Getting the Word out about T-Com (aka Deutsch Telekom)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The way German companies do business is outrageous...
We are finally preparing to leave Germany after three years and our transactions with T-Com(mie) have left me flabbergasted.  We moved into a new duplex from our apartment four months ago and moved our phone number over here.  In addition to charging us an outlandish $100 to move the phone number, T-Com also renewed our contract--that's an unsolicited, two year commitment, folks.  Keep in mind that they bill us in German and any letters we receive from them are always in German.  They sent us what we were told was a confirmation letter of the move right before we moved.  I scanned it with my rudimentary German skills and could only assume that ALL it was was the confirmation of the from and to addresses for moving the number.  I don't know if it said anything about a new contract.  Anyway, now that we are leaving, which was an unexpected change after we moved, T-Com feels that we must pay them the remainder of our two year contract; a sum over 300 EUROS, well over $500 at the current exchange rate.  We have been told that when the time approaches for your two year contract to be up, you must, 3 months before it ends, let them know that you do not want the contract renewed.  We have also been told that it is standard for them to start a new contract when moving a phone number to a new address and that you must respond in order to NOT have a new contract--that if you simply receive the letter and do  not communicate with them further, they automatically give you a new contract. 
We have also been told by the legal office on the base that they frequently have this problem with T-Com and that T-Com is "thinking" about changing the policy.  Ha, what they're thinking is how nice it is to swindle Americans with that policy and how they will never, not in a million years, change that policy.
First of all, who in the freakin' world does CONTRACTS for home telephones?  That is messed up.  In a country where a renter routinely lives in one same apartment for five years per rental contract, WHY would the phone company think it's a good idea to make TWO year contracts?  I'll tell you.  I personally think they are on crack.  German businesses do the strangest things for no apparent reason; and consumers have no recourse because--in T Com's case--often they are a monopoly.  There is no alternative home phone provider for us other than T Commie, that I know of (I have heard of TKS, on base, but I think it's just for people on base and the legal office said they have the same problem with TKS anyway, so that's not really a viable alternative, now, is it?). 
Second, as military members, we have what's called Status of Forces Agreement, SOFA.  It's an agreement between the American and German governments that outlines legal protections and obligations for the Americans living abroad due to government employment since we lose a lot of Constitutional protections.  Well, in my opinion, allowing this telephone conglomerate to trample all over us is a violation of the spirit of the SOFA agreement and I think the Germans ought to either change the government's regulations for the phone company on this, or the phone company ought to man up and change their policy to not penalize their American customers who are making an official move when they disconnect their phone service.  A thieving policy like this does not foster good German-American relations.  As a side note, Kaiserslautern and environs is the largest community of Americans living outside of America in the WORLD.  If Ramstein closed, many businesses in K-town would close too because we contribute so much to their local economy.  At this point, I would love to see a bankrupt Kaiserslautern.
When we call T-Com, there is no option for customer service in English, but they do offer Turkish customer service and so many of the Turks are here illegally!  Hello, America, wake up, this is what it's like in the southwest now!!!  We have to call a separate number to get English customer service AND pay a certain amount of money, about $0.15/minute, to get information from T-Com in English. 
Those dirty b******* are not getting one single cent more from us; we have paid for all our telephone and Internet service that we will use up until the day we have it all disconnected and they have not earned 20 more months of fees from us! 
Germany blows and I can't wait to leave.
11:40 am cest

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