‘Schon GEZahlt?’ To deal or not to deal with German TV licenses

Image © Reckmann

Caution: post may include a few ridiculously long German words!

If you live in Germany and have registered at the ‚Kreisverwaltungreferat’ (Department of district administration – why make 4 words if you can have it all in 1?!), you will find that this ‘Kreisverwaltungsreferat’ will, at some point, kindly pass on your details to the ‘Gebühreneinzugszentrale’ (GEZ) – basically these are the people who charge you large sums of money for having a TV, radio or an internet-using device in your household.

It starts with a simple letter  asking you to register your ‘Rundfunkempfangsgeräte’ (devices capable of receiving signal – again, why not bundle 5 words into 1?). If you ignore this (as most people do), you will continue to receive the letters. By the third GEZ letter, the tone will have become rather short, unfriendly and even menacing. Threats of € 1000 fines or an ‘Außendienstmitarbeiter’ (field representative) coming to your door with a ‘Durchsuchungsbeschluss’ (search order) to find out whether you have any ‘Rundfunkempfangsgeräte’. These ‘Außendienstmitarbeiter’ are said to try and bully people, but remember that you are not obliged to let them in or answer any questions. The only ‘Ordnungswidrigkeit’ (offence against the law) would be to claim you do not own a TV/laptop when in fact you do. Oh, and if you’re a student you can be let off buying the license completely, wahay.

Enough long words for today! Have a great evening.