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Minister of justice Katarina Barley : put an end to long contracts and rip-off on the phone

the Federal Minister of justice Katarina Barley seems to be with the pitfalls of consumer life. "Illegal telephone advertising, which gets on your nerves, the notice period is forgotten, and is equal to the contract to a year or time is extended, an invoice from the point of view lost, and quickly, very high collection often costs too," says the SPD politician, the typical consumer annoyances.

Barley wants to change all that. With new laws, contracts should be fair, consumers are protected from a Surprise attack on the phone and in front of high collection costs. The see vertices from the Ministry, to be in the course of the year about the laws and the everyday life of the people easier. Specifically, it deals with three points.

No Two-year contracts, and more

Who knows? Many of the contracts run for over two years. Who binds himself for such a long time, gets to the telecommunications provider as the new phone without extra cost, benefits from lower monthly rates, or free months at the gym, or receives from the energy supplier a Bonus. The Problem: The supposed bargain is at the latest at the minus shop, if you forget to cancel in time. Because then the contract is extended, often to another year, without that you get a new phone, Bonus or other benefits such as attractive rates, the companies provide their new customers.

Barley wants to do so. General terms and conditions in the future, only A-year should be allowed to make contracts. Also, the automatic extension of the term want to limit the Minister on three months. That would include electricity, Gas, mobile phone and gym contracts, such as Zeitungsabos.

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consumer advocates welcomed the initiative. "For a long contract durations lead to consumers will lead to consumers so some contract, you do not want to have or you could in the interim, significantly more favorable conditions", - said the head of the Federal Association of consumer centres, Klaus Müller, the daily mirror. This applies all the more if the contract to renew automatically and continue for a longer period of time. "Shorter time limits could lead to the fact that consumers are more likely to have the opportunity to Change," said Müller the Initiative from the Ministry.

Unauthorized telephone advertising

the Second Annoyance: the Unauthorized telephone calls with consumers, insurance, electricity, mobile phone contracts foisted. More than 57,000 people and, therefore, twice as many as in the previous year, have complained in 2017, the Federal network Agency about such "Cold Calls" – calls without the prior consent of the customer. In 2018 it should have been even more. By the end of November, the Federal network Agency, there were approximately 58,000 cases in the peak year of 2017, it had been in this period of just over 52,000 complaints.

Barley wants to lay the black sheep of the craft. So companies will have to demonstrate that consumers have given prior consent is legally valid in the calls. And how it with profit play today, as is the case in the future should be by telephone in the making of electricity and gas contracts are only effective if the consumer confirm later in writing. Consumer advocates Müller would have liked to see here is a further solution. He calls for a General Confirmation requirement in the case of unauthorized advertising calls. The need for action, see Müller, in fact, also in the area of telecommunications, insurance and beyond.


While Barley wants to bring in a bill for the first two points until the summer, specifically in your third point-probably not until the end of the year. It's about the protection of consumers from excessive debt collection fees and more transparency in the process. Consumers should be made clearer until when you need to pay a bill and what happens if you do.

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