Has your phone bill recently exploded because all of sudden your calls were made not via your flat rate provider but via a slow and pricey toll number? More and more courts are rejecting the collection of dialer fees if the sum exceeds € 2 / minute or € 30 per connection.
Two recent judgments of the municipal court in Plön (re: 1 C 52/04) and the regional court in Kiel (re 10 S 65/04) ruled that customers do not have to pay for toll calls if the provider charges more than € 2 / minute or € 30 per connection. Starting in August 2005, these price limits also apply to calls from mobile phones.
What are web dialers? These are programs that dial up an internet connection on a pricey line – usually 0190 or 0900 numbers. These service numbers, originally intended to provide easy and convenient billing for special services, have been misused. Payment is easy because you are billed via your telephone provider.
When referring to these judgments, a provider might argue that his business has been properly registered with the regulatory authority and it is therefore legal to demand more than the above-mentioned amounts. The courts have clearly dismissed this argument.
If it seems to you that you have received an unexpectedly high phone bill, demand an itemized bill. You can even demand an itemized bill after you have been invoiced with a simple bill. But beware: telephone companies are only required to save your data for eighty days after the billing month has passed. If you then encounter illegal dialer billing, do not pay the bill. If you have already paid it, you can expect to fight for a refund. If the standard terms of your provider do not forbid it, you can also try to deduct the excess amount from your next payment. Even then, do not expect them to accept this without comment…
Generally, any internet user should pay attention to what he or she is doing and keep a critical rein on their own curiosity, especially if you want to ownload from an unknown provider or source. For more information on this topic, look up www.dialerschutz.de.
This article has been provided by our partner Rechtsanwalt Alexander Baron von Engelhardt, legal expert for foreigners in Germany. For further information, go to www.rechtsanwalt-ave.com.