Did you know that there are many ways to reclaim money that you’re entitled to? Not long ago a T-Mobile customer received €1100 from them because the ‘free’ device the customer received wasn’t free at all.
And have you ever been delayed at the airport? Then per passenger you might have been entitled to compensation between €125 and €600! Depending on the duration of the flight and delay. In this article you can find out about 10 different ways to claim the money you’re entitled to!
10 ways to claim your money
- Cheap phone plans with ‘free’ mobile phones
- Claiming the money you’re entitled to receive after a delayed flight
- Mortgage providers that charged fines that we’re too high for the mortgage type they offered
- Did you know that you’ve been paying too much for your television?
- Claim money if you’ve been sold a false investment insurance
- Get your money back spent on Airbnb service fees
- Demand back the brokerage fees paid to your realtor
- Receive the money you paid for an NS train ticket after delays
- Get back your money after forgetting to check out whilst using public transport
- Receive rent benefit (even in retrospect!)
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1. Cheap phone plans with ‘free’ mobile phones
If you’re still in possession of an old mobile phone that came as a ‘free’ device with your phone plan, you can send it back to your provider.
In 2016 the Dutch Supreme Court decided that the ‘free’ phones with contracts were misleading and so are contrary to Dutch law. The phones weren’t free at all: by paying a monthly sum, the customer would pay off the ‘free’ phone.
The contract fee comprised of a fee for the device and fees for calls, texts and data. The law was violated because the costs for just the contract, without the payment for the device, were not stated in the contract.
Follow these steps to get your money back:
- Request your old contract from your phone provider.
- Write a letter to your provider stating that your old contract is nullified in retrospect.
- Also state that you’re entitled to the old retail value of your phone.
Submit your claim here!
Every frequent flyer has experienced it once or twice: a delayed flight. Some unlucky fools might have even had their flight cancelled completely. But did you know a delayed or cancelled flight could mean financial compensation? A flight that has been delayed for three or more hours, might put you in this position.
If the delay is more than five hours, you have the right to cancel your trip. Your compensation amounts to a refund of your ticket and a return flight to your initial starting point.
Following European law, you’re entitled to the following amounts:
- €250 for flights up to 1.500 km
- €400 for all flights between 1500 and 3500 km
- €600 for all flights of more than 3500 km
Use this website to claim your money!
3. Mortgage providers that charged fines that we’re too high for the mortgage type they offered
If you decide to pay off your mortgage early or refinance your mortgage, your bank will charge you with a penalty rate. As of the 14th of July 2016 new European laws state that mortgage brokers are not allowed to charge a larger fine than their financial loss.
Research by the Dutch consumers association ‘Consumentenbond’ shows that many banks miscalculated these financial losses. Resulting in clients paying fines that were too high. These clients might be entitled to a refund of the surplus payed to their banks as a fine.
Did you buy a picture tube tv manufactured by Samsung, Philips, LG, Panasonic,Toshiba or Technicolor between 1996 and 2006? Fat chance that you paid too much! It turns out that between these dates television producers made illegal price agreements. This has been established by the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.
Consumentenbond has calculated that consumers on average paid 10% more for their colour televisions or computer screens than they would have without these agreements amongst producers. The consumers association has started a campaign for these consumers that paid too much. If you’d like to become eligible for compensation you can join their campaign.
5. Claim money if you’ve been sold a false investment insurance
The Dutch have coined a term for false investment insurances: woekerpolissen. These insurances have many hidden and high costs that don’t match what the insurer promised.
These cash value insurance contracts were signed as a way to save. The insured would pay a monthly amount to cover the mortgage or as an addition to a pension. But insurers kept quiet about high costs that these inlays caused. These high costs meant that when the insurance ended, not as much money as promised was available.
In the Netherlands almost 7 million of these false investment insurances were sold. That’s almost one per household. You might have been part of one of these households, and this means you’re eligible for compensation.
