Many people are familiar with it: The contract promises a certain Internet speed, but only a fraction of it arrives at home. The result is long download times, shaky streams and constantly interrupted video conferences. But those affected can defend themselves against excessively slow Internet.
An amendment to the Telecommunications Act makes it possible. On December 1, 2021, the so-called TKG amendment came into force, strengthening 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 slow and to claim their right. The providers often argued with fluctuations in the line or possible pinholes in the customer’s hardware. But this is now a thing of the past, as those affected now have a simple procedure for proving their rights:
1. rule out sources of error
Before contacting 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 is changing for Internet and cell phone users thanks to TKG Novell:
2. measure Internet speed
To measure the connection speed, the Federal Network Agency has been offering software since mid-December 2021. In the application, users can select their tariff in advance or manually enter their 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. assert rights with the provider
If the Internet is indeed too slow and the performance deviates from the contractually agreed performance, 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 not charge this amount at all. If, on the other hand, you have already paid the full amount of the monthly basic fee, 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 into payment arrears in this way, the provider can block the connection, according to Flosbach.
The alternative: Anyone who wants to change providers because of 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.
If there is a dispute with the provider about a reduction or termination, the consumer advice centers can provide support.
4 Compensation for 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.
Online tool of the consumer advice center calculates reduction claim
The statutory right to reduce the contract price if the Internet is too slow has been in place for some time. Unfortunately, experience with providers since then has shown that they often reduce the basic monthly prices too little, although those affected would actually have a higher reduction claim. Numerous complaints have already been received by the NRW consumer center. For example, there have been cases where users have only received a reduction of 2.50 euros instead of 13 euros a month. “Our advice centers are receiving an increasing number of complaints from consumers who are unable to enforce an appropriate reduction despite demonstrably undercutting Internet performance,” said Flosbach.
For this reason, the consumer advice center has now created an online calculator that transparently determines the exact reduction claim for users. The calculator can be found here .
It requires measurement results from the broadband measurement of the Federal Network Agency. Users enter the data determined in this way together with details of their contract in a form. The tool then automatically generates the calculated reduction amount and writes a letter that can be sent to the provider.
With material from dpa