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New Phone Provider Ripping off?

In order to save money, you switched your telephone provider only to now discover that your phone has quadrupled. When you get your first invoice late, i.e. after three months (instead of after the first month), it is for whopping € 200. Had you only know this, you could have take the flat rate. But can you now contest the bill after the fact? This article tells what can be done in this situation.


The merits of your case will depend upon what is written on the standard terms and conditions of your provider where the company has promised to regularly settle the account. This will usually be the case with landline telephone providers. Failure to fulfill contractual obligation will constitute a breach of contract for the phone provider under §280 BGB, and the provider will owe you damages – so the LG Darmstadt decided (re 25 S 263/04).

But do not believe you will be able to terminate the contract and switch providers. That will not be possible because such a breach is not severe enough to qualify for termination of the contract upon extraordinary grounds. If they had sent the bill on time, you would have noticed after the first month that your costs were higher than the flat rate and you could have switch to the flat rate. The measure of your damages will be the difference between the flat rate and overcharge for those months reported late.


Your last phone bill amounted to € 50 and the flat rate would have been € 20, so your damages will be € 30. But special rules might apply for cell phone or international calls. Be sure to correctly calculate your damages as most flat rates only include landline and domestic calls.

What if the company already directly debited your bank account? Well, you can get your money back. Contest the direct debit by instructing your bank to retransfer the funds back into your account. After the refunds have been effected on the next day, you cannot sit on the money but must pay the basic monthly fees, the flat rate, as well as any calls not covered by the flat rate (typically mobile phone, service numbers [0137…, 0180…, 0900…, etc.] international calls, etc). Then you should write a letter to company informing them on your actions and claims. In the event, the company fails to react and a debt collecter’s reminder (“Inkasso…” or “Forderungs..”) sends you a reminder then contact your lawyer.

Published on the old CMS: 2007/3/10
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 155 reads