Consumer protectionConsumers complain about unsolicited telephone advertising and misuse of phone numbers

Today, the German Federal Network Agency published details on consumer complaints in the telecommunications sector for 2019. It shows that complaints about unsolicited telephone advertisements decreased slightly, while inquiries about the misuse of phone numbers increased.

These are further details:

  • With 57,600 complaints about unsolicited telephone ads, the number of cases slightly decreased compared to 62,200 complaints in the previous year.

  • In addition to advertisements for electricity or gas supply contracts, a growing number of consumers complained about unsolicited ads for telecommunications, finance and insurance products as well as prize competitions and print subscriptions.

  • Complaints regarding the misuse of phone numbers increased from 116,500 to approximately 125,500 compared to the previous year.

  • About a quarter of these complaints related to so-called 'ping calls' – missed calls from a foreign number for which callbacks are excessively costly. As a countermeasure, a free and mandatory price announcement was extended to a total of 56 international area codes.

Jochen Homann, president of the German Federal Network Agency, commented: “We continue to fight for consumer rights and have again imposed heavy fines for unsolicited telephone advertising. We see success in our work in 2019 in protecting consumers from ping calls. Here, the number of complaints has dropped significantly.”

Source: Federal Network Agency

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