Many Internet and cell phone contracts have a term of two years. Those who missed the deadline for terminating the contract usually had to commit to the provider for another year. But thanks to a change in the law, this is now a thing of the past.
Back in May, the Bundesrat passed the amendments to the Telecommunications Act. The so-called TKG amendment came into force on December 2021 and brings some welcome innovations for consumers. In addition to the right to fast Internet, these include, for example, more customer-friendly regulations for contract extensions and relocations. According to the amendment to the Telecommunications Act, both fixed-network and mobile communications contracts can be terminated on a monthly basis at the end of the two-year minimum contract term.
TKG amendment puts an end to long contract extensions
Until now, consumers have always had to pay very close attention to when their Internet or cell phone contract expires. Because after the contract period of 24 months, providers not infrequently worsened the conditions. Mobile phone contracts in particular often became more expensive then, as discounts were eliminated. Anyone who did not cancel their contract in good time with three months’ notice to the end of the contract was therefore tied to the provider for a further year – sometimes with worse conditions.
This is precisely what the TK Amendment aims to prevent in the future, while giving consumers more flexibility in their choice of contract. As of December 1, 2021, telecommunications providers will no longer be allowed to keep their customers trapped in a contract after the minimum contract term has expired. They will then be able to cancel on a monthly basis after the end of a minimum contract term. This applies not only to new contracts, but also to existing ones, explains the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center.
The Telecommunications Modernization Act states precisely in this regard in §56:
If a contract for publicly available telecommunications services pursuant to paragraph 1 provides that it will be tacitly renewed after expiration of the initial contract term if the end user does not terminate the contract in good time, the end user may terminate such a contract at any time after expiration of the initial contract term by giving one month’s notice.
BMWi from December 14, 2020
Easier moves and more transparency
Consumers are now also better off when they move house. Previously, a contract remained in force if the provider also provided its services at the new place of residence – regardless of whether the conditions were perhaps worse. At best, a provider would grant cancellations as a gesture of goodwill. However, this is another area where the TKG amendment has made things easier. In the future, customers will even be able to terminate their contracts within the minimum contract term with one month’s notice if the provider is unable to provide the services previously booked at the new place of residence, i.e., if the Internet speed is lower, for example. The same applies if a contract is already in place when someone moves in with another person and the connection is occupied as a result.
In §60 of the Telecommunications Modernization Act is called it in addition:
If the contractually owed service is not offered at the new place of residence, the consumer can terminate the contract by giving one month’s notice.
Cancel. Cancellation can take effect at the time of moving out or with effect
be declared at a later date.
BMWi from December 14, 2020
From now on, providers must also inform their existing customers once a year in writing if their rates are now available at better conditions. By switching, consumers can thus escape expensive old contracts.
You can read about the changes the TKG amendment will bring for customers in another article.
With material from dpa