Verdict: mobilcom-debitel has to pay unauthorized fees to the state fund

© Gina Sanders - Fotolia.comMobilcom-debitel has to pay unauthorized charges – The provider mobilcom-debitel is not allowed to retain profits which he has earned through an unlawful clause in the general terms and conditions. The unlawful fees had to be paid to the state fund.

Mobilcom-debitel non-usage fee

In July 2012, the Oberlandesgericht in Schleswig-Holstein decided that mobilcom-debitel is not allowed to charge a non-usage fee for two of its own tariffs. In the tariffs Vario 50 and Vario 50 SMS in the network of T-Mobile customers had to pay a fee of 4.95 euros per month, if they did not use the services in three consecutive months. For the two offers a monthly package price of 14.99 euros was levied, the reference to the non-usage fee was found in the terms and conditions.

The Oberlandesgericht granted this clause a cancellation and prohibited its further use. The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband, which had already sued for a prohibition of the non-use fee, then enforced a multi-stage profit collection procedure, which was now confirmed by the Landgericht Kiel under the file number 4 O 95/13.

Mobilcom-debitel must pay unauthorized profits

The provider is not allowed to keep the profits, which are marked by the unauthorized non-usage fee, and has to take them to the state fund. Altogether it was almost 420,000 euros with interest. The company already recognized and paid a partial amount in April, it says.

“With this procedure, we have ensured that mobilcom-debitel is not allowed to keep its own profits,” explains Heiko Dünkel, legal representative at vzbv. The Court of First Instance contested the amount of the profits to be deducted.

Profits from competition

A legal rule that companies can be obliged to return profits from competition violations has existed since 2004. However, the profit-sharing is only suitable for trade-offs, ie smaller single sums, which add up to high sums of money. “In case of higher damages, reimbursement must be given priority to the consumers concerned. To this end, the vzbv calls for the introduction of a model assessment procedure, which would facilitate repayments to consumers “.

A draft law has been in place since 2016, explains the vzbv, but still needs to be implemented. In addition, consumer protectionists demand that skimmed unlawful profits do not flow into the state fund without a goal, but are used in an appropriate manner, for example to promote consumer protection. “Profit collection procedures are cumbersome, take a long time and can be very expensive. The skimmed profits, which consumers had to pay wrongly, should therefore also be used to finance new procedures, “says Roland Stuhr, a member of the vzbv’s Legal and Trade Team.



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