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Third-party providers: how can you protect yourself?

Were you shocked by your last mobile phone bill? Don’t understand how the bill suddenly got so high? Perhaps it’s because of an unsolicited phone scam subscription. Find out here how subscription scams work and what you can do about them.
Infothek Illustration Drittanbieter Giulia Cappello VZB

Do you speak German? Here you can read this text in German.

Do you speak Polish? Here you can read this text in Polish.


How can you fall into subscription scam traps?

Mobile phone users usually don’t even know that they’ve entered into a subscription contract. Sometimes subscription scams are disguised behind banner ads. If you open a website on your smartphone and click on a banner, your mobile number will be identified and the payment information will be forwarded to your provider.

So, it’s not surprising that you don’t recognise the third-party provider on your bill. The billing company acting on behalf of the subscription operator is often shown on your bill.

What can you do to prevent this from happening?

Luckily for you, there is a way to prevent unsolicited subscription scams and from being overbilled. All you have to do is email or send a letter for free to your mobile phone provider requesting to block third-party providers. Our template letter for this can be found here. If you don’t want all services to be blocked, simply request that only some be blocked.

Blocking third-party providers stops subscriptions from being able to be billed through your mobile phone bill.

Many providers have voluntarily implemented a redirect procedure, which means that clicking on an ad won’t automatically lead to the conclusion of the contract. Instead a new site with information on the subscription costs will be opened first. The subscription will only be purchased once you confirm ordering it.

What can I do when I’ve been overbilled?

Did you already fall victim to a subscription scam? Then you should act now! First, you should stop the subscription with the subscription operator or billing company. To do this, you can use our template letter available here. The contact details are provided on your mobile phone bill. Complain about the bill and demand that the money be returned. You should do the same with both the third-party provider and your mobile phone provider. A template letter for this can be found here.

Important! Since February 2020, every mobile phone provider in Germany must provide a mobile phone guarantee (Mobilfunkgarantie) if they do not use any redirect procedure.  That means that in case of fraud, the mobile phone provider must return your money in certain circumstances.

You can read another text on the subject of ‘Third-party providers’ here.