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Failed direct debit payment to GEZ

27 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi everyone,

 

I was registered at GEZ in December, 2012, so they started withdrawing money (5.7 EUR/month) from my account. As you might know, in January they started to charge 17.8 EUR per month and the payment process is executed every 3 months.

They tried to take 41.72 EUR few weeks ago for the first 3 months but I did not have sufficient funds in my Deutsche Bank account, so the withdraw failed. After that, to not get in trouble, I transferred the 41.7 EUR to GEZ account. But now I got a letter from GEZ asking for something that given my poor German, I do not understand.

The letter says:

 

"Zahlung der Rundfunkgebühren / Rundfunkbeiträge

Ihre Rundfunkgebühren / Rundfunkbeiträge sind am 15.02.2013 fällig.

Der Lastschrifteinzug war leider nicht möglich. Die aktuelle Forderung enthält daher eventuell auch Kosten die uns für die Rücklastschrift in Rechnung gestellt wurden. Den Betrag von 45.8 EUR werden wir vom Konto "my account number" Bankleitzahl "my BLZ number" abbuchen.

Für Sie als Hinweis:

Seit 01.01.2013 gilt der Rundfunkbeitragsstaatsvertrag. Der Rundfunkbeitrag ersetzt die Rundfunkgebühr. Details finden Sie unter www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/service.

 

So errechnet sich der Gesamtbetrag"

 

Together with this letter, was also a form for me to fill in order to authorize them a direct debit.

Any idea on what I should do?

Thank you in advance!

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Posted

They want to debit your account, adding their bank fees. Transfer the difference and send them proof of payment. They seem to already have authorization for direct debits so make sure that they do not debit the amount for the same period again. If they do recall the direct debit payment.

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Posted

Thank you! So, I should send them the payment proof that I got from my bank.

I have to correct something from my post: I just got to know that the 41.72 EUR is actually the payment for 1 month, not for 3. And that's a payment for a "WG". I only have a single room in a student residence, no TV, no radio, only a PC. The situation is getting very filthy with this GEZ. I honestly was in a big dilemma whether I should live in Germany or not, and now I decided not to.

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Posted

How did you come to the conclusion that €41,72* is the payment for 1 month?

It can only relate to an example of the OLD GEZ charge for a 3person WG.

*Please, see edit below for further details; before reacting to this post.

 

According to the limits of my capacity for late night mental arithmetic your figures don't compute.

 

(€17,98 x 3 = €53,94)

 

 

"Zahlung der Rundfunkgebühren / Rundfunkbeiträge

 

Ihre Rundfunkgebühren / Rundfunkbeiträge sind am 15.02.2013 fällig.

Der Lastschrifteinzug war leider nicht möglich. Die aktuelle Forderung enthält daher eventuell auch Kosten die uns für die Rücklastschrift in Rechnung gestellt wurden. Den Betrag von 45.8 EUR werden wir vom Konto "my account number" Bankleitzahl "my BLZ number" abbuchen.

Für Sie als Hinweis:

Seit 01.01.2013 gilt der Rundfunkbeitragsstaatsvertrag. Der Rundfunkbeitrag ersetzt die Rundfunkgebühr. Details finden Sie unter www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/service.

So errechnet sich der Gesamtbetrag"

 

 

"Payment of the broadcasting license fee / broadcasting contribution

 

Your license fee / broadcasting contributions are due on 15.02.2013.

The direct debit was not possible. The current demand therefore possibly include costs to us for the charge-back penalty. The amount of EUR 45.8 we are debiting from the account "my account number" Bank "my sort code number".

 

For you as information:

Since 01.01.2013 the Broadcasting treaty applies. The broadcasting contribution replaces the license fee. Details, see www.rundfunkbeitrag.de / service.

 

Then calculate the total "

I can only imagine that your GEZ account already had a positive balance which may explain their attempt to withdraw €45,80 (€8, 14 ?? less than the expected €53,94 which seems like an odd amount)

 

If your billing arrangement is set up for quarterly payments then I would have expected they would have first attempted to book €53,94 from your bank Konto. As this is a new scheme, I don't know why they would have already started booking deductions prior to the due date they quoted of 15.02.2013 at all, knowing as they must that many people would have had to change their banking arrangements.

