What’s new in Germany in 2013?

2013 Dice - ©iStockphoto.com/alexsl The New Year in Germany usually brings with it some new regulation or law, or simply a rise in prices.  2013 sees a whole range of things changing, but many of them will only affect a small percentage of the population.

The following 4, however, are likely to affect most people.

1. The price of stamps

The cost of sending a normal letter (up to 20g and 23.5 x 12.5 x 0.5cm) within Germany went up from 55 cents to 58 cents.  The cost of sending the same letter abroad stayed at 75 cents, and the prices for postcards stayed the same as well.  Larger items up to 1kg and 35.3 x 25 x 5cm now cost €2.40 to send within Germany instead of €2.20. [Read more…]

What to do with a damaged parcel

When I first arrived in Germany, accepting a parcel meant signing for it on a piece of paper.

It might sound old-fashioned and not very environmentally friendly now, but at the time it had one big advantage: you could write ANYTHING you wanted to on it.

Such as “package damaged”.

Not that I received many damaged packages back then, in fact did not receive many packages at all at home, but I often signed for them in the office and I was aware of the fact that the carrier would only accept liability for damage to the contents if I wrote it next to my signature. [Read more…]

Die Förmliche Zustellung

… or my second day in court

A few weeks ago I was called to appear as a witness at a local court. I’m not going to go into the details of the case, but I learnt a new part of the postal service in the process.  The “förmliche Zustellung”.

We’ve spoken before about the different options for sending post in Germany, ie. the Einschreiben for proof of sending, the Rückschein for recorded delivery and even options like the Einschreiben eigenhändig to ensure that only the receipient signs for something.

But the court has another option, that I was unaware of until now.

Förmliche ZustellungThe förmliche Zustellung comes in a yellow envelope. On the envelope there is space for the postal worker who puts it into the letter box to write the date on it. This is the date that it went into the letter box, and the court is then informed that the post has been delivered.

There is no notification like with the Einschreiben. If I understand it correctly, the letter is considered to have been received, and if you don’t check your post box regularly or are on holiday then that’s your problem.

I guess this gets round the problem of people refusing to sign when they see who the envelope is from, but I do wonder what would happen if I had been out of the country for a few weeks, or even if the postman had put it into the wrong letter box by mistake.

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