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Dead dachshunds pay no bills

DPA/The Local · 11 Aug 2010, 12:03

Published: 11 Aug 2010 12:03 GMT+02:00

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The late wirehaired sausage dog, as the breed is popularly known, was informed by mail on July 30 that the GEZ licence authorities had determined she now earned enough money to pay fees for public TV and radio.

“All of my memories came rushing back,” his 20-year-old owner Jennifer Pyka told daily Bild this week. “I cried and tore up the letter in a rage.”

The political science student had been devastated when she was forced to have the dog euthanised years ago, she told the paper.


“At least the GEZ has since apologised and removed Bini from their databank,” she said. “But I’m still totally angry that something like this can even happen.”

The Cologne-based GEZ, which stands for Gebühreneinzugszentrale der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, or “Fee-collection Centre of Public Broadcasting Institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany,” admitted to news agency DPA that Bini’s case was not the first such mistake.

The organisation requires a licence of some 42.5 million owners of televisions, radios and, for the past few years, even computers and mobile phones that access the internet. The fee money funds public broadcasters such as ARD and ZDF, and is often collected by plainclothes officials who go door-to-door busting fee-shirkers.

“It has happened before,” said Andreas Müller, spokesperson for GEZ's fee collection department at the Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk.

Dogs and cats manage to get into the database because their owners sometimes register them for mail-order contests or on internet address books, he explained. And because the GEZ employs an outside company to find the names of those who qualify to pay fees, some non-humans slip through, Müller said.

Story continues below…

Bini’s case will be investigated at the GEZ headquarters in Cologne.

“It was a chain of unhappy circumstances,” spokesperson Müller said, adding that Bini is not a well-known dog’s name because it is also used as a nickname for the popular German name Sabine.

“We are infinitely sorry,” he added.

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DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:31 August 11, 2010 by dcgi
Barking up the wrong tree *rimshot*
13:51 August 11, 2010 by moistvelvet
"And because the GEZ employs an outside company to find the names of those who qualify to pay fees, some non-humans slip through, Müller said."

So isn't the real story about how the GEZ employs an outside company that inflates its detective work by giving false names? Surely these companies have to provide names to be paid, so to them it doesn't matter if the names are real or not. Why doesn't the GEZ take action against these companies for providing false information, it is afterall acquiring money by deception.

Furthermore, the student is 20, the dog was dead for 5 years, therefore she was 15 and I assume is living with her parents, so why would Bini get a letter and not her parents? If the student now lives alone in her own flat, then how does Bini registered in one address (at her parents) translate to living at another address 5 years later?

A minority of Germans complain about Google's Street View, but why don't the politicians get hot under the collar about GEZ using companies to sift through people's online records and address books?

Not sure if it is the fault of The Local or the sources they get their articles from, but it seems from many articles I've read on The Local journalism in Germany time and again fails to investigate the bigger story.
14:05 August 11, 2010 by Clapoti
@moistvelvet, I agree with you. Often I'm questioning things here and people are just saying "Well it's like that" and leave it at that... not very good IMO
15:26 August 11, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
"is often collected by plainclothes officials who go door-to-door busting fee-shirkers." Stasi?

Another argument AGAINST GEZ! What a bunch of smelly brown stuff! What morons are watching these programs on ARD and ZDF anyway?
15:38 August 11, 2010 by wenddiver
Fees for television are ignorant, it should be paid for by advertising. More government bureacracy, that serves no purpose.
23:30 August 11, 2010 by pepsionice
Up until January, I had lived in Germany for fifteen years. About 11 years ago, I got this garbage bill in the mail. I had already been living in the house for four years and everything was in my name. So the bill arrives and it's for my seven-year old son. They want him to pay the yearly $150-odd fee. A phone call just didn't accomplish anything.

So I took the seven-year old kid to the German county office and introduced him to the Garbage Czar. There was a brief moment, introductions were made and then the guy realized that the kid just wasn't required to pay. So he went and made the change. I asked the German guy why they suddenly came to note the kid's existence or his possible connection to my garbage, and he had no idea. "Things just happen" was his basic answer.
07:52 August 12, 2010 by wenddiver
No Dacshund Taxation , without Representation.
11:21 August 12, 2010 by chimpansi
Hope govt doesnt create another ministry or commision with tax payers money to oversee/study GEZ. That would be a crime.

Dont know why GEZ exists. Someone has to review the accounts of ARD,ZDF,hr etc..

Why should we pay money to see how to bake potatoes? Thats what they showed in hr last week as hessiche kultur. Ridiculous!!!
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