A widowed great-gran was shocked to receive a final TV licence demand with a threat of a £1,000 fine – over a measly 2p.
Frail Iris Jameson, 74, found herself struggling with her household bills after the death of her husband Kenneth last year.
She then got a computer-generated letter from TV Licensing telling her she owed an extra 2p – and was told she could be prosecuted if she didn’t pay up.
Iris, who is housebound, was left upset and her daughter Lesley Cromack has hit out at those responsible for the “disgusting” letter.
She said: “My dad sorted the television licence 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.
“Then out of the blue she got this letter saying she owed them 2p.
“It is quite a nasty letter as well, saying she was at risk of breaking the law and threatening legal action, and for someone of her age this was very frightening.
Lesley added: “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.”
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.”
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.”
Iris Jameson’s husband died of cancer in April last year so she hit the phones to inform companies of her situation.
TV Licensing informed Iris she owed around £67, which was the amount she owed from April last year until February 5 this year, when she will turn 75 and be eligible for a free licence.
They sent her a payment card for her to pay £4.60 a week. Her daughter Lesley sorts out all her finances as Iris is housebound.
Daughter Lesley, 52, who is full-time carer to her mum and disabled daughter, said: “I was paying £4.60 a week over the counter, as I usually do.
“I did not realise the final payment incorporated a stray 2p to be paid and I paid the £4.60 as usual.
“When we got a letter a couple of weeks later saying there was 2p outstanding I was a bit shocked, I thought the letter was a bit harsh. It had a reminder in there that if she was not to pay it she would be breaking the law.
“My mum was panicking, she was having sleepless nights about this 2p but I told her to calm down, I told her it was okay and that I would pay it.
“But the week after we got the red letter threatening court action and it was so awful to receive that. It was disgusting.
“We are all still grieving the loss of my dad, it seemed really harsh. And all for 2p. Old people worry about these things. My poor mum was terrified. It is ridiculous.
“They have since been on and told me they had waived the 2p and I said: ‘Woopidedoo’. They haven’t really said sorry for the upset they caused, and expect us to be grateful for writing off 2p?
“My mum should not have been sent that letter in the first place.
“They ought to think about what they’re doing to people.”