 

I've no idea what the new law allows them to charge in the case of a late payment, but I would guess a charge of around €5 - €12 would be the maximum. In any case I would first object in writing to paying any extra costs they have added which their own premature action may have caused them: "eventuell auch Kosten die uns für die Rücklastschrift in Rechnung gestellt wurden."

 

It makes no sense at all to me that you would be getting billed €41,72 for a month.

 

Unless, and until, they have shown a detailed breakdown of their total demand, I would make a transfer of only the exact amount required to cover any shortfall from €53,94 . Then, write telling them you will pay them no more than the amount of €53,94 for this, and any future, quarterly billing period and that they should not make any attempt to withdraw any other amount or you will bill them for any expense you are obliged to incur in order to recover any excess amounts withdrawn by them from your account.

 

2B

 

Edit: You can see below where that sum* comes from.

 

If you were sharing a 3 person WG under the OLD GEZ scheme it would have been correct. Then I'd guess your combined quarterly amount would have been €123,16. However that amount should have been shared amongst the WG members. Had you already agreed with both the GEZ and your fellow WG sharers to be the person responsible for paying this bill? If not, I would sort this matter out with both sides at once.

 

If you are not a member of a WG then follow the advice and instructions you should find on their website or in the info PDF and make corrections to your registration details.

 

If you are not a member of a WG, and not actually being billed as such, then please take care to verify the facts before posting inaccurate or irrelevant figures on TT. It is much more helpful to other TTers and future readers to be accurate when posting such details as it saves time being wasted trying to solve non-existent problems.

 

Thank you!

 

post-89810-13606316316964.jpg

See here for detailed English language PDF

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Posted

Hi "2B or not "B",

 

and thank you for your long discussion. Answering your question:

 

 

How did you come to the conclusion that €41,72* is the payment for 1 month?

I came up with that amount because when I saw information flyer (which you also attached as a screenshot), the amount that GEZ attempted to charge me, matched the one in the flyer (in your screenshot). And if I am not wrong, that screenshot describes the monthly fee. Then, I received the letter asking me to pay 45.8.

Why 45.8 and not 41.72? Because it includes a penalty of 4.08 EUR (it is mentioned as "Rücklastschriftkosten" in the letter).

I don't have any flatmates, only a single room apartment.

Honestly I am not worried if I have to pay another 41.72. What I am worried about, are their penalties that go up to 9,709.20 EUR for delays more than 20,000 days. I am planning to leave Germany, and if I ever come back here again, I don't want to be taken in custody for not having payed GEZ.

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Posted

There are 2 blocks in that picture from the flyer.

The one on the left which mentions a monthly total of €41,72 is, as you can see noted above the symbolic representation of 3 people with their various equipment, an example of the licence fee for 2012!

To the right is shown the charge for the same 3 people with the same equipment would now have to pay for 1 month: Licence fee for 2013 = €17,98!

 

You see what I was trying to explain now? Something is definitely not right either with your billing or your registration details.

A late fee of €4,08 sounds logical, but since 01.01.2013 the correct quarterly licence fee is €53,98 (even if you were in a 3 person WG).

In other words if they were unable to withdraw €53,98 and added a late fee of €4,08 they should now be demanding a total amount of €58,06

 

That's why I said at the top that your figures did not compute. I don't think it's possible for them to have withdrawn a lesser, or partial, amount (ie. the difference of €12,68 between what they should have withdrawn and what you say they are now demanding).

 

I am not doubting your word. I am suggesting they are making a serious billing error. This does not mean you will absolutely have to pay more. They may have already overcharged your account in some way. There is a fair chance they might as their billing is fully automated and running under a completely new system affecting tens of millions of accounts. Either way you are going to have to take some action to sort the problem out.

Check the activities shown on your bank account very carefully to see whether, and how many, amount/s have been deducted by them in the period since you registered at the GEZ in December 2012. Verify whether you have received any other letters or bills from them.

