Germany to telemarketers: Beware!
New fines totalling thousands of euros face cold-callers bothering annoyed consumers.
Berlin -- Telemarketing companies that pester people with unwanted phone calls without their permission in Germany face a 50,000-euro (72,000-dollar) fine under new laws that took effect on Tuesday.
In addition, firms that conceal their telephone number from consumers will be slapped with a 10,000-euro fine, according to the new legislation.
Presenting the new rules, Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said: "Black sheep in the industry are now threatened with severe fines if they bother consumers with unwanted calls."
The ministry advised consumers who find themselves on the wrong end of an unwanted "cold call" to take the name of the firm involved and report them to the federal telecommunications agency.
The agency's head, Matthias Kurth said: "We can not help anyone who is not in a position to give us the name, number and, if possible, the address of the company concerned."
"We do not know who has telephoned you and fortunately there is no comprehensive monitoring of telephone conversations," he added.
He urged consumers to be careful when giving out personal details, especially telephone numbers.
He added that unwanted telemarketing was "more than just an annoyance" to the majority of people.
"No one wants to be pestered in our valuable free time when they have expressed no desire to be contacted," he said.