against you for your outstanding payments and your credit record can be affected. Furthermore, the SABC can issue formal legal proceedings such as issuing you with a court summons. 

If you are found guilty of contravening or failing to comply with the TV license requirements, you could be fined a maximum of R500 and/or imprisonment for a period of 6 months. If you end up with a judgement on your credit record, it could last for about 5 years or until it's paid in full or rescission is granted by the courts. 

Image Credit: iStock

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