 

Scan all the actual letters or bills redacting (blacking out) any personal names, addresses and account numbers and upload them here as you would a picture. Use the Add Reply button on the bottom right or the Full Editor - look below for the Click to Attach Files - click that (2-3 times) until a browser window for your own computer shows up - find the document/s you want to upload (holding the Ctrl or Strg button down to allow highlighting of multiple items) hit the Speicher/Save button and wait a few minutes until the buffering stops and you see Add file /Cancel buttons appear on the right. Click in the Editor where you want them to go - hit the Add file button and then use the Preview Post below to verify everything has appeared. Make any changes if/as needed then Add Reply!

 

If we can see the details we can advise you better what you should write in order to solve the issue. Are you, as a student, in receipt of BaföG or are you eligible for any other form of state support? If so special discounted rates may apply anyway.

 

Take a few minutes to try to verify the details of your account at the GEZ. You will find various forms on their site which allow you to type in your name address and account number to view their billing plan. If there are any obvious errors shown (eg. they have you listed as a 3 person WG and you live in a single occupant dwelling) you should take a screen shot and then correct those details. Use their contact form and inform them of the changes made and asking for them to revise your account status accordingly.

 

Please do let us know if you do manage to find the problem and solve it. There may be other readers in future with the same problem and they could benefit from any knowledge you can share.

 

Thanks.

 

2B

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Posted

Aha! Thanks for the heads up, the.frollein. :)

 

Now I understand where that sum came from. What were the odds on it matching, to the exact cent, the example both the OP and I had found?

 

I guess it's probably detailed (in code :ph34r: ) on the OP's bank statement.

Perhaps we should spill the detailed beans here now to save the OP, or the next reader, the trouble of working it out.

 

OP: The €41,72 is your first quarterly payment made up of (2 x €17,98)= €35,96 (for January and February 2013 )+ €5,76 (for December 2012).

That plus the €4,08 late fee would appear to be the correct total of €45,80 they can/should/did bill you for.

 

You'll need to make sure you have €53,98 ready on your account for them to withdraw during March/April. Then you will see on which date in future they will regularly hit your account every 3rd month. At least you can stop worrying now about penalties of €9709 over 20,000 days(?).

 

2B

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Posted

I'm sure a statute of limitations will kick in long before 20,000 days.

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Posted

 

OP: The €41,72 is your first quarterly payment made up of (2 x €17,98)= €35,96 (for January and February 2013 )+ €5,76 (for December 2012).

That plus the €4,08 late fee would appear to be the correct total of €45,80 they can/should/did bill you for.

Yes, that makes sense. Today, I transferred to GEZ the 45.80 EUR to the same account that they used to withdraw money from my account. I also mailed them the transfer receipt that I got from my bank. I hope this works.

 

 

You'll need to make sure you have €53,98 ready on your account for them to withdraw during March/April.

Well, thanks. I am leaving in the end of February. Though I am not optimistic that problems with GEZ will finish after that happens.

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Posted

Then you should mail them an official copy (probably cost you about €5) of your Abmeldung (de-registration) from the Einwohnermeldeamt in Munster.

 

Send it by snail mail and ask the Post to send it by registered mail with confirmation receipt. (Einschreiben mit Rückschein) That'll cost you a couple of €s, but will serve as proof of delivery.

 

2B

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Posted

2B,

 

I never sent a mail with delivery confirmation request. So, my question is how do I get to know that the mail I sent was actually delivered to the recipient?

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Posted

That's what the Rückschein is for.

 

I haven't done it for years, but as far as I remember you fill it out with your address (or, if you are leaving immediately, that of someone you know who can forward it to you) and the delivering postmann/frau will sign/stamp it and return it to you as confirmation of delivery.

 

2B

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Posted

Today I realized that GEZ debited the amount of 41.72 EUR (a 3 - month payment which they tried to withdrew 1 month ago but it failed due to lack of funds in my account) from my account. But I already transfered that amount to them.

That means I was charged twice. When the first payment failed, GEZ send me a letter and a form asking me to fill it and allow them to debit the failed payment.

I didn't do that, but instead as I already mentioned above, I transfered the money.

This direct debit system sucks.There's a lot of fraud going on.

