Federal Network Agency: Unauthorized telephone advertising leads to record fines

The annoyance about unwanted commercial calls has decreased somewhat in Germany last year – however, there have been tens of thousands of complaints. The Bundesnetzagentur reported a total of 57,648 written complaints to its advisory board. The letter has been received by the German Press Agency.

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This means that the number of complaints was slightly below the previous year's level of 62,000, but according to the report it is still the second highest level ever and "still a massive problem", The warned companies would opt for their phone campaigns "Support consent data that is inaccurate, outdated or even fake" are.

Telephone advertising is subject to strict rules in Germany. No one may be called for advertising purposes without having expressly agreed to this beforehand. If you don't stick to it and get caught, you can expect severe punishments. In total, the Federal Network Agency imposed fines of 1.3 million euros in 2019 – in contrast to complaints, this number has increased, in 2018 the amount of fines was 1.1 million euros.

High fines against Sky and Innogy

The network agency imposed a particularly high penalty on Sky Germany with 250,000 euros. The pay-TV provider had already been punished several times by the authority and still continued to call consumers without permission, without having the necessary consent. Sky has now filed an appeal against the fine, as a spokeswoman said.

The highest fine last year was EUR 275,000 for the energy provider Innogy, as the Federal Network Agency confirmed to an industry service. The company is said to have commissioned an opaque distribution system from various call centers "in a persistent and aggressive manner" Electricity contracts for sale.

The company pointed out that the complaints came from 2015 to early 2018 and that the distribution system had long been changed. It is also being examined whether an objection to the fine will be filed, a spokesman said on request.

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