Black viewers and non-payers: Billag ads at record high

There is a lack of payment morale for radio and television reception fees: Many users are avoiding paying the fees, as the SonntagsZeitung reports based on previously unpublished figures.


Even without "No Billag", numerous households are avoiding paying radio and television fees. On the one hand, the latest figures from Billag show that the fee collection agency filed a total of 2247 reports in 2017 on "suspicion of an infringement of the obligation to register". This concerns black viewers who did not register their devices or registered them incorrectly and were caught by inspectors. This number is three times higher than in 2012, and the proportion of people who have only registered one device but consume both radio and TV is particularly high. Before someone is reported, Billag informs them several times and points out the need to register both media.

Black viewing can be expensive: Fines of up to 5,000 Swiss francs may be imposed.

In addition to this offense, there is a second group: non-payers. They register their devices correctly, but then do not pay the bill. In 2017, Billag sent out 5.2 million bills - and a total of one million reminders, which claimed an amount of CHF 335 million. 10 percent of all bills sent out are not paid straight away.

The number of reminders sent out is also proportionately much higher than in the past. In 2010, Billag was still sending out 12 million bills (as they were sent out quarterly) - but the number of reminders was the same as in 2017, namely one million.

In 61,000 cases in 2017, the reminders were of no use, whereupon Billag initiated a debt collection procedure.

Anyone who still owes Billag money and hopes that the claim will become superfluous after a possible Yes to the No Billag initiative is hoping in vain: Part of Billag would still be there in 2019 to collect outstanding debts on behalf of the federal government. If amounts are still owed after that, the cases will be handed over to Bakom. (hae)

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