I need to buy a what?!


While the following event did take place, the exact details of the conversation to be described is purely a work of fiction (though it is how the conversation took place in my head.)


Scene:  Recently weaned M is being put to sleep by Poppa, tantruming K is being bathed by Momma…the phone rings.


Momma: “Hello.”


Swedish Official: “Hej Hej, is this S?”


M: “Yes.”


SO: “I have a record here that you own a television, is this correct?”


M: “Yes.”


SO:  “I do not have a record that you possess a TV License.”


M:  “A what?”


SO:  “A TV License.  Do you have a TV License?”


M: “Um…no.”


SO:  “I see.  You will need to purchase a TV License in order to continue to operate your television.”


M:  “Excuse me, a what?”


SO:  “A TV License, you must possess a TV License in order to operate your television.”


M:  “I’m sorry, I don’t think I am following you.  We don’t use cable.”


SO:  “Do you have a TV?  (Yes) Well you need a license to operate your TV.  How do you use your TV if you don’t use cable?”


M:  “We have a DVD player and play movies and DVDs that we own.”


SO:  “Without a license?  Mame, you are currently in violation of Swedish law.”


M:  “Excuse me?”


SO:  “It is Swedish law that any persons in possession and operation of a television must also have purchased a TV License.  It is the law.  I will bill you for the license, it is a monthly fee of 175 SEK.”


M:  “What?!  Um…we paid a 25% tax on the television when we purchased it, and now we have to pay a monthly fee to operate it?”


SO:  “Mame, this is the law.  You will receive a bill by the end of the year.  Have a good evening.”


End Scene.


Okay, now…can anybody out there please explain this TV License to us?  (I will do my own research, but would really like to hear some creative/best guesses from you the reader.  If you are from Sweden and actually understand all of this, a real explanation would be great too.


2 thoughts on “I need to buy a what?!

  1. The following comments are taken from Facebook, where many of my friends have made comments about this. I share them here so my non-FB readers can benefit from their perspectives as well.

    – We have that here in Ireland and I had it in the Uk as well- government takes a licence fee to pay for the national broadcaster. The TV licence is how the BBC manages to stay commercial free. Think of it as a forced NPR donation

    – Yep. The UK does the same thing. My friends here don’t own a TV, so they don’t pay the tax. Don’t want to pay it? Throw out your TV!

    – Looks like a lot of countries have a TV license required. Commercials or license fee? At least with the fee you don’t have to listen to disclaimers about how you are going to get more sick from taking a medicine.

    – When I was a university student in Scotland (way back when), we used to have a phone network to alert one another when the TV license detector van was roaming the streets of St. Andrews. You’d turn the TV off and wait for the van to pass in an attempt to evade detection. Apparently they could pick up signals of TVs that were being watched and catch you “in the act” of viewing without a license.

    – It is a fee to finance public television (pbs) which is available to you since you own a tv. There is no way for the authorities to know if you watch or not so if you own a tv, you pay.

    – I know ….. I compleately underestand you, you can quess how was our first reaction when we moved here and now …… Since we bought tv they visited personaly us in our place…. I am not kidding……. And now we are paying as well, everything here is under control!

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