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Learn How to Avoid Overpayments on Utility Bills in Germany

Incorrect Utility bills. Living in Germany. To prevent overpayments associated with operating costs, meticulously review your annual accounts. According to experts, tenants are advised against making direct payments for utility bills due to their frequent inaccuracies. Familiarize yourself with key details to avoid any potential deception.

Incorrect utility bill – What to look out for

Consumers have the potential to save not only on energy and heating costs. Recent findings from experts emphasize the urgency for tenants to thoroughly scrutinize their utility bills, as a significant number of them are reported to be inaccurate. Experts provide valuable tips on what to watch for when reviewing these accounts.
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Billing inaccuracies frequently result in additional, and often excessive, fees. The “Mineko” platform has addressed the issue of additional rental costs, unveiling alarming results based on average operating fees from 2022.

The platform conducted an analysis of preliminary bills from 2,500 landlords to examine the accounts. Operating fees for 2022 have seen a remarkable 120 percent increase compared to 2019. Moreover, heating and hot water costs have also surged, with calculations indicating an increase of up to 300 percent.

Significant increase in errors

A remarkably high error rate has been identified, with experts noting that nine out of ten utility bills contain inaccuracies. This substantial margin of error could lead tenants to overpay by an average of €317, emphasizing the critical need for vigilance in reviewing billing statements.

This implies that the service fee statement for 2023 should be received by December 31, 2024. If not, tenants are no longer obligated to cover the costs. The Consumer Advisory Center recommends tenants to verify the accuracy and completeness of their utility bills.
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It is essential that the landlord and tenant’s address details are accurate, along with the correct property information. The statement should specify the correct billing period, and the breakdown of service fees should be clear to the tenant. If advance payments were made, they should also be itemized.

Where can you find help in the matter?

Spotting errors in a service fee statement can be challenging, making it advisable to consider professional assistance. Tenant associations in many areas can assist with inspections. In case of identified errors, it’s important to report them to the landlord in writing within one year. In contentious situations, experts suggest seeking advice from a lawyer to ensure that all obligations are addressed and not overlooked.