Consumer protectionAll-time high of consumer complaints about unsolicited telephone advertising

Today, the German Federal Network Agency released details on consumer complaints in the telecommunications sector for 2020. These figures show that complaints about unsolicited advertisements via telephone have increased significantly compared to the previous year.

These are further details:

  • With a total of 63,273 written consumer complaints about unsolicited advertisement calls, the Federal Network Agency recorded a new high after a recent downward trend between the years 2018 and 2019 from 62,247 down to 54,242 complaints.
  • Consumer complaints continued to be related to advertising calls for insurance, financial and energy supply products as well as especially aggressively advertised magazine subscriptions. Complaints about telecommunications services, however, declined.
  • Serious violations were found in the way these telephone calls were conducted: Consumers were unintentionally tricked into contracts on the phone or afterwards, callers systematically concealed the identity of their clients or presented themselves as state authority representatives in order to gain trust. Some consumers were aggressively insulted or received dozens of calls.
  • The amount of fines imposed by the Federal Network Agency in 2020 of 1,351,500 euros also represents a gradual increase compared to previous years: In 2018, fines still amounted to a total of 1,105,000 euros and in 2019 to 1,309,500 euros.

Jochen Homann, President of the German Federal Network Agency, commented: "In 2020, we received many complaints about unsolicited telephone advertising. We continue to take action against those responsible."

Source: Federal Network Agency

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