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June 2004

Signed, sealed, delivered

How to deal with subscriptions

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with subscriptions. On the one hand there is a satisfying sense of convenience when we discover the morning paper, crisp and fresh in the mailbox, or when going to a concert does not involve days of planning and the tickets simply wing their way to our door courtesy of the Deutsche Post. Conversely mounting piles of unread magazines and the certain knowledge that stemming the flow is going to involve some irritating paperwork invariably results in an attack of “subscription rage.”

Here are a few pointers on how to take out or cancel a subscription (Abonnement) to a magazine/newspaper, as well as to the concerts at the Gasteig. When filling out a subscription form (Antrag) you need give only your name and address—email and telephone number are not mandatory. Often the form includes a question asking if you are willing to receive phone calls or emails on related products that might begin “Ja, ich bin damit einverstanden, dass Sie mich über Angebote informieren …” (literally, “yes, I am willing to receive information via email or phone on …”) and, unless you want to be inundated with advertising, ignore this section. A good deal will generally include free package and posting (Portofrei) and a price that is lower overall than if you were to buy single issues (Ausgaben) in a shop (Einzelkauf). Be sure to read the terms and conditions (Bedingungen) of the subscriptions carefully. The two preferred methods of payment (Zahlungsweisen) are by direct debit (Bankeinzug) or on receipt of a bill (per Rechnung).

You should receive a written confirmation (schriftliche Bestätigung) of your subscription along with a subscription number (Abo-Nummer). If you take out a trial subscription (Probe-Abo), which includes just three or four issues, you will continue to receive the publication unless you cancel the subscription. Make sure you keep a copy of the subscription form for yourself. Terminating (kündigen) a subscription generally needs to be done in writing (schriftlich). If you submit this by fax, ask for a written confirmation. If you cancel a subscription early, i.e. issues of the publication have been paid for, you might receive your money back on those issues.

A subscription for a season of concerts at the Gasteig, so-called Abo-Konzerte, works as follows: subscription is valid for one season of concerts—between five and eight concerts, depending on the location and type of concert—though the subscription will automatically be renewed unless you submit a written cancellation and there is no refund on unused tickets if you cancel the subscription mid-season. The price of a subscription depends on the seating area you choose—subscribers can select only a section, not individual seats. Plans of the Carl-Orff Saal and the Philharmonie can be found at, by clicking on “Saalpläne.” Subscribers make a saving of 20 percent on the regular cost of a ticket and there is no commission fee (Vorverkaufsgebühr). There is a no-money-back policy (keine Rückerstattung) if concerts are postponed and soloists or conductors changed. Tickets are sent out one week prior to the first concert. Subscribers also receive vouchers (Gutscheine) for a 15 percent discount on many other concerts and—though this may change in the fall—they can travel to and from concerts free on public transport. If a subscriber is unable to attend a certain concert, they can swap their tickets (Termintausch) for the same concert on a different date, provided there are still seats available. This, however, can be done only twice in a season and the new ticket must be in the same price category as the old one. Got that? Now you can sit back and enjoy.

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