How to really prove slow Internet and get money back

It’s a familiar problem: The contract promises a certain Internet speed, but only a fraction of it arrives at home: The result is, among other things, long download times, shaky streams and constantly interrupting video conferences. But from now on, those affected can better defend themselves against too slow Internet.

An amendment to the Telecommunications Act makes it possible. On December 1, 2021, the so-called TKG amendment came into force, which strengthens the rights of Internet connection owners. If the connection to the Internet at home is slower than agreed with the provider, customers have the right to reduce the monthly basic fee.

How to prove that your Internet connection is too slow

In the past, this was also possible under certain circumstances, but it was difficult for those affected to prove that the speed was too low and to claim their rights. The providers often argued with fluctuations in the line or possible pinholes in the customer’s hardware. This is now a thing of the past, however, as those affected now have a simple procedure for proving their rights:

1. eliminating sources of error

Before you contact the provider, you should check and rule out possible sources of error. After all, slow Internet is not always caused by the line. Outdated network card drivers, poor WLAN reception, too many browser cookies, incorrect router settings, unsuitable cables or antivirus programs can also slow down the speed.

Read here what else will change for Internet and cell phone users thanks to the TKG Novell:

What will change with immediate effect for cell phone and Internet contracts

2. measure Internet speed

The Federal Network Agency will be offering software for measuring connection speeds from mid-December. In the application, you can select your rate in advance or manually enter your contracted download and upload speed. The software then starts a measurement series with 20 measurements within two days. It then delivers the result and evaluates whether the performance is in line with the contract or not. Important: The computer must be connected to the router via LAN cable. This is because measurements via WLAN can lead to inaccuracies.

3. asserting rights with the provider

If the Internet is actually too slow and the service deviates from that agreed in the contract, there are two options for those affected: They confront their provider in writing with the measurement report and inform the provider that they will exercise their right to reduce the price. The rule is: if you only receive 80 percent of the agreed service, you can reduce your payment by 20 percent accordingly.

Ideally, the provider will then no longer charge this amount at all. If, on the other hand, you have already paid the full amount of the monthly basic charge, the difference must be credited or refunded by the provider, says Felix Flosbach of VZ NRW. Revoking the entire direct debit is not recommended. If customers fall behind with payments in this way, the provider can block the connection, according to Flosbach.

The alternative: Anyone who wants to change providers due to poor performance has a special right of termination before the end of the contract term. The only prerequisite is that the provider must be given a deadline in advance to provide the contractually agreed service after all. Felix Flosbach cites 10 to 14 days as a reasonable period.

In the event of a dispute with the provider about a reduction or termination, the advice centers of the consumer advice centers offer support.

4 Compensation in the event of Internet failure

If the Internet connection fails completely, those affected have the right to have the problem remedied immediately and free of charge. If the outage lasts more than one day, the provider must inform the customer. From the third calendar day after receipt of the fault report, those affected are entitled to compensation: for calendar days three and four, this is five euros or ten percent of the monthly contract fee; from the fifth day, it is ten euros or 20 percent.

With material from dpa