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Old Oct 6 2007, 10:05 AM   #1
Nefermiw
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Angry Rant: German mobile phone contracts

I totally need to rant for a bit

My husband dropped his cell phone the other day, and now it isn't working. He is now using the cell phone that I usally use when I'm in Denmark, but with his German SIMcard. Any way. We were looking for a new cell phone to buy him, and we had already decided that the Nokia 2310 is the perfect phone for him. No camera and all that fancy stuff. The trouble is that it is difficult to buy a phone these day without a subscription. So we went in to the Vodafone shop (where we have our current subscriptions) and asked if he could get this mobile. The phone was 70 euros with a SIMlock on it and it would cost 100 euros to unlock it!!! In Germany you are bound to a subscription for 24 months (i.e. 2 years!), so we definitely didn't want to buy it with a SIMlock.
Then I asked him how early I had to cancel our subscriptions before we moved out of the country. 3 months was the answer. He looked up our data in the computer and told us that we signed with Vodafone in August 2004. So our subscription ran out in August 2006, and since we didn't discontinue our subscriptipn it automatically got prolonged another full year. An that this happens every year automatically! This means that we are bound to Vodafone until August 2008. The 3 months only means that no later than April 2008 I have to cancel the subscriptions.

This is so not alowed in Denmark, but in Germany you really have to read all the small print very carefully. We changed our subscriptions so now we "only" pay 5 euros each month. To cancel the subscriptions, I have to write an old fasioned paper letter using registered mail service.

It doesn't look like my husband will get a new cell phone before we get to the Netherlands, but at least we got informed on how we've been totaly screwed by our cell phone provider.
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Old Oct 6 2007, 10:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

I think the Dutch system is as bad and unlocked phones are expensive. Most people take a cheap prepaid with the phone they like and have it unlocked on the black market (never evene using the prepaid sim card).

Cheapest subscriptions here are about 17,50-20,00 euro, if you phone less than that get a prepaid!
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Old Oct 6 2007, 04:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

Thank goodness I'm on 'pay-as-you-go'!
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Old Oct 6 2007, 04:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

I agree pay as you go is a lot easier
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Old Oct 7 2007, 01:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

I have heard so many bad things about cell phone contracts that I am really quite pleased I never got one!! Every now and then I wish I had one, especially on long drives when it would be terribly handy in the event of an emergency!! (Especially as my car is 10 years old....though it is in really good shape, thankfully.) But to be tied down to a long contract, with a phone that I may not even like.....I don't know. Frankly, if anyone needs to get a hold of me, they know where to find me: at work...or sometimes at home!! My chiro never calls me at home anymore, and others email me....they rarely even bother with the phone anymore!!

What can I say, I think I am Technophobic....except I only dislike cell phones....I like everything else, I just don't have the cash for all those toys!!
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Old Oct 7 2007, 03:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

Deb contracts are never really long (two years at the most), it's just remembering when to send the message to end them and read the fine print.

Mobile phones are terribly handy and much situations and I am very lucky because my boss pays for it all, still, as I said, my wife doesn't use it very often, has it for the situations you described and for general safety and the occasional call and she just has a prepaid SIM card, no hassle, just buy some telephone minutes and without any obligation you are always reachable for free and can place that call you reall need to make if needed.
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Old Oct 7 2007, 05:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

We have a phone with all the gadgets that came with my hubbys job. Mine we just buy pre-paid cards for...as I hardly ever go out without him I don't really need a contract one with fancy gadgets and programs. Pre-paid cards are really cheaper too, especially when all you need if for is emergencys.
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Old Oct 8 2007, 11:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

I know our contract has a heavy fee if you terminate before the initial 2 yr contract (and 1 yr extensions after that), but we're happy with our carrier and don't move around, so luckily it hasn't been an issue.

You have my sympathies Nef! You'd think that enough people would move from country to country in Europe and need to switch service, that the industry would be forced not to penalize you so much for it.
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Old Oct 8 2007, 07:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

My contract has a 2 year but then goes month-to-month after that with no problems. I like having my contract because we have four phones sharing 850 minutes a month for about $120 a month. We also have unlimited family messaging, so my 12 year old daughter can send 100 messages in a month without bankrupting us! The fourth line is the "spare" for the boys though that phone has had little use right now. It will get more use in the next few months when we have to split and go three different ways for five different people.
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Old Oct 18 2007, 11:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rant: German mobile phone contracts

Turned out that when we changed our subscruibtion they registered it as a new subscribtion and not a siple change. This of course means that we are bound to a new contract for 2 years! AAaaarghh!!!
We have of course complained, 'cause we had explicitley explained to the young man at the shop that we want to get out of our contracts as soon as possible and as cheap as possible. So.... the shop faxed the customer service to cancel our order of the new subscribtion. A week later my husband gets an sms saying that they have changed it back for him. Since I didn't get an sms we went to the shop again and asked what my status was. Turned out that the customer service can't have read the fax properly 'cause they hadn't changed my subscribtion back. The shop is now trying to fax a request regarding my subscribtion again, and I'll have to wait at least a week to wait and see if they act on it.

If it wasn't for all the beautiful autumn colours outside my window here in south Germany, I would swear that I would never ever miss living in Germany.
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