Consumers in Germany will face a ban on plastic bags, cancellation buttons for online contracts, animal labels for food and more in the new year.
According to an article from the German news broadcaster ARD at www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/das-aendert-sich-2022-fuer-verbraucher-101.html, stores are no longer allowed to sell plastic bags with the exception of sturdy reusable bags and the thin plastic bags that can be found at the fruit and vegetable section.
Additionally, consumers can expect more transparency when shopping for food in the supermarket. In the future, there will be mandatory labelling of animal products to include information on the keeping of the animals as well as on the transport and slaughter conditions.
According to the article, fruit and vegetable juices in plastic bottles, including smoothies, are now subject to a deposit (= Pfand) of €0.25. Stores have half a year to adapt to this new regulation.
Disposing of old electrical appliances will get easier as well. Those can now be given to a supermarket, discounter or even online retailer. However, stores are only required to take back small devices. Larger devices, on the other hand, such as televisions, can only be taken back by the retailer if a new device is purchased.
Additionally, the article states that the German post office (= Deutsche Post) will charge a higher fee for sending standard letters and postcards. The cost for a standard letter increased to €0.85 cent and the cost for a postcard is now €0.70.
Smokers will also be affected by an increase in prices. Due to higher tobacco tax, a pack of 20 cigarettes costs an average of 10 cents more. Starting in July, the tobacco tax will also be applied to the substances for e-cigarettes and hookah tobacco.
Despite the increase in fees and prices, online shoppers will have more rights in 2022. Buyers of apps, e-books, software or other digital products can complain about defects for two years now. Previously, such warranty rights could only be claimed with a corresponding contract. Additionally, for all contracts made from January onwards, errors or defects can now be reported to the seller within 12 months instead of the previous six months.
Users who sign online contracts can now cancel that contract easier. Websites offering such contracts will soon have a button with which concluded contracts can be revoked. Starting July 1, such a cancellation button will be mandatory.
Previously, according to the General Terms and Conditions, term contracts had to be terminated three months before the end of the contract period. Otherwise, the contract was extended by one full year. For contracts signed in March 2022 and later, only a cancellation notice period of one month applies. If this is missed, the term is extended indefinitely. Customers can then terminate the contracts at any time with a notice period of one month. For cell phone contracts and internet contracts, the shorter notice period has already been in effect since December. The only exemption from this new rule are insurance contracts.
On the other hand, the prices of gas and heating oil are increasing again this year while electricity prices are slowly going down, according to the German news broadcaster NDR.
Additionally, the German automobile club ADAC states that in the course of the year, a new rule will be introduced for drivers, which states that at least two medical masks have to be carried in the medical kit of one’s POV. A specific date, however, has not yet been announced. Additionally, changes to car insurance fees, tax credits for plug-in-hybrids and Autogas vehicles, as well as requirements for new vehicles and TÜV and HU stickers can be read about on their website at https://www.adac.de/news/neu-in-2022/.
Additionally, the news outlet Heise Online reports that the Deutsche Bahn does not sell paper tickets in trains anymore. Instead, customers can buy a digital ticket up to 10 minutes before the beginning of their journey through the website of the Deutsche Bahn or the digital app.