Asteroid Impact in Germany…
First of all… I do think you won´t find what you expected because of the blog post title. This here will be a rant! I am sorry for that but the title simply describes my feeling right now. I want to write about bureaucracy, dunning letters and simply about the overall nonsense which arrived in my letterbox everyday.
Nevermind if companies or public authorities. The stuff they send me, is simply annoying. I think I could give a lot of examples about the nonsense I have to answer everyday but I rather want to write about an actual case…
We have an electricity distributor in Lübeck which is called “Stadtwerke”. This company is very well-known in Lübeck because of the fact that they send out dunning letters to a lot of people, even if those people have paid their bills. Don´t believe me?
Well, I call it a fact because it is nothing new if a family member or a friend would tell me “Fuck mate… Stadtwerke did send me a dunning letter but I have paid every month, which is why I can´t understand why they send me such letters!”. It´s not that two or three people experienced it…. I heard it from much more people. It´s something people discuss pretty often here in Lübeck.
I had this problem too in 2011 and sorted it out with this company. But now it´s 2013 and the same problem comes back. A few weeks ago, a friend told me that he has again to fight with this company. I said this is crap and thought good that I sorted a similar problem out in 2011. But you know how it is if you have those thoughts. It always can get worse and now it is. They send me new letters now too with new billing fees.
What do they want? They want to tell me that there are over 250€ open and I got already two letters with warnings that they will call a collection agency if I won´t pay. But wait… Why should I pay something which I paid already? Right, I had to sort this stupid stuff out again and went directly to this company to speak about it with the people there.
But they told me that I should not be afraid. The mentioned amount has been rebooked to a new settlement account in their database and they told me that I now have to pay to this new settlement account in the future instead of the old one (Writing a different ID in the reference, when doing the bank transfer to pay the upcoming bills). I should forget at least 160€ because they aren´t really open. They are just rebooked to my future settlement account but I still have to pay 90€ because this is the amount of the reminder fees and because they rebooked the amount to the actual account.
I clearly said that this is not acceptable due to several reasons. I told them that they should have informed me if they create a new account, so that I can write it in the reference when doing the bank transfer. How can I know that there is a new customer ID or settlement account how they say, if nobody is telling me this? I just pay under my ID as long as they tell me a new one. Secondly, I paid! The money arrived at least on the companies bank account even if stored under the wrong ID in the in-house database. It´s paid and not my problem!
As said.. they rebooked it in the database so that the whole amount is marked as paid now, like they said… There shouldn´t be a new reminder about this amount in the future but they still demand the 90€ reminder fees and they didn´t come a step further to cancel these fees. But due to the fact that I couldn´t know about the new ID, I won´t pay the reminder fees and I am not really impressed if they say I have to. It´s that simple. I won´t pay it.
Next thing is that the amount is calculated by several months of 2012 and 2013. How comes, that they remind me first in June 2013 and not already back in 2012 about the monthly bill outstanding? This all smells like there are some people who sit in front of their computers or their database with a question mark over the head too!
This is exactly what happens too often in germany. There are some smart guys who decide that there must be some changes in the booking software in a big company and soon customers get annoyed by unjustified fee reminders. I don´t know how these guys work there but it must be anything like this. Who know´s. I just can speculate about this. They at least couldn´t or didn´t want to explain why I got this new ID.
The big thing is that they really demand the 90€ now and that I could but won´t pay it because it was not my fault. They make drama now, which means I had to call my lawyer. As if it was not enough bureaucracy… and as if I don´t have already enough other things to do.
Ok the lawyer will take over most of the drama now, but you maybe know what I mean. Stuff like this happens too often and this crazy bureaucracy consumes so much money if we look at it from economical perspective. Stuff like this is real bullshit in my opinion. Again, I won´t pay but I can imagine they find other people who would do. Because I am not the only one who experienced stuff like this with them, it sound´s so suspicious. My mother assumed that they maybe found this little new source of income with all the wrongful fee reminders, people get.
This is why I have chosen the blog post title. Don´t get me wrong.. I am neither suicide, psychopath or a terrorist. If you follow my blog since some time, then you know that I am an open-minded person who loves nature, animals, humans and our whole world. But sometimes I really have this feeling that only an asteroid could help us at some points. You maybe know this feeling, don´t you? Life isn´t pointless but some problems which humans create, they are! You notice, I´m just kidding with the asteroid. To give the asteroid another meaning…
I hope the letter which my lawyer will sind this company, has the same impact like if this company would have been hit by an asteroid. Really! Correspondence with companies like this one is just disgusting. My lawyer fortunately told me that he knows this company very well due to the reason that several clients had the same problem with them. As you see… even my lawyer said the problems with them aren´t new.
You could now ask me why I emit so much drama in my blog post if my lawyer shares so much optimism. But I can give you the answer. It´s simply because, if this problem is aside, the next letter will arrive and it gets worse. Maybe with other companies or public authority’s.. but new problems won´t wait. There is always a big amount of silly and annoying paperwork here in germany.
This is what you have to face as a german citizen in the german state several times in a year. Or daily if we talk about usual but also annoying paperwork. There is a big mess of idiotic bureaucracy here in germany. It is a real pain sometimes. If I could delete my letterbox like a digital mailbox, I would do it.
A friend once said with black humor that we still could blow up our letterbox to stop this mess. I had to laugh and learned, humor helps because everything else would lead to a gastric ulcer. Good to have family and friends, to talk about these things, otherwise I would get crazy. Indeed, also good to have a blog to write the dissatisfaction down.
I notice, I wrote a lot. What about you? Do you have similar experience with bureaucracy and paperwork in your country? Or is it just a typical german phenomena to get bombarded with unjustified or pointless letters so often because employees, a database or the whole system in a company prints out three letters in a week for you, to keep you busy and to hold your headache level high?