Repair bonus restarts after fraud cases – this time customers have to pay in advance

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According to the Climate Protection Ministry, a “second chance for electrical appliances” should be the repair bonus, And the repair bonus is now also getting a second chance. After accumulating fraud cases, the campaign was paused in the summer. As of September 25, it will continue with an “additional safety net,” according to the ministry.

Up to 50% of the repair costs for damaged electrical appliances, including smartphones, toasters, televisions, and lawnmowers, are covered by the repair bonus. The maximum funding amount per repair is 200 euros. People residing in Austria can apply for the voucher from next week on the Repair Bonus website.

Over five million euros in damage
The campaign began in April 2022, and by summer, Kommunalkredit Public Consulting (KPC), responsible for processing the scheme, had identified 56 businesses suspected of fraud. Now the number has risen further: 70 companies are under investigation for a total amount of damage of 5.3 million euros, the Climate Ministry told the Ö1 “Morgenjournal.”

The companies are suspected of having submitted falsified repairs. The Criminal Investigation Department and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office are responsible for the investigations because the repair bonus is financed with EU funds. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is also involved.

The Climate Protection Ministry has tightened the safety net for processing the new repair bonus. In the future, the subsidy will be paid out directly to customers. They will take the prize to the company as before, but in the future, they will have to finance the repair in advance.

The company then submits the bonus to Kommunalkredit, which transfers the money directly to the customer’s account. In addition to their contact details, customers will, therefore, have to provide their account number. The ministry stresses that the repair voucher remains anonymous, so the partner company cannot access users’ personal data.

By the break in the summer, 673,061 repair vouchers with a total funding amount of 69.7 million euros had been submitted. A total of 130 million euros is available until 2026. Whether the new regulation will reduce demand for the bonus remains to be seen. However, the number of companies participating in the scheme has fallen. Instead of 3,500, only 2,000 companies will be participating in the future.

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