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About alexunterwegs

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  • Location Hamburg
  • Nationality British
  1. Avoid standing orders and direct-debit billing

    Just switched my car insurance after getting rather peed off with my Anbieter sticking up the premium €60-80 every year, regardless of my exemplary driving record.  Did my research on the internet, basically Check24,  and found a much better deal (wasn't difficult) and made contact with the local Rep. of one well-known insurer. She basically came up with the same premium, so I went down to the office a couple of days later to finalise the paperwork.   First thing,  it was a colleague, and she brushed off the premium quoted and added on another €30 saying the rates had gone up for July (despite it still being June!).  When I continued to question why the rate had changed she said the colleague must have assumed I was using "telemax" (some sort of automatic tracking device), which was the first I'd heard about it. Next thing she starts trying to push all kinds of extras, especially one to cover me for legal help in a dispute over a claim.   Having said I'd managed up to now without such extra cover, I ended up accepting the extra €30 as I couldn't be bothered walking out and starting again elsewhere. All the while, the sales Rep. was moaning about her guys in head office, the computer system, the effect of the war in Ukraine. I think I was supposed to feel sorry for her. Up to now, I'd always assumed that if you get through a year with no accidents or claims, your premium gets reduced, but apparently that doesn't apply here.    Overall, the experience didn't improve my opinion of the car insurance industry in this country. It runs the mobilephone sales industry a close second .  
  2. Are there any conscientious doctors in Berlin?

    Generally, I would say that German medical practices measure with the best worldwide. Continuing to have access to German healthcare, is a major factor for some (German) friends of mine, who've been thinking of emigrating. Mind you, if you go to Mallorca or elsewhere beloved of German visitors, there will be an adequate supply of German doctors.  That said, I agree that most Hausarzten don't overdo the small talk, and keep you very much on the specifics of your case. I don't think I've had an appointment lasting more than 5 minutes either.  I'm willing to accept that, as long as the advice is competent and accurate. 
  3. Problems with remaining balance with Alditalk

    I've stuck to Pay as You Go with mobile phones mainly so as to avoid any such tricks and sharp practice around contracts or 'pre-paid plans'.  I've probably saved myself a fair amount, as there are some months when I definitely use the phone less.   It does mean you have to be aware when you are going to run out of credit, so that you can buy your vouchers in time, but you never end up paying for time you never use.   
  4. German citizenship after 6 years

    Surely, what they are concerned about is that they don't grant citizenship to anyone without sufficient means of financing themselves. That would be an automatic burden on the state and also applies to EU nationals.   However, to tie it to having paid into the Rentenversicherung would rule out a swathe of foreign nationals who have never worked in Germany. Doesn't mean they couldn't support themselves though. As a pensioner, I've never worked here, but as I have a British pension I can support myself. At least, that was deemed adequate by the Auslanderbehorde to grant me my residency status.  So I can't see that the Citizenship rules would diverge in that respect. 
  5. Avoid standing orders and direct-debit billing

      Automatic contract renewal happens in both the UK and Germany, but I think its more commonplace in Germany. The mobile phone ones are a complete pain. I've had any number of mobile salespeole telling me 24 month contracts are standard and I won't do any better. So I've decided to go Pay as you go, although the one I've chosen, is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to customer service.   The otehr one is car insurance.  There seems to be only  a one month window within the calendar year rule when you can switch insurers. I never came across that in the UK. There, if you wanted a switch, you just paid up until when you wanted to make the switch, as far as I can remember.   I think the industries just follow the well known economic law, If the customer is willing to pay up, they will keep smiling and gladly accept.  
  6. German citizenship after 6 years

      Does this apply regardless of the source of income? It suggests that all Einburgerungs candidates would have been employed in Germany or have been paid a German pension. Yet, this would obviously not apply for certain categories e.g. those whose income is from overseas where they would have paid their national insurance contributions.  I'd be surprised if the current, or possible future requirements, for citizenship were limited in this way. 
  7. UK to Germany travel

    Even though, EU border officials were entitled to question UK travellers prior to Brexit, what the purpose of their trip was, I can't help suspecting that its got 100 times more difficult thanks to Brexit. I cannot believe that say, Austrian or Dutch travellers get subjected to the same amount of questioning. 
  8. High cholesterol level

    My cholesterol level is 217 so I want to get it down further, with main strategy checking the saturated fats on packets. Unfortunately, doesn't break these down into HDL and LDL so I just work on the basis of low is good.  Problem is I like dairy products. Hope that sticking to low fat yogurts, 1.5% milk and 'light' cheese are sufficient and I don't need to cut dairy out altogether. 
  9. BREXIT positives and negatives

  10. BREXIT positives and negatives

    The irony is that the NI economy is doing relatively well thanks to being in the EEA Single Market. That's something Johnson & Co are scared stiff the wider British public will twig. That would lead to more asking why the rest of GB couldn't have stayed in the Single Market. So he's throw his lot in behind the Ulster unionists trying to pretend they speak for NI.  If tthis ends up as a trade war with the EU, it will be the British consumer that comes off worst, especially those on the lowest  incomes,. not that that will bother Johnson unduly. 
  11. BREXIT positives and negatives

      Not only would triggering a trade war with the EU be extremly dumb, it would be extremly embarassing for the reputation of the UK as a country which abides by the rule of law. Unfortunately though, this is all part of Johnson's strategy. Ex minister Frost (the Lord!) let the cat out of the bag recently when he admitted it was a case of getting any deal over the line. In other words, any deal would do, so Boris could claim he was getting Brexit done, and get himself elected. They thought they could wriggle out of it later if the EU noticed what was happening, and then blame them!   You'd hope that there would be enough MPs, as well as the Lords members, to at least seriously delay it coming into force. 
  12. 3G in Restaurants?

    Useful chart. I think what I should have said, is, if the numbers  in intensive care stations and deaths start to drastically rise again, then the state will have to act. One of the first duties of a state is to protect human life. To my mind the best and most logical way of achieving that is through vaccination, but if that's not possible for political or whatever reasons, then other measures have to be brought in which control or reduce fatalities. 
  13. One for the Brummies

      I once visited the German Market and got some empty looks when I tried to test out my German. I think most of the workers came from Eastern Europe!    I always enjoyed a night out in Brum. It has a buzz and a progressive feel to it.  Used to enjoy the hostelries on Hagley Road and then usually ended up in a club on Gas Street.. Being a West Brom fan, I'm aware some of my fellow fans were a bit sniffy about Brum, but I never much saw the difference. Just a slightly longer bus ride away. 
  14. BREXIT positives and negatives

    I think of all the daft consequences of Brexit (and there's a very long list),  one of the craziest has to be pushing for a return to imperial measurements. . Are there really that many Brits still living in a 1950's time warp? Rees-Mogg is clearly one, but surely they must now be a small, dwindling number. Not only would it be nonsensical for a country which apparently still wants to trade with the outside world, but for Brits themselves, there's little logic as to how the units are calculated.  It really is sad if the Government thinks this would be popular with the public.   
  15. 3G in Restaurants?

    It won't disappear completly, but it will be a  lot worse, the less people who are vaccinated.   If the case numbers start climbing drastically again, the state has to act to prevent the health service from being overwhelmed. Its not just the Corona cases, lots of cancer and other patients are at risk if the hospitals can't cope.