Cancellation period at A1: Important info & changes
Cancellation periods could drive many customers up the wall in the past. The situation was often the same: You were trapped in a contract with a mobile network provider and couldn't get out right away because the notice period lasted up to 12 weeks (3 months) in most cases. So you had to pay the full rate for another 3 months before the cancellation was finally "through".
In recent years, there have been some changes in the notice period at A1 (and at all other Austrian mobile communications companies). The Chamber of Labor was able to achieve a success against excessively long notice periods.
This does not apply to the minimum contract period. More on this below.
All the detailed info on the state of affairs can be found here.
What is meant by Notice period?
The word "notice period" refers to the period of time between the moment when you inform the other party that you wish to terminate the contract (notice) and the actual termination.
The notice period is regulated in contracts.
If, for example, you sign a contract that states under the heading "Period of notice" that the period is 3 months, then you will only be able to get out of the contract 3 months after giving notice of termination.
Cancellation period at A1 in the past
Until 2016, A1's general terms and conditions stipulated that the notice period was 3 months.
If you add the month in which you cancelled, you thus had to stay in the contract with A1 for 4 months until 2016 before you were finally cancelled and no longer had to pay anything.
If you wanted to switch to a different contract, you either had to pay for 2 contracts at the same time for a period of 3 months or wait until you finally got rid of the provider - and accept that the desired new rate may no longer be available.
The Success of the Chamber of Labor against A1
These (and a number of other unjustified clauses in the GTCs) caused the Chamber of Labor to file a lawsuit against A1.
The AK went through all instances (up to the Supreme Court) and was then proven right by the latter: Since February 26, 2016, a maximum notice period of 1 month applies at A1 and at all other Austrian mobile operators.
According to AK, the provider T-Mobile resisted for a while, but an out-of-court settlement was reached and a notice period of 1 month was also agreed.
What about the Minimum contract period?
The so-called "minimum contract term", which is pointed out to you when you sign the contract, still applies at A1 (and other mobile operators).
Many contracts have a minimum term of 24 or 12 months.
This minimum term exists primarily so that companies can offer their cell phones so cheaply ("The new iPhone is available from us for 0?!"). Over the course of this time, the customer pays off the cell phone month by month.
The minimum contract term remains unaffected by the changes to the notice period. It still exists today and it is difficult to get out of the contract earlier.
What about Contractor contracts?
The Supreme Court's decision does not apply to business contracts.
The AK's lawsuit against A1 and other mobile communications providers has only led to changes in contracts with residential customers.
Entrepreneurial contracts are not affected by this. A notice period of 3 months still applies here.
For a long time, the cancellation period was one of the biggest evils of mobile communications contracts.
Thanks to the AK's lawsuit, A1 now no longer has a notice period (or only 1 month). The same applies to other mobile communications providers in Austria.
However, the notice period should not be confused with the minimum contract term. This is still legal and is usually 12 or 24 months, depending on the contract.
As for business offers for entrepreneurs, nothing has changed. Here there is still the classic period of 3 months.
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