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Telephone and Internet: What to do in the event of a malfunction?

Status: 13.09.2019 7:29 p.m. | archive
It's nice when the internet works. In the event of a failure, the annoyance is usually great.

Simple, fast and cheap: This is how providers such as Telekom, Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland advertise their telephone and internet access in the fixed network. But the reality is often different: customers keep reporting problems. When changing providers, it often takes days or even weeks until the phone and Internet are available from the new provider. Even after moving, the annoyance is often great if the connection does not work (properly). What many customers do not know: They have a right to seamless telephone and internet coverage.

Change of provider: no more than 24 hours without a network

The basis for security of supply is the Telecommunications Act of May 2012: According to this, the telephone and Internet may be interrupted for a maximum of one day when changing providers. If the change does not work on the agreed date, the old provider must ensure the supply. And he can continue to collect, but only 50 percent of the previous fees. The new provider is only entitled to contractually agreed fees if the connection works.

The Federal Network Agency helps with problems: There is a complaint form to download on the website. So that you have the form to hand in the event of a malfunction, you should copy it to your own computer before changing provider. Consumer associations advise network operators to be warned in writing by registered mail. It is not enough to call the hotline.

Special right of termination when moving

After moving, the telephone provider must provide the contractually agreed services at the new place of residence. This is the law. In some cases, however, he cannot do this, for example if there is no fast internet available at the new location. Then the customer has a special right of termination with a notice period of three months to the end of the month. When moving, the provider may neither increase the prices nor extend the contract period. However, it is permissible for the customer to bear the costs of moving the telephone connection. However, the price must not be higher than for a new connection.

Internet access: determine speed

Many complain that Internet access is too slow. In some cases with a "high-speed" connection it takes several minutes for an online daily newspaper to appear on the screen. Apparently none of the big providers keeps the promise of a permanently high-performance internet connection with all customers. Often times, a promised 16-megabit line does not even reach two megabits per second.

  • Find out the agreed speed: Take a look at the contract documents that you received from your provider or ask their hotline.
  • Determine actual speed: Everyone can measure how fast their Internet access is. A free broadband test by the Network Quality Initiative can be found on the website of the Federal Network Agency. The measurement is very simple: Quit all open programs on the computer. Just start the browser, for example Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari. The computer should be connected to the router by cable (not by radio). Start the broadband test. Important: No other devices, such as a smartphone or tablet PC, should access the Internet during the test.

The values ​​are not always one hundred percent accurate. For example, active virus scanners or ongoing updates may slow down something. Short-term fluctuations in DSL speed are also normal. It is best to measure at different times for several days to get a meaningful result.

Total failure: termination without notice only after two weeks

When television, internet or telephone fail, you need to act quickly. First of all, customers must request the provider in writing to rectify the disruption. Experts recommend a period of two weeks. The reason: the network operators usually promise a connection security of only 97 percent. That means: customers have to accept a total failure of eleven days a year. Only then can you terminate the contract without notice in order to switch to another provider.

Network operators have to pay compensation

Compensation claims can arise from a total failure. The Federal Court of Justice has ruled that access to the Internet is also of central importance for one's lifestyle in the private sphere. In practice this means that network operators have to reimburse their customers for additional costs that arise from the failure of the telephone or Internet. Anyone who then has to use a mobile phone can bill the provider for the costs.

Compensation for the loss of use

Even if there is no additional effort, consumers can claim a so-called loss of use compensation for themselves - solely because the broadband connection cannot be used. According to experts, the amount depends on the access costs. If, for example, they are 40 euros a month and the Internet fails for ten days, the compensation is a little more than 13 euros (40 euros / 30 days x 10 days outage). It is often worth pointing this out to the network operator. In some cases, for example, a full monthly fee is waived as a gesture of goodwill.

This topic in the program:

The tricks | 09/16/2019 | 9:00 p.m.