The BBC has been warned that visits by TV Licensing “heavies” could impair the mental health of senior viewers.
Since the £159 levy was imposed on them last summer, almost 260,000 over-75s have defied it.
Non-payers are being asked to give “dedicated support and information to get licensed,” according to the BBC.
Concerned about the impact this move may have on thousands of vulnerable people, such as those with dementia and other chronic ailments, campaign group Silver Voices wrote to director-general Tim Davie.
Silver Voices director Dennis Reed advised pensioners visited by Capita personnel to “politely show them the door,” saying the teams are “uniformed heavies.”
He stated the following: “So-called customer care officers are being used by the BBC to tighten the screw on the hundreds of thousands of over-75s who have been unable to pay the licence fee. They are said to be trained in dealing with vulnerable people who may be living with dementia or other serious health conditions.”
“We would like to know how they have been trained and what extra support they will be providing. We have advised our members they do not have to engage with these staff.”
According to him, the BBC would extend the enforcement amnesty indefinitely if it genuinely cared about its viewers.
The rule change struck almost 4.2 million retirees last summer, and only those who receive pension credit are free from paying.
Charities claim that it has forced some elderly viewers to choose between paying their licence fee and keeping warm.
According to a representative for TV Licensing, “Staff have had training in supporting older customers from organisations including the Alzheimer’s Society. These are not enforcement visits.”