A Wearside pensioner in poor health was left stunned when she was threatened with legal action by TV licencing chiefs - for just 2p.
Housebound Iris Jameson couldn’t believe her eyes when she got a letter from TV Licensing threatening her - in large red letters - with possible prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 if she didn’t cough up the pennies by January 31.
Widow Iris, who is 75 next month, was left shocked and her daughter, Lesley Cromack, has hit out at those responsible for the “disgusting” letter which caused her mother so much upset.
TV Licensing bosses have apologised and said the letter was generated automatically by a computer.
Lesley, 52, said her mum, who lives in North Bank Court, in Southwick, was widowed just ten months ago and it was her husband, Kenneth, who used to deal with the bills.
She explained: “My dad sorted the television license out and, because he was 78 he was entitled to a free one. My mam didn’t realise this and just phoned up and had the licence changed into her name, not thinking any more about it.
“Because she was under 75, she had to pay £60 in instalments with the last payment being £4.62. Only £4.60 was credited and, out of the blue, she got this letter saying she owed them 2p.
“It is quite a nasty letter, saying she was at risk of breaking the law and threatening legal action. For someone of her age this was very frightening. She has been really upset by it.”
Iris, who has five children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, is in very ill health and hooked up to oxygen 24-hours-a-day, so the television is a lifeline to her.
Lesley, from Red House, said: “I think what they have done is terrible. To think she has just lost her husband and to send a bill for 2p is just disgraceful. It will have cost more to send the letter out than what the amount is for.
“I am fuming about it. If it was for £10 or something like that then I could understand, but to send a demand for 2p is just disgusting.”
The letter read: “You have not paid enough to clear the money you owe us for your current TV Licence. To keep your TV Licence you need to pay what you owe on your payment plan now.”
The letter continued: “After Sunday January 31 2016 you will not have a TV Licence.
“If you then watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV without being covered by a licence, you will be breaking the law.”
A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “We have apologised to Mrs Jameson and informed her she doesn’t need to pay the amount requested in the letter, which was generated automatically by a computer.
“As she now qualifies for a free TV Licence, we’ve cancelled Mrs Jameson’s payment card and set up a free TV Licence for her address.”