German businesses not responding to email

53 posts in this topic

Posted

I've been looking for a stone cleaner in or near Stuttgart. I've emailed three different companies. I wrote the inquiry in German, admittedly junky German, and in English for clarity. One responded with a request for pictures of the area to be worked on and then I never heard from him again. The other two companies never responded at all. Why do they have email addresses listed on their company websites if they aren't going to respond? Even if they don't want the work, I guess I expected them to at least reply and say they weren't interested. Is this common?

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Posted

I had a similar experience. Before I moved here, for eg, I emailed a company that specialises in providing short lets on furnished houses with contracts in English as well as German. I emailed them with an enquiry that went something like "I am interested in some apartments on your website, I am going to be in Berlin soon and would like to arrange some viewings - can this be arranged and do I need to provide any extra info?" and I heard Nothing. After a while I studied their website in depth and found that they wanted bank details and a copy of my passport before doing business. Now, those are not things I'd normally want to include in a first pass enquiry. I had assumed that they would write back saying "Thank you for your interest but that is not possible" "Or thank you for your interest, we will arrange this if you provide x, y, and z" - but no. Since other companies I had got in touch with had also not responded, I eventually took my life in my hands (as it seemed to me) and emailed my bank details and scan of my passport - and then I got a prompt reply, which made clear that the first email had also been received. It seems that if you haven't ticked all the boxes, then you just get ignored. This has subsequently happened to me with other companies since the move. To me it is really odd - why don't a company want to help you out, by telling you what they need from you, if you want to become a customer? Don't they want the business? Big puzzler - I still don't get it!

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Posted

I sometimes carry out market research, and would most definitely recommend phoning people, rather than emailing them - with an email you don´t even know if it´ll be read by the intended person, or if they are on holiday, have passed away or have left the country!

Pick up the phone and ask directly to speak to the boss, and you will get much, much further!

(I still do sometimes send an email, but have about a 30% response rate...)

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Posted

The woman replied that she never reads her email and that if I wanted her to, I should call and ask her to do so. Then she would.

- yes, she should be hung, drawn and quartered!

There is absolutely no point in giving out your email address if you do not intend to read incoming email!

(as for not replying to incoming ones, I find that totally rude and unacceptable, but that´s how some people are!)

I quite happily give people my email address because I will always read incoming email and reply to it; my "handy" number though is generally a bit of a secret, and only given out to those who can accept the fact that I very rarely switch the thing on, or that I do so by agreement, as in "meet me there and that time, but if you are delayed my "handy" will be on, so please let me know".

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Posted

At my current company I was told 'we never get contact emails from our web site'. I thought this was odd so I checked. Turned out the email request form was broken - probably had been for at least 2 years - and they'd never noticed.

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Posted

I've had similar experiences OP. This may sound hilarious, but I even sent an email to the Finanzamt once expecting a reply :lol: It seems that correspondence in this country by email is somehow not as credible as it is by snail mail. Germans and their reluctance to change with the times would be quaint if it wasn't so infuriating.

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Posted

Some companies use the email a lot and some really don't. Some prefer phone or fax. I use email a lot at work, also to order things or to ask for offers. If people do not reply to me, they're not getting the job, too bad for them.

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Posted

It could be that there is some unspoken civic duty to support those downtrodden Deutsche Post workers that us lot haven't gotten our heads around yet.

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Posted

I suppose it does depend on the company and the motivation of the person who´s " supposed to " read them. You´d imagine any company offering customer service would respond as quickly as possible. Probably very different to reading the umpteenth email from someone looking for a job.

I personally try to at least acknowledge a genuine email as quickly as possible - though it seems my answers often end up in someone´s junk mail! ( probably where most of my emails belong! :D )

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Posted

At my current company I was told 'we never get contact emails from our web site'. I thought this was odd so I checked. Turned out the email request form was broken - probably had been for at least 2 years - and they'd never noticed.

