Electricity, internet, insurance: companies or call centers like to call consumers to talk them into contracts. Such advertising calls are annoying and often take on annoying proportions. But you don’t have to put up with it. A complaint to the Federal Network Agency can put an end to the annoying hustle and bustle.
The phone rings again. And again a cell phone provider is advertising tariffs even though you’ve never asked for them? Then it’s illegal and you can do something about it. Companies need your consent for such advertising calls before the phone call. Attempting to obtain this right at the beginning of a conversation is also not permitted.
Advertising calls are often illegal
If consumers still have to deal with advertising calls, they can complain to the Federal Network Agency. Because advertising calls that you have not expressly requested represent an unreasonable nuisance. The manner in which the conversation is conducted is also relevant, because it can affect the amount of a possible fine. For this reason, the Federal Network Agency needs precise information. Those affected should note when and by whom the call came, what is being advertised and, above all, write down the phone number of the caller. Instead of ending the call immediately, it is therefore advisable to briefly log the conversation.
There is a risk of fines of several thousand euros
Companies that cover consumers with unwanted advertising on the phone (cold calls) can be punished by the Federal Network Agency with a fine of up to 300,000 euros. For example, last year the authority imposed a fine of 145,000 euros on a cell phone provider for illegal advertising calls. In addition, there was recently a fine of around 260,000 euros against a call center operator. He had advertised illegally by telephone on behalf of various companies from the telecommunications, energy and insurance sectors.
The calls were made even though those concerned had not given effective advertising consent. Many also have subscriptions for audio books, magazines, streaming services, security software or cell phone insurance been foisted.
Annoying call center
The practice of call centers to contact as many consumers as possible in a short time with call machines is particularly annoying for many consumers. The software dials numerous phone numbers at the same time according to predetermined criteria – often while the call center employee is still on another call. If you answer the phone, you often have no one on the line.
In an earlier case, a completely exasperated telephone customer reported 210 calls in just five days – the caller number was forcibly switched off. In contrast, the companies have introduced a maximum limit in their industry code: The same “target person” may not be called more than three times a day and 15 times a week per campaign.
What can users do against advertising calls?
Under no circumstances should you call back expensive 0900 numbers and report suspicious calls to the consumer advice center or Federal Network Agency immediately. The following applies: The more precise the information about possible names of the caller, the supposed company or the product, the better.
In general, be skeptical of unknown callers and avoid answering “Yes” . If the conversation strikes you as strange or if the caller is too intrusive, just hang up in an emergency. Should it happen that after the phone call you are talked into a sales contract because you answered “yes” to any question – stay calm for now. In case of doubt, the seller would have to prove that he made you a clear offer. Do not pay the invoice amount under any circumstances and contact the police if necessary.
And even if a valid sales contract has been concluded at the end of the day: When ordering by phone, you have a 14-day right of withdrawal, as with online purchases.