A SCOTTISH businessman has launched a tirade at the BBC after discovering that he was paying a total of 18 months’ worth of payments for his 12-month TV licence.

The man, who lives in Angus but wants to remain anonymous, recently moved house and said he was contacted by the BBC – or its outsourcing company – about renewing his TV licence.

He told The National their “predatory tactics” annoyed him so much he decided to pay by direct debit.

“After a week I received a payment schedule which stated I had to pay for the year’s subscription in the first six months, therefore double the monthly amount, on the seventh month the payments would revert to the correct monthly fee,” he said.

“In effect I was paying for 18 months.”

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When he phoned to ask them why he was paying so much, he was told it was “policy” and could not be changed.

The businessman, who works in the finance sector, said that in effect they would be holding on to six months of his money, around £78, for no valid reason.

“Absolutely nowhere on their website is it transparent they do this and if you do not check your direct debit payments you are not aware they have taken the money,” he said.

“To me this opened up a can of worms, not only was there subterfuge in taking the money there was no explanation of how to claim it back.”

He said there were a series of questions that needed addressed – such as why there is no transparency in the taking of this money, nor any explanation of how to claim it back.

“The collective sum they are holding is substantial, about £1.5 billion at the last published account,” he said.

He wanted to know who looked after the money - the BBC, Government or the outsourcing company - where it was kept, whether or not it was insured against bank default and how it was actively managed.

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“I think this whole affair stinks and needs to be brought out into the open.”

“Given the BBC’s reputation in Scotland and the Government’s review of its mandate I think this story is very relevant and its exposure will cause shock waves.”

A spokesperson for TV Licensing said that as you have to pay for a driving licence before driving a car, so you need a TV licence before watching TV, and that was charged yearly in advance.

“This is why unlicensed customers joining the monthly direct debit scheme for the first time pay for their first licence in the first six months so they can to spread the cost into more manageable monthly payments,” they said.

“After that, customers start saving towards their next year’s licence with payments that are smaller and spread over a 12-month period.

“These payments will always add up to the same amount as the annual licence fee.”