What changes from now on cell phone and Internet contracts

Improved notice periods, compensation in the event of disruptions, free number portability. Whether for Internet, fixed-network, mobile communications, television or other contracts – thanks to the TKG amendment, customers now have significantly more rights.

The changes within the Telecommunications Act – also known as the TKG amendment – have already been decided for months. However, they have now come into force on December 1, 2021. For consumers with a contract, this means significant improvements in many cases. They now have more leverage with their telephone and Internet provider. What the changes are in detail, atechbook summarizes.

The draft amendment to the TKG was adopted by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure as early as December 2020. The amendments to the Telecommunications Act were then also approved by the Bundesrat in May 2021. Now they will come into force and bring some benefits:

Contract term and contract renewal

Telephone and Internet contracts may still not exceed a contract term of 24 months. However, before a contract is tacitly extended, the provider must now give notice in good time. If the notice period is missed and the contract is extended as a result, it can now be terminated with one month’s notice thanks to the amendment to the Telecommunications Act. This applies to all contracts whose minimum term has already expired.

Read also: Mega-legislative change for Internet and cell phone contracts!

TKG amendment brings more rights in the event of faulty connections

If the telephone, Internet connection or mobile communications reception is disrupted, providers must remedy the disruption free of charge and as quickly as possible. If this does not work within one day, since the amendment to the Telecommunications Act came into force the telecommunications provider concerned must inform the customer on the following day at the latest of the measures it has initiated and when the fault is expected to be eliminated.

Customers can demand compensation from the third day of downtime. However, this only applies if the disruption is not due to force majeure. This compensation is not automatic, but must be requested in writing from the provider, informs the consumer center Berlin.

From the third day of downtime, five euros or ten percent of the monthly basic charge is refunded for each additional day. From the fifth day of absence, the rate increases to ten euros or 20 percent. The higher of the two amounts is decisive.

Right to reduce charges if Internet access is too slow

The speed of an Internet connection is specified in writing in every contract. But if a provider does not deliver the contractually agreed bandwidth, customers will be able to reduce their payment in future. For example, anyone who receives 20 percent less performance can reduce payment by the same percentage under the TKG amendment. The prerequisite is proof of the deficiency. From mid-December, for example, this will be possible via an app from the Federal Network Agency.

Provider change, number portability, relocation

If the Internet or telephone service is interrupted for more than one day due to a change of provider, a move or the transfer of a telephone number, customers are entitled to compensation. The only exception is if the delay is caused by the customer. Since December 1, 2021, customers who switch providers can also take their phone number with them to the new contract partner free of charge.

Consumers will also be better off when they move. Until now, 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.

More transparency when concluding contracts

Before a telephone or Internet contract is concluded, the provider must provide customers with an easy-to-understand summary of the most important contractual terms and conditions, according to the Federal Network Agency. It must include, among other things, services, price, term, and period of notice.

Contracts can no longer be concluded over the phone. After a telephone consultation, a contract will only become effective once the customer has received a written contract summary and approved it in text form.

Source

  • BMWi

With material from dpa