1N Telecom irritates numerous consumers with unsolicited advertising mail. The Düsseldorf-based company advertises a DSL tariff or free landline calls to cellphone numbers. The letters are addressed personally and contain the number of the person concerned’s current connection at Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom customers signed the offer in the belief that they were only making a tariff change, consumer advocates warn. In fact, however, they concluded a new contract and thus caused a change of provider. If those affected take back the termination at Telekom, they often get even more into trouble.
“Even if the logo differs in color and design on the advertising letter, many confuse 1N Telecom with Deutsche Telekom,” explained Kathrin Bartsch, legal expert at the Lower Saxony consumer advice center, on Wednesday. Telekom customers signed the offer assuming it was just a tariff adjustment. According to Bartsch, they usually only notice the error “when a welcome letter from 1N Telekom is in the mailbox or Deutsche Telekom asks for the reason for the termination”.
A possible reason: The decisive sentence: “Furthermore, I hereby cancel my previous contract with Telekom and authorize the porting of my telephone number” is only in the order form, not already in the cover letter. If the duped person wants to return to Telekom and does not meet the deadlines, 1N Telecom does not activate the connection. Rather, the Dusseldorfers in turn give notice and demand damages, reports Bartsch. Consumers are faced with claims of around 400 euros for non-performance of the contract. Whether this amount is justified can ultimately only be clarified in court.
Withdrawal possible within 14 days
“An unwanted contract can be revoked in a timely manner and demonstrably,” explains the consumer advice center. This is possible within 14 days of the conclusion of the contract. It is important to document the revocation well and also to inform the old provider. That should prevent the number porting. If it is already too late for a revocation, those affected should think twice about whether changing providers is not an option after all. You can then give proper notice so that the unwanted contract with the minimum term ends.
Many people seeking advice ask consumer advocates where 1N Telecom got the data from. You should ask the company’s data protection officer – also on what legal basis the contact took place. Free sample letters are available for download. Another option to protect yourself from unwanted advertising mail is to enter the Robinson list drawn up by the German Dialogue Marketing Association (DDV). DDV member companies are informed that postal advertising is undesirable.
Court prohibits unfair clauses
Their colleagues in Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony and Thuringia have already sounded the alarm about 1N Telecom in front of the consumer center in Lower Saxony. The Federal Association of Consumer Centers (vzbv) and the protection institution for Baden-Württemberg have sued the provider, alleging several legal violations.
In doing so, they achieved in court that 1N Telecom was no longer allowed to apply certain contractual clauses. It said, for example, that customers would have to transfer their previous phone number. There was also talk of impending termination if consumers are more than double the monthly amount in arrears. In addition, the company now has to provide an e-mail address for contact purposes.
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