New TV license Fee’s €17.98 a month started From 1/2013
As many of the students too will have got SUCH letters asking them to pay the fee’s. We have collected some useful information from actual people and their comments from different forums , sharing few which are worthwhile reading. Look below, if you have suggestions , you can put that in the comments too. We are not sure , if one must pay it or not , until it is decided , either you wont have to pay OR you will have to pay in FULL with Fines etc. So its upto you , we are giving the information just for your update
Also there are some scams to , so beware:
“Pay the license contributions”: Such a letter is overwritten, which is currently distributed as Leaflet and supposedly comes from the post service of ARD and ZDF. However, the police warns: do not put the past behind GEZ, it is rather a new scam by criminals.
Fraud instead of radio broadcasts
“Post of Beitragssservice? Just not: Since last week (Hessen), the professionally produced and distributed deceptively real-looking junk mail in some home mailboxes in the Giessen. The letter, which is addressed “to all households in the post area Germany”, even includes already in perforated form the transfer form together with proof of the depositor.
The alleged “post service of ARD, ZDF Germany and Radio” would have us believe in the text “by changing the license fee to the broadcasting contribution we have, for 1 January 2013, the payment system and the account data changed “And further:”. Did you get a new number assigned amount. Please pay the next paid, specifying the contribution account no. ….., ….. To the account at Landesbank Berlin …. We therefore ask you to transfer the broadcasting contributions for the period from April 2013 to June 2013 from 53.94 EUR. A form for your payment, we have attached. ”
Scammers want to collect the license fee of 53,94 €
Even a hint for the obligation to exempt from the broadcast contribution obligation is included and enhances the appearance of authenticity of the letter, according to police . Of course, the pre-referral form was already filled with the receiver data and the transfer amount of 53.94 Euro.
The fact is that while writing is not about letters from the GEZ successor agency, but to write fraudsters. The police warns urgently before payment. Notes seeks the judicial police in casting, Tel: 0641/7006-2555.
The 16 different states in Germany are sending out their letters at slightly different times. In Bavaria the first “invitation to register” went out at the end of May. The first reminder went out at the end of June. This is only to people who were never previously registered. Those who were previously registered in some way will have received their letters earlier. There will probably be a second reminder at the end of July. People are calling these three letters “Bettelbriefe”, i.e. begging letters.
Although the second letter says that you are legally obliged to send them your information – “Sie sind gesetzlich verpflichtet, uns Auskunft zu geben” – the only “law” that obliges this is the Rundfunkbeitragsstaatsvertrag, which is basically the TV companies’ contract with the government, it’s not a proper law.
So you can safely ignore these three letters.
Next, if you don’t register, you will be forcibly registered – i.e. “Zwangsmeldung” – using information that they assume to be correct, but which you haven’t personally authorised. About two or three months after the third “Bettelbrief” they’ll send you a bill – a “Beitragsbescheid” – according to this forced registration. It will be a bill for the months from 01.01.2013 plus a small late fee. It’s at this point that you have to make a decision, one of the following:
1) Pay up, and then continue paying up every month for the rest of your life
2) Continue to ignore the letters
3) Within 30 days of receiving the Beitragsbescheid send a letter of contest (a “Widerspruch”)
If you choose option 2 then they’ll continue sending you further bills, and they’ll add late fees as well. Eventually this could go to court and the money be stolen straight out of your bank account. But this can only happen once the owed amount exceeds €500, i.e. over 2 years worth of fees. Even then, that’s extremely unlikely to happen. Indeed it has never happened. Reason is, if it ever goes to court then the court will be forced to recognise that the license system is unconstitutional. And once they do that, the whole system collapses. So the Beitragservice want to avoid going to court at all costs. Instead they’ll scare 99.6% of people into paying, which generally works.
If you choose option 3, then the Beitragservice are obliged to send you letter confirming receipt of your contest (your “Widerspruch”) and this letter is called a “Widerspruchbescheid”. They will avoid doing this in the first instance, however. Instead they’ll likely send you another letter, or series of letters, trying to talk you out of your contest. But eventually, if you ever get your Widerspruchbescheid then you can send this off to your local court and for a fee of €80 they’ll process it. It’ll then be legally decided whether the Rundfunkbeitrag is unconstitutional or not. Again though, the Beitragservice want to avoid it getting this far, because they know they’ll lose.
Lots of Germans are planning to go for option 3, so eventually it’ll go to court and some precedents will be set. Option 2 is the least bother though, and as mentioned, nobody’s ever been to jail for it or suffered other terrible consequences.
I just received my 5th and 6th letters back-to-back. The 5th was them telling me I had been forceably signed up, the 6th was my bill for 12 months of 2013. Am still not going to pay, and am still not concerned in the slightest.
- Like many people, I’ve never owned a TV or radio, never want a TV or radio, and I never consume German state broadcasting through any other media device (internet-connected PC, wireless tablet, smartphone, etc.).
- I’ve never made use of the Feuerwehr or ambulance service either, but I’m happy to be taxed for them because I realise they’re essential services for a functioning modern society. TV shows like Tatort an Wetten Das, on the other hand, are NOT essential services.
- Besides, even if I did think public broadcasting is an essential service, then if everyone is going to be forced to pay, like a tax, then it should be collected like a tax. That is, it should be collected pro-rata based on income and NOT as a flat fee. Single mothers living on the poverty line shouldn’t pay the same as a millionaire housewife.
Those are the facts of why the TV fee is wrong. It’s not only morally wrong though, point #3 above does in fact break the German constitution and this is being challenged in the courts. It’ll take another year or two before a ruling is made though.
So, if you object to paying, then simply don’t. You can wait it out until the system is officially declared unconsitutional.
In the meantime the broadcasting companies will continue to send letters. The initial round of “friendly” letters is now drawing to a close. From now on the letters will start getting more and more intimidating. Anyone who refuses to sign up will be forceably signed up. They’ll then start sending bills for back payment from 1.Jan.2013. If those bills are not paid, they’ll start adding late fees, together with threats of bailiffs and taking you to court, etc. But none of this is anything to worry about. The letters are designed purely to scare you (it’s called “Panikmache” in German). And most people, especially Germans, are easily scared by official-looking letters. But nobody has ever, in fact, had their door bashed in by bailiffs due to non-payment. Nobody has ever been to prison over it either. Ever.
And besides, proper legal proceedings can’t even begin until at least €500 is owed, which gives you until at least March 2015 to deliberate on payment.
So as mentioned, just wait it out.
Sun @ gez-boykott.de said:
I provide software services and among my clients are a few debt collectors. Yesterday I was at one of their offices and we chatted about the GEZ people. I was quite surprised at what I heard.
They said that a debt collector, at least neither he nor any of his colleagues, would ever take on a job of collecting TV license fees. Reason being, the objective of a collector is to bring matters to a conclusion.
If somebody doesn’t pay their mobile telephone bills, for example, the debt will be collected. Once the money is paid, the case is closed, particularly if the phone provider has cancelled the contract.
With the TV license system it’s different. The matter can never be brought to a complete close, so the debt collectors are obliged, in the worse case, to collect the debt every month. And this is goes against what debt collectors are all about. Even if the debtor goes bankrupt, the TV license fees continue, which is nonsense.
Even the imposition of a legal fine is prohibited. Only public institutions have the right for this, and the TV license service is not a public institution. Of course they can try to apply late fees, and attempt to use a debt collector, but their chances of success are low. They can only send a few letters and demand payment, but nothing more.
He and his colleagues told me that they see the TV license as unethical and they confirmed that they themselves don’t pay it.
I suspect more and more that public broadcasting won’t exist in its current form for much longer.