The GEZ in Germany is one of those things that is dreaded. People stand at their doors refusing to open them in fear that on the next side is someone asking if they have a TV or radio. There are all these stories about the GEZ camping out in front of doors, listening hard to hear even the slightest sound that they can link to a television. There are other stories claiming that they’ve connived their way into the homes of many residents under false pretenses just to see for themselves if you were or were not lying about that radio you claimed not to have. A lot of residents, Germans as well as non Germans have a problem with paying the monthly fee associated with the GEZ. And because the majority of the time there is no penalty, just the odd worker popping up every now and then to ask the same questions, people tend to push the responsibility to the side.
If you have been living in Germany long enough you’ve perhaps received one of the letters that they send. Attached with a form and an explanation as to what it is you’ll be signing, the GEZ is adamant to get you to make the contribution. And if you, like many other people, push the letter to the side, week after week, you’ll get another one, a warning a final warning and so on. But there is no reason not to pay. Sure there are some people who don’t watch an ounce of television, they perhaps don’t even own one. But as for the radio, it’s not really something anyone can avoid. We have them in our homes, on our laptops, in our cars, on most other electronic devices. Where some may think that it is unfair to pay for something that they only turn on once or twice a year, the truth is, it may not be as unfair as one thinks.
The GEZ is responsible for the public broadcasting of television and radio. There will be some point in your life where you benefit from this service, whether it’s something as simple as being able to hear the time when you’re running late. The fee that the GEZ is asking you to pay, is by no means a high one and so it might be worth it to muster up the couple bucks a month, if only to stop the inspectors from banging on your door every day. Think about how expensive it is to provide what the GEZ provides, think about the number of people that benefit from it. And rather than looking at the GEZ like a fine, look at it as a tax and not one that is trying to drain the last dime from your pocket. The hassle of trying to hide from the inspectors and lie to the GEZ is not worth it.
They are indeed providing something useful, and they are doing so at a very high cost.