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Posted

Anyone who trust the GEZtopo with the entire contents of their bank account is a damn fool.

While in Germany (or anywhere else), don't ever allow for any entity to directly debit your account.

Transfer the money yourself. Why should your bank-account be someone else's cookie-jar?

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Posted

well, adi700, as you (and Froggels) appear to be uneasy about the safety of the German banking industry's direct debit transaction policies I did a little TT site research in order to try to provide you with a little peace of mind wrt to the issue. Please make certain though whether your situation vis-a-vis the GEZ involves a direct debit (Einzugsermächtigung) which may appear as a Lastschrift entry on your account statement or a standing order (Dauerauftrag) as they are different types of transactions and different conditions apply.

 

Here are a few posts from some knowledgeable, and reliable, TTers on the subject. Please click on the blue notices to read the full texts.

 

 

 

The bank is not actively involved in the transaction at all, beyond responding to the internet provider to pay the sum they request. There are two likely reasons such a request would fail - either the internet provider has used the wrong bank details (because you gave them the wrong details or they got mangled in their system) or your bank refused the payment, usually because you don't have enough money in the account.

 

In summary:

 

  • A Dauerauftrag ("Standing order") pushes a fixed amount of money on a regular basis from your bank to the person receiving it. It normally can't be reversed. You set it up directly with the bank.
  • An Einzugsermächtigung ("Direct Debit") allows someone else to extract a variable amount of money out of your bank whenever they want it. You provide your bank details to the provider to enable him to do this - the bank is not directly involved. It can always be reversed within a reasonable time (by the bank, who may not question the reason for the reversal).

 

 

 

 

Well, there's no true time limit really. Within the first 6 weeks they'll let you reverse the transfer no questions asked when you call them. Some banks even let you do it online. If it's been longer than 6 weeks they'll usually want something in writing, but you can still get your money back.

 

 

 

The agreement your bank (all banks) have with you is that you can reverse any "Lastschrift" deduction for any reason within a reasonable time (4 weeks after you see it on a statement). It's then up to the company who deducted it to fight with you for the validity oft he deduction. For this reason it's not a good idea to reverse a charge that may have been (even in part) valid unless you are sure of your facts. When a deduction is clearly in error (as you've seen) it's easy to reverse.

 

 

 

I work in the "Billing Business" and we bill >€100 million/month of which 98% of our customers are direct debit.... it works, believe me. If the customer is unhappy they can reverse the transaction (up to 6 months later). We don't even need to produce bills. It's efficient and has been proven to work in Germany.

 

As you can see peoples estimates of 'a reasonable time' vary, but that may reflect their experiences in dealing with different banks. As far as confidence in the system is concerned I don't think you need worry. If it were an issue of common public concern in Germany then that would have been headline news long ago. Living here for 30 years I've never been aware of more than odd exceptional single cases being raised (and highlighting their rarity) in the German media.

 

2B

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Posted

A dauerauftrag is not a direct debit- it is a standing order.

 

You can reverse a direct debit (Lastschrift) that has been erroneously claimed by logging into online banking and looking for something like Lastschriftrueckgabe.

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Posted

 

Anyone who trust the GEZtopo with the entire contents of their bank account is a damn fool.

While in Germany (or anywhere else), don't ever allow for any entity to directly debit your account.

Transfer the money yourself. Why should your bank-account be someone else's cookie-jar?

 

Good luck with that. I've been trying to figure out a way around the direct bank deposit nonsense since I got here. Seems like so many places won't take anything but direct bank account transfers - it's frustrating to say the least.

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Posted

I think there is a lot of confusion over the terminology for various different payment methods here.

 

A direct debit/lastscrift is where you give your bank details over to the person you are paying and give them permission to take money.

 

A bank transfer is where the recipient gives their details to you and you tell your bank to send the money to the person you owe it to.

 

I will ignore debit card payments, because they aren't simple to understand

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Posted

 

 

A direct debit/lastscrift is where you give your bank details over to the person you are paying and give them permission to take money.

 

This is the one I would like to know how to avoid. It seems impossible with things like rent and gym contracts (to name two sources of recent frustration). Is there a way around it?

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