German post office Deutsche Post AG plans to increase prices for postage again

According to the company’s plans, the price for sending a letter will rise to 90 cents in 2019. However, only an increase from 70 to 73% would currently be legitimate. Cause for the plans is the proceeding digitalisation, says the German post office.

Deutsche Post will erneut Porto erhöhen

The German post office Deutsche Post AG plans to make postage more expensive. If it was for the company to decide, prices for postage would go up to 85 or 90 cents per letter. Apparently, representatives of the parcel service (Bundeswirtschaftsministerium) are trying to alter postage regulations in the German ministry for economy. According to these changes, the prices for postage will not increase as planned in April, but in the summer of 2019. Prices will then, however, be higher then expected. At first, the responsible sub-department in the German ministry for economy (Bundesnetzagentur) allowed the German post office to increase postage by 4.8 per cent. Now, however, the ministry increased the allowed return on sales for the German post office Deutsche Post AG noticeably. As a consequence, the European standard of comparison, which had been used until now, is going to be altered in favour of the German post office. The latter justifies the increase in postage prices with the decreasing amount of letters sent due to digitalisation. The last postage increase was issued in 2016. The prices increased from then 62 cents to 70 cents per letter.

Phillip Strauch, founder of invoicefetcher®, already predicted this development in 2008: "Back then I happened to be in the post office of a big company. Around 80% of the incoming mail was invoices. What was crazy about that is that those were all digital invoices which were then sent again as letters as soon as the postage had been paid. Having arrived at the addressee, the invoices in paper format were digitalised again for further processing – I could hardly believe my eyes. What nonsense!". This happened in 2008 when, according to the Billentis report, approximately 28 billion invoices were issued, of which only 5 per cent were sent digitally.

"It was clear to me that this was not acceptable, neither economically nor ecologically. Obviously, a change like the one caused by digitalisation is complex process. Such processes might temporarily cause collateral damage. Observing this was the initial spark that eventually led to the development of invoicefetcher®", says Phillip Strauch. In addition to that, he was asked by his parents, whenever he would come over, to download their digital invoices for them from the various confusing websites. The providers, who had issued the invoices, did not even inform their customers that a new invoice was available online. "This is not only bad customer service, but also extremely annoying", says Phillip Strauch. Companies should hire employees who deal with that.

The trend towards digital bill is getting bigger!

"Today, invoicefetcher® regularly and fully automatically downloads digital invoices from the shop of the German post office (Deutsche Post AG), from their website for their business clients as well as from DHL eBilling and DHL Business Customer Portal. This is the same company which, according to their own statements, has to increase the prices for postage due to the decrease in the amount of letters sent so that they will be able to keep working efficiently", explains Phillip Strauch. invoicefetcher® also downloads the digital invoices from the websites of other parcel services, such as UPS, FedEx, Transglobalexpress, Illox, and from other industries.

You can download your invoice manually in several steps for each stamp order at or automate this activity with invoicefetcher®.

This is how you download your invoice from the Deutsche Post Shop:

  1. Log in with your user account, enter your user name and password and then click on Log in now.
  2. Go to My account to get to the account overview.
  3. Change to the tab Order History.
  4. In the column Invoice-No. you can download your invoice as PDF invoice.

Young entrepreneur Phillip Strauch had to wait for three years, however, before he was able to put his plans into action. This was due to issues with the legal recognition of digital invoices. On the 1st July 2011 a law (Steuervereinfachungsgesetz) was passed that declared digital invoices legally equal to invoices in paper format. Since the November of 2018, the German government has made use of § 4a of the so called E-Government-Gesetzes (E-government law), which regulates the standards (see XRechnung) for electronic invoices. Starting on the 27th of November 2020, invoices for public clients will have to be issued electronically. "This will drive forth the trend towards digital invoices. The use of letters will decrease even further. The question is how much more the German post office (Deutsche Post AG) wants to increase the prices for postage when they will eventually hardly deliver any mail", explains the CEO of invoicefetcher®. "In any case, we are prepared and encourage digitalisation. I think this is the right way! invoicefetcher® will become a digital invoice mailbox for customers and suppliers", Phillip Strauch announces.

The amount of letters sent has been decreasing for years. However, people in Germany still spend billions on letter mail. With over 18.6 million mailings, Germany still surpasses all other European countries, followed not so closely by the United Kingdom with 16.1 million mailings. France comes in third with 11.5 million – then there is a large gap. Italy follows France on rank four with only just about three million mailings. In Germany, 13 billion Euros are being spend on letters alone. "I do not think that this is appropriate at this point in time at all", comments the CEO of invoicefetcher®. "Since Ray Tomlinson sent the first e-mail in 1971, a long time has passed. It is time to deal with current developments", says Mr Strauch. "And we will not have to worry about our postmen and women, we will still need them. The number of packages sent is still rising." By the way: Although the German post office (Deutsche Post AG) is legally obligated to deliver mail every day, they are not following their obligations anymore.

Are you happy to download all of your invoices from 20 different web portals individually every month?

Digitalisation does not automatically mean one's life is becoming easier or that a company is becoming more efficient. While invoices arrived in one place in the company, e.g. by mail, back in the day, they are now being uploaded to the respective provider’s website. There are more than a few who do not even send the invoices via e-mail. Are you happy to download all of your invoices from 20 different web portals individually every month? It takes away hours from your day! If you receive many invoices, you might not be able to deal with the situation for much longer. And this is exactly where invoicefetcher® can help you: we do the work for you. Digitalisation should and could be a lot of fun with the right tools at hand. Digitalisation should be able to do more than just keeping the clocks at the train station in time. To the CEO of invoicefetcher® digitalisation is most of all the automatisation of processes and collaboration.

It is also a fact that the the classic business letter is disappearing into obscurity. Nowadays, even contracts are increasingly being processed and sent electronically. The communication between companies happens in many ways these days. GDPR compliant messenger services on smartphones, such as Signal, Threema, Hoccer, SIMSme and Wire play an equally important role as Slack and RocketChat. Groupware tools, such as Zimbra, Microsoft's Office365 or Google's G Suite are important tools of digital communication between companies. Each company has to examine meticulously whether all their data security regulations are met by the respective programme. The classic letter in paper format, however, is dead. The invoicefetcher® team, for example, uses RocketChat for the communication within the company – stored on our own servers in Germany we have full control over it at all times.

One thing is clear: the future is digital. invoicefetcher® will play an important role in this process. ‘We have to create our digital future now. Our goal is to become the standard for the exchange of digital invoices. "Until then we will have to make the download of our clients digital invoices possible for each provider individually", Mr Strauch explains. The young businessman cannot explain why letters are still being sent by mail. One question, however, remains: what will the German post office (Deutsche Post AG) do when the amount of letters sent decreases even further. Will the costs for postage simply increase infinitely in order to save the company?

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