The arbitration board of the German Federal Network Agency got a lot more work in the past year 2022. More than 3,000 consumers made representations, and 2,389 times they also submitted an application for arbitration of a conflict with a telephony provider or an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is an increase of almost half (+47 percent), since there were 1,622 arbitration cases for the Federal Network Agency in 2021.
This emerges from the annual report of the telecommunications arbitration board of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). The influx was made possible by the amendment to the Telecommunications Act (TKG) of December 2021. On the one hand, this has added new issues for arbitration. On the other hand, for the opening of an arbitration procedure, it is now only necessary that the dispute is related to the consumer protection provisions of the Telecommunications Act. In the past, the requirements for opening arbitration proceedings were higher.
It was argued about
The most common reason for an arbitration procedure were differences of opinion regarding concluded consumer contracts, especially with regard to conclusion, termination and terms. Almost a third of all dispute settlement requests (32%) relate to this topic.
Service disruptions led to a quarter of the applications (24%), unsatisfactory bandwidth for data transmission to an eighth (12%) and complaints about billing to a ninth (11%). Less commonly, change of residence (4%), change of provider (1%) or connection blocks (1%) were the cause of the complaint. However, every seventh application (14%) was a contractual dispute that was not to be assessed according to the TKG.
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A total of 18 percent of the applications did not meet the requirements for the arbitration board to take action. It opened 1968 proceedings in the reporting year and was able to close 2351 files (including some proceedings opened in 2021). Of these 2,351, it was able to mediate an agreement between the parties involved in 886 cases (38%). In 65 cases (almost 3%), the institution submitted a proposal, which was only accepted in 30 cases.
Lack of cooperation: Almost half produce no result
Unfortunately, the arbitration board had to end 1,082 procedures (46%) without a result. In 618 cases, the company concerned simply refused to take part in the arbitration procedure. Consumers had no choice but to pay or go to court. In 429 cases, the applicant withdrew his request and in 35 cases one of the parties rejected the proposal made by the arbitration board.
In the year under review, it took nine weeks on average to process the procedure from receipt of the application by the BNetzA to the conclusion of the procedure. The period from the date on which the documents required for the procedure were complete until the submission of the conciliation proposal was six weeks on average. There were no cross-border cases. The Austrian telecom regulatory authority RTR also operates an arbitration board. Your annual report for 2022 is not yet available.
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