Die Gebühreneinzugszentrale (GEZ)

A fatal error was made. We acknowledged the GEZ’s existence. Of course they’d been put onto ours by the fucking Bürgeramt. It seems you’re obliged to register with the Bürgeramt (it’s illegal not to) so they can pass your personal details to all and sundry.
The Gebühreneinzugszentrale – for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure – is a parasitic organisation, wholly legal in this country, which mooches money from people with televisions, radios (!), laptops (!) and other devices invented or not yet invented.
We don’t have a TV, but the GEZ was told we had two radios and two laptops. Big mistake. You have to pay for the privilege of listening to the radio in Germany, or even accessing the internet.
Once you’re snared in the system, there’s no way out. These are the situations in which German bureaucracy thrives.
Bills arrived. Demands for money followed previous demands.
Then a second fatal error. I wrote to the fuckers to tell them we don’t watch TV on the laptops, that one radio doesn’t work (it actually doesn’t), and that I sometimes use my laptop for work. They sent another bill for that too! As it stands I (stupidly) paid €50 for having a laptop and radio and now they want another €51.84! For nothing.
Germans seem to find nothing wrong with this – with paying a licence for a radio or laptop. “But you’re getting a service.” I’m not. The fucking GEZ isn’t providing a service. They simply send bills for someone else providing it. They want over €100 for not providing a service since last August.
The latest bill came with a friendly note: “Diese Erinnerung ist für Sie kostenfrei!” (This reminder is free of charge!) Why thank you, thank you for not sending me a bill for sending me a bill – for a service you’re not even providing.
But the threat is implied of course. The next reminder might not be free of charge. Bills arrive with a “fine” for not paying the previous one. And more bills will follow, with more fines, and costs will spiral to bail out proportions. All this is legal in a country where companies are sacred but individuals are milked for all they’ve got. Which ain’t much. But they don’t seem to mind.

Comments

  1. Tell them to feck off send the bills back and claim your some hermit who fears electronics and your not paying then never answer your door to a stranger :)

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  2. I never answer the door anyway. Neither to strangers nor especially to people I know - generally the strangest of them all.

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  3. dagmar zacharias bodenbergJune 24, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Get an old radio, plus the broken one, and find an old, broken laptop somewhere; smash them to bits and then send them to the GEZ along with your "Abmeldung". They will always want evidence - your broken radios and broken laptop will be exactly the evidence they want.

    You can't get out of the bills they've already sent you though.


    And - btw - you don't have to reply to their threatening letters. Though they give the suggestion you do. Ok, ok, if you do have a radio or computer or mobile phone with internet conneciton or a television you do have to reply. But if you don't, and that applies to about 20% of Berliners (hahahaha), then you can bin the three letters they send you. No need to reply if you have nothing.

    And then they will delete your details. Maybe you'll get another letter if a TV licence inspector on commission walks around your street (if you live in an area where everyone supposedly has no modern media equipment) copying your name from your letterbox.

    And next time you move, obviously.

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  4. Wonderful advice Dagmar - thank you very much! As soon as I finish typing this comment I fully intend to smash up my laptop so can send the pieces to the GEZ.

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  5. I lived in Germany for a year. After registering my apartment, I started getting letters from GEZ almost every month, requesting that I send them information about my 'electronic possessions'. I never replied, and about 6 months later, the letters stopped coming. I was always careful about opening the door to strangers, and thankfully no one came. Fuck 'em. Like you said, I can't believe the Germans don't mind this shit.

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  6. Es ist schon unglaublich zu sehen, mit welchen Mitteln versucht wird, diese Gebühren einzufordern. Jeder sollte sich dagegen wehren, denn hier es letztendlich um Beiträge, die in keiner Form nachvollziehbar sind.

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