If you’d like to be compensated without a lawyer you have a mammoth task in front of you. Luckily, there are many collectives that can help you put in your claim. Two such collectives are consumentenclaim and woekerpolis.nl.
Who doesn’t like spending a night away from home? Since Airbnb came into our lives, going away for the week or weekend has never been easier.
Airbnb is an online platform where you can rent and book private accommodation. As an owner of a property you pay a service charge to Airbnb when renting out your property. As a guest you pay rent to the owner and a service charge to Airbnb. But this last service charge is in violation with the Dutch consumer rights.
The Dutch Crown Court established on the 16th of October 2016 that mediators, such as Airbnb, aren’t allowed to charge any service charges if they also act as the rental party. Airbnb acts as a mediator and a rental party, but also charges service charges. This is contrary to Dutch law.
All Dutch citizens that have rented a property through Airbnb between July 2016 and now, can reclaim this service fee. You can do this yourself, or be helped by several services, such as dienenvantweeheren.nl.
7. Demand back the brokerage fees paid to your realtor
Airbnb isn’t the only company that’s trying to pocket your money. Realtors are doing the same! You’re not obliged to pay any agency costs, bemiddelingskosten in Dutch, for the rent of a room or house if the property is part of the realtors own property range.
If a mediator works for the property owner, no agency or service fees can be charged. Up until the first of July 2016 this was allowed. So if you’ve started renting after this date, you’re entitled to reclaim your agency costs.
But what are agency costs? Agency costs are the fees charged by the mediator to bring landlords and tenants together. Other terms for agency fees are:
- administration costs
- consultancy costs
- contract costs
- non-recurring tenant costs
- brokerage fees
- marketing costs
Use the train a lot? No doubt you’ve encountered delays. The itinerary planner leaves you in the lurch and you’re stood on a cold platform. No matter how long the delay, it’s always annoying.
The Dutch rail company NS doesn’t like to see you being delayed either. This is why you can apply for a compensation if your journey was delayed 30 minutes or more.
If your ticket was for a high speed line ( the Intercity Direct or the Intercity The Hague- Eindhoven through Breda), you can get your ticket refunded after a delay of 15 minutes.
You can’t claim a compensation if:
- Your ticket was cheaper than €2,30.
- A longer journey time was already announced in advance
- Another company, other than the NS, caused the delay
- The refund was requested three months after the date of the delayed travel
- The delay was caused by a national power outage or other special cases of force majeure.
This website makes reclaiming your money easy!
9. Get back your money after forgetting to check out whilst using public transport
It’s happened to the best of us; you arrive at your destination, get off the bus and wonder: “Did I check out?’. You’re annoyed. You’ve just payed the full line price for those two stops you took on the bus. Luckily you can get your balance back through the website uitcheckgemist.nl.
10. Receive rent benefit (even in retrospect!)
Are you renting a property whilst your income is less than €22.700 a year? If the answer is ‘yes’, you might be eligible for rent benefit. Rent benefit is a contribution to your rent supplied by the government when your income can’t cover your rent. In the following table you can check the maximum amount you’re allowed to earn to receive rent benefit:
Maximum income a year to receive rent benefits (Source: Belastingdienst)
Apart from a maximum income a year, other conditions apply to be eligible for rent benefits. You must be over the age of 18 and (for 2019) your maximum equity must be €30.360. If your applying for this aid with a partner, your shared equity must not exceed €60.720. Lastly, the following terms also apply:
- The partner your applying to the aid for and your housemates must have the Dutch nationality or have a residence permit.
- Your monthly rent must not exceed €424,44
- You’re renting independent accommodation
- You’ve signed a legal contract with the landlord and are registered in a municipality
Rent benefits are not as hard to come by as you might have thought. On the website of the Dutch tax authorities you can calculate your rent benefits.
If you’re entitled to housing benefits you can apply for rent benefits for 2019 and for the years before. You apply for these benefits through the Belastingdienst. For more information you can read our article on rent benefits.