I know what you mean, Boots! We never got any enquiries through our old website over a period of 5 years or so. A Toytown member pointed out to us there was no contact button!!! :D

There is now, though ( I think!)....

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Posted

I work with a mix of German businesses and the use of email is also mixed. Your experience OP is reflective of the lower end of the scale but you also find Germans/companys that pound out emails by the dozen (worse than FB sometimes).

As mentioned, if you want a response, phone the people. As we are talking about a "Handwerker" in this case, chances are the dunce can't even really use his computer.

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Posted

One thing that might help is having a .de email through a company that is well known. When we first got here I would send out emails from my gmail account that I use for business (which is just my name) and got no response but, when my wife would send the exact same email from her German university email she got rather prompt responses.

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Posted

I recently sent an email to a German company and just over a week later got a letter via snail mail to confirm they had received my email!

Oddly, hardly any company in Germany has noticed that emails have by law the same weight as does snail mail/certified mail.

Can't find the ruling at the moment...

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Posted

You´d imagine any company offering customer service would respond as quickly as possible.

Yes John, and this attitude of yours shines through in your contact with clients, and is to a large part why so many TTers are happy with the service you provide.

Then again, you aren´t German, are you?!

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Posted

Oddly, hardly any company in Germany has noticed that emails have by law the same weight as does snail mail/certified mail.

Can't find the ruling at the moment...

I was told by my bank that even printing, signing, scanning and emailing is not good enough for legal reasons as e. g. the date it was sent etc. could be manipulated.

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Posted

Oddly, hardly any company in Germany has noticed that emails have by law the same weight as does snail mail/certified mail.

Can't find the ruling at the moment...

You won't find one.

There is a difference.

A signed letter is Schriftform, and e-mail would only be Textform.

Schriftform is always better than Textform, since it contains a signature, and for many legal acts Schriftform is mandatory.

All this is laid down in the German Civil Code (BGB),

Only an e-mail signed with a digital signature would be elektronische Form, and would come near to replacing Schriftform.

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Posted

§ 125

Nichtigkeit wegen Formmangels

Ein Rechtsgeschäft, welches der durch Gesetz vorgeschriebenen Form ermangelt, ist nichtig. Der Mangel der durch Rechtsgeschäft bestimmten Form hat im Zweifel gleichfalls Nichtigkeit zur Folge.

So if you did include all the standard information as in a written letter your ok.

§ 126a BGB

Elektronische Form

(1) Soll die gesetzlich vorgeschriebene schriftliche Form durch die elektronische Form ersetzt werden, so muss der Aussteller der Erklärung dieser seinen Namen hinzufügen und das elektronische Dokument mit einer qualifizierten elektronischen Signatur nach dem Signaturgesetz versehen.

(2) Bei einem Vertrag müssen die Parteien jeweils ein gleichlautendes Dokument in der in Absatz 1 bezeichneten Weise elektronisch signieren.

So if it has got digital signatures by both parties it's binding.

edit: beat me to it PM ;-)

FYI:It even an sms is good enough to fire someone so the line is very unclear as to what is binding and what not since all electronic communications are standard today in the business world (even if my dad thinks otherwise :rolleyes: )

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Posted

So if it has got digital signatures by both parties it's binding.

You do know that a scanned normal signature is not a digital signature?

Just checking...

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Posted

I recently sent an email to a German company and just over a week later got a letter via snail mail to confirm they had received my email!

This is hilarious! My hubby once applied for a job by email and received application acknowledgment by snail mail... :blink: So much for modern technologies ha!

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Posted

I have never heard anything crazy, they give email address but don't answers, what planet are these German companies from?..and then if they do get your email answer by snail mail???? :rolleyes:

I am sure hardly anyone from another country making inquires about a property to rent buy would ph every agent.

I also emailed a few companies RE companies and never got a reply, its mainly the real estate companies, obviously they have enough business with the prices they charge. :rolleyes:

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