Rising electricity and gas prices: Price increases are often invalid: Be sure to check letters from suppliers for these errors
Many consumers are currently receiving mail with price increases for electricity and gas. But by no means every adjustment is permissible. If you pay attention to formal errors in the letters, you can defend yourself against them.
Electricity and gas prices are currently rising sharply, which worries many people. The matter becomes concrete at the latest when electricity and gas providers announce price increases. Suppliers to household customers must do this by letter at least four weeks in advance, stating the reason, the requirements and the scope
. Here you will find the legal regulation in detail.
If you have explicitly allowed your provider to inform you by e-mail, this is sufficient if the deadline is met. According to the consumer center, it is not enough if price increases are only announced in an online customer portal, as this can easily be overlooked.
It is always important that you keep all letters from the energy suppliers. It may be that you only notice the price increase when you check out. You can then retrospectively check and object to the documents. If you don’t want to keep a lot of paperwork, you can simply scan the letters and archive them digitally.
Price change: Check letter carefully
Of course, letters announcing price increases are not particularly well received by customers. In some cases, the providers therefore try to design the letters in such a way that the actual message is lost. But there are requirements that must be met:
Anyone who announces a price increase must do so in a “simple and understandable manner”.
A reason for the price increase must be given in the letter, and it must also be clearly stated what the future prices should look like. The legislator requires the criteria “reason, prerequisites and scope of the price changes”.
Compare prices in detail:
The district court of Cologne ruled that basic suppliers must list the old and new costs in detail when writing price increases so that customers can compare the components of the price.
Special right of termination:
Customers always have a special right of termination in the event of price increases. This is very useful in times of low prices and greater differences between providers. At the moment, however, you should think carefully about whether you want to switch providers. However, the letter must refer to the special right of termination.
Examples of formal mistakes are letters that look like advertising flyers and have hidden the topic of price increases somewhere. Even long letters that deal with completely different topics and the price increase is only a side note are not considered understandable.
Even a hidden notification of price increases on the annual statement does not meet the necessary criteria, because a lot of other information also appears there.
Errors included: How to proceed
If there are errors in the notification letter, you can object to the price increase in writing and insist on continued delivery at the old prices. Make sure you use the right wording and state explicitly that you object to the price increase and why. It is also important to mention that you do not want to cancel the tariff so that there are no misunderstandings with the supplier.
In the case of non-transparent price increases, you can seek advice from the consumer advice center in your federal state. In addition, it is also a good idea to inform the Federal Network Agency. Nevertheless, it is advisable to pay the increased prices first and possibly have them reimbursed later. Don’t just stop paying because you feel right.
Price guarantees are also a controversial topic at the moment. Despite agreed fixed prices for electricity and gas, the providers ExtraEnergie and ExtraGrün, for example, wanted to increase prices. A decision by the District Court of Düsseldorf prohibits this in these cases.
So don’t just check the letters about the price increase for formal errors, but also pay attention to possible price guarantees in your supply contract. Under certain circumstances, they can rule out a price increase. It is important to note that the exact wording and possible exceptions are important.
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