A new month, and therefore new regulations. What changes await us in Germany from tomorrow? More rights, but also more expenses: The new month brings a lot of good news for internet, mobile and landline users. But you will pay more at the pharmacy and at the ticket machine. Below you will find a summary of the most important regulations:
Internet users will be able to pay less
Anyone who does not get what their internet provider promises will get a refund: As of December 1, all internet users in Germany will pay less or can even terminate their contract without notice if the contractually agreed bandwidth is not reached at home. This is provided for by an amendment to the Telecommunications Act. For example, you will only pay half the promised internet speed if you are regularly only half the price. Alternatively, you can cancel the contract.
No more phone-only contracts
No more contracts over the phone with cell phones, landlines or internet providers. Contracts concluded over the telephone will now only be effective if you receive a summary of the contract in text form – e.g. a PDF to your email – from the provider beforehand. If this does not happen, the contract is invalid unless you agree to it in writing.
Shorter notice periods
Until now, phone, internet and mobile contracts could be automatically renewed for long periods – this option will also expire from December. Anyone who hasn’t told their provider after the minimum contract period whether they want to terminate or continue their contract can take advantage of a one-month notice period. Previously, they would have had to wait a full year.
Compensation for visits that didn’t happen
Even if no technician comes to you for repairs in the event of a breakdown, you will have more rights from December. If a technician’s visit is cancelled or your telecommunications service fails, you can request a short-term fix or, if necessary, compensation from the provider.
According to the Ministry of Economy, customers must receive compensation if the disruption cannot be fixed within two working days. The amount of compensation from the third day – whichever is higher – is five euros or 10% of the contractual monthly salary, and from the fifth day ten euros or 20%.
If the service provider fails to meet the agreed deadline, you can claim compensation of ten euros or 20% of the monthly fee. However, if the customer is responsible for the missed appointment or the company has no control over the fault, then the service provider is not liable.
It is getting more expensive at the pharmacy
Starting December 15, pre-packaged prescription drugs will cost 20 cents more. Every pharmacy must pay this surcharge to the night and emergency services fund of the German Pharmaceutical Association. Among other things, the fund assists pharmacies with billing.
New rules for an account protected from seizure
Anyone who is heavily in debt should expect to have their account seized. In order to still be able to freely dispose of a certain amount, there are accounts that are protected from seizure. The amount that is thus protected from seizure will increase from 1,252.64 euros to 1,260 euros as of December 1. Those who have to pay alimony will receive more. The amount protected from attachment will also be adjusted annually in the future – and not just every two years.
Starting in December, holders of accounts protected from seizure will also be able to carry over unused funds to the next month – for three months anyway. Previously, this was only allowed for one month. This is to make it easier to save for larger purchases.
The bank will have to convert the current account to a foreclosure-protected account if the current account is in the negative. The negative balance must then be kept in a separate account.
Train travel will become more expensive
With the new timetable, Deutsche Bahn will raise prices from December 12. Flexpreis-Ticket prices and season ticket prices for a specific route will then increase by an average of 2.9%. The prices of Bahncard 25, 50 and 100 will also increase by 2.9%. The prices for special economy tickets (Sparpreise) and super economy tickets (Super Sparpreise) will remain unchanged – from 17.90 euros and from 21.50 euros. The prices for booking seats in first and second class will also remain unchanged.
Operating system support expires
If you are still using a PC or laptop running Windows 10 2004, you should urgently take the time to update your system. On December 14, manufacturer Microsoft will end support for this version of Windows, which was released in May 2020. As a result, there will be no more security updates and using your computer may prove to be dangerous in the long run.