Restaurateur Threatened with Fine if Customers Watch TV on Phones

A British restaurant could have to pay TV tax for customers’ phones
Restaurant TV License

Wikimedia/Hana Kirana

A London restaurateur says the BBC threatened her with a fine over customers watching TV on their phones if she did not get a TV license. 

A London restaurateur says she is being bullied by the BBC after being threatened with a sizable fine if her customers watch TV in her restaurant, even if they watch on their own phones or mobile devices.

According to the Daily Mail, Neleen Strauss, the owner of the High Timber restaurant in London, says that she does not have a TV license for her restaurant. According to a letter sent by the BBC, a TV license for her establishment would cost 145 pounds, or $225. Since she does not have one, Strauss says the BBC sent a letter threatening her with a 1,000-pound fine if anyone watches TV in her restaurant at all, even on their phones if they plug them in at the restaurant.

“If customers or staff watch live TV on a device plugged in at your premises, you need to be covered by a TV license,” the letter said.

Strauss says her restaurant actually had a TV license back in 2011 for the Rugby World Cup and might actually get one again for the World Cup, but that she objected to the letter’s assertion that she could be held responsible for what her customers watch on their mobile devices.

“My customers are adults and can do what they want,” Strauss said. “Our job is to make them feel comfortable. We are not there to monitor what they are doing on their phones, tablets or laptops.”

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