Defend against rip-offs with cell phone subscription traps

Several hundred euros in cell phone bills for purchases you know nothing about? This could be a subscription trap. Here’s how you can defend yourself against these practices.

Since February 2020, customers may actually only be billed via their cell phone bill for what they have actually purchased or subscribed to via smartphone. With this regulation, the Federal Network Agency wanted to ensure that users can defend themselves against subscription traps. In practice, however, this does not work very well.

Block third-party providers to defend against subscription traps

This is the conclusion reached by the magazine “Finanztest” in its current issue (11/2021). Mobile phone customers can still fall into the subscription trap of third-party providers when they innocently click away from pop-up windows, click on manipulated links or receive unwanted advertising calls. In most cases, the victims only notice when their cell phone bill arrives. Because they usually did not receive a service and often also no idea, which they ordered allegedly.

“Finanztest” therefore expressly recommends setting up a third-party provider block. To do this, it’s best to log in to the customer account on the Internet site of your provider and put the block into effect with just a few clicks. In addition, you should also block services offered by the mobile network provider itself. Cell phone purchases can then still be made with the smartphone – but alternative forms of payment are then required.

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Sample letter helps with the complaint

If you are offered unwanted subscriptions on the phone, it is best to simply hang up. If you do not want to receive calls of this kind, you should inform your mobile phone provider in writing.

For those who have already suffered damage: The financial testers advise you to complain immediately about the unknown items on your cell phone bill. In addition one should not be rejected by the offerer with sentences such as ?the use of the services complained of could be assigned clearly to your call number ? This is no proof of an order. With the portable radio offerer should be denied in writing that a sales contract came off. A free sample letter is available online.

In addition, aggrieved parties should complain to the Federal Network Agency about unlawful debits ( If a single payment to a third-party provider exceeds the amount of 50 euros or the monthly sum is higher than 300 euros, one should also inform the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (