Consumer protectionComplaints about unauthorized advertising calls at an all-time high once again

Today, the German Federal Network Agency published details of consumer complaints in the telecommunications sector for 2021. With a total of 79,702 complaints, unauthorized advertising calls increased significantly compared to the previous year, after a peak was already recorded in the year before.

These are further details:

  • With a total of 79,702 written complaints regarding unsolicited telephone advertising, the Federal Network Agency recorded an increase of 26 percentage points compared to the previous year 2020 (63,273 complaints), thus reaching a new high.
  • Complaints primarily related to advertising calls about energy supply products, followed by insurance and financial products, as well as aggressively advertised magazine subscriptions and sweepstakes.
  • Increasingly, recipients of advertising calls were either shown no number at all or a wrong number that changed frequently on a daily basis. This made it particularly difficult for consumers to recognize and prevent advertising calls.
  • The total amount of fines imposed by the Federal Network Agency reached 1,435,000 Euros, yet another increase to the previous year 2020 (1,351,500 Euros).

Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency, noted: "In 2021, we received more complaints about unauthorized telephone advertising than ever before. We are continuing to take vigorous action against companies that engage in unauthorized telephone advertising. In addition, the suppression of telephone numbers during advertising calls, which can be observed in many cases, is another serious violation of the law to the detriment of consumers and lawfully operating competitors. By increasing the range of fines thirtyfold, the legislator has made it clear that suppression of the telephone number in the case of advertising calls is unacceptable. We will pursue the offenders with all the means at our disposal."         

Source: Federal Network Agency

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