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to refuse to give money to the bank/ignore their letters?

17 replies

Patapouf · 20/07/2015 00:23

I have reached my absolute maximum tolerance with them and I very much want to ignore them and leave my (now negative) balance for them to deal with.

Long story short: I had a french bank account, i left france and it took months to cancel my tenants insurance through my account (its linked). I have tried to cancel my legal insurance and they don't seem to be letting me. I have written on two occasions and sent the letters to the correct dept by recorded delivery. according to the terms of the insurance contract I'm allowed to cancel it, plus it was only a one year policy which i have now been paying for over 18months. I transferred a chunk of money to my french account to cover my account fees and the insurance for the cancellation notice period (a month) but have since received a letter saying my account is overdrawn.
this happened before when they didnt cancel my tenants insurance the first time i asked them to because they continued to take payment after id thought it had been cancelled. I know they will send more until i 'regularise' my account.

Ive logged in online and they have taken a further two months worth of insurance payments after i cancelled it. I did not hear back from them after the last time I tried to cancel it (they didnt confirm my tenants insurance cancellation either so this didnt seem abnormal). Im livid! I wanted to close my account this month but I can't when there are active direct debits, which i can't even cancel because of how the policy is linked to my account.

whats the worst that can happen? I've heard rumours that expats who leave end up having an order against them banning them from having a bank account in france for a period of 5 years, but this may be complete bollocks.

A pox on la banque postale.

OP posts:

GloriousGoosebumps · 20/07/2015 05:52

I know nothing about the French banking system but isn't there an Ombudsman or equivalent that you can complain to?


amicusapple · 20/07/2015 06:06

I'm not sure about France, but in the UK, a Direct Debit is an agreement between you and the beneficiary. Even if you cancel it with the bank, the insurance company can request it is reinstated.

I would write a letter of complaint explaining what you've just said, if there is bank error they should take steps to correct it.

Don't walk away, it will only be you who is impacted negatively.


JellyMould · 20/07/2015 06:10

Have you cancelled the policy and the direct debit? I thought the opposite with direct debits - the company can change the amount its for but if you cancel it they can't reinstate it.


amicusapple · 20/07/2015 06:33

You can cancel it with the bank but, in the UK it can be reinstated (via AUDDIS).


Booboostwo · 20/07/2015 07:09

Ah France, you've got to love them. Took us three years to cancel our house insurance. For that we needed to wait for the renewal invitation letter, sent a month before renewal and send it in with the cancellation letter. We failed to do that the first year. The second year we sent in too late, but that was because the insurer sent the letter to U.S. Too late (trick of the trade) so the third year we sent in the letter plus the envelope showing the date we had received it and we were finally allowed to cancel it.

I would suggest that you are not dotting the Is and crossing the Ts in something to do with your cancellation attempts.

Then again we changed bank accounts and it took 10 months for all our direct debits to be moved. It was a horror with endless paperwork for each company (electric, water, phone, tolls), repeatedly submitted and repeatedly ignored by either the old bank, the new bank or the company.

Do you have an insurance agent who could advise you? Ours managed to get us out of our contract but I am not sure we would have figured it out on our own.


LadyCuntingtonThe3rd · 20/07/2015 07:15

I wouldn't be surprised if they just ignored the letters. I'm coming from another EU country and everything there is done by email. So actual letters might be missed.


Patapouf · 20/07/2015 08:20

I have no idea re: ombudsman actually, I'll look into it.

The fact that they are the insurer is what's making it so annoying, if it were a separate company I think it would have been easier as it would not have been tied to my account. I can't cancel the direct debit without prior permission from the recipient.

lady it's the 'rules' that serious letters are sent snail mail recorded delivery in France. It would be so much easier to email and it wouldn't cost me £6 to send a letter!

OP posts:

nicecomfymat · 20/07/2015 08:54

You have my sympathies. The two or three years I had a French bank account were my years of administrative hell.

It took years months to get anything done. You can't just walk away though. You have to take a deep breath and keep trying.


Hoppinggreen · 20/07/2015 09:26

No idea about French banks but if they are anything like Spanish ones then may the force be with you!!!!!!


Patapouf · 20/07/2015 09:33

Opening the account was hell, I was foolish to think closing it down would be straightforward.

I'm going to summon the energy to write to them again, it's not even a lot of money each month but it's money I shouldn't bloody well have to pay.

Glad to see I'm not the only one mistreated by French bureaucracy Wink

OP posts:

UrethraFranklin1 · 20/07/2015 11:30

Isnt SEPA europe wide now? Under sepa rules you can get any direct debits back if you fill in a form stating the reasons they should not have been taken.


Patapouf · 20/07/2015 20:49

Ooh really? I have no idea if they'll accept me saying they shouldn't take the money when it's them that have decided to keep taking it Sad

OP posts:

UrethraFranklin1 · 20/07/2015 21:00

They dont have a choice under sepa rules, they have to repay it.


Patapouf · 21/07/2015 11:00

Ahh okay, I'll give that a go then. Thank you!

OP posts:

Patapouf · 21/07/2015 11:06

I've just had a Google and there seem to be a lot of people having the same problem with the same bank/insurer.

Apparently the contract has automatically renewed and I have to wait until two months before the next annual renewal date before I have another bash at cancelling it. Gah.

OP posts:

honeyroar · 21/07/2015 12:12

Many years ago when I left France I had a payment into my account that arrived after I'd left. I transferred the money over to the uk bit the added a charge so my account went overdrawn. I sent money to bring it back to zero, but they added another charge for that, so my account was overdrawn again. They were arseholes, just adding on what they felt so the account would never be closed. After they did it a third time I went to a British consulat and they wrote a stern letter to the bank, who suddenly dropped all charges and closed my account.

Why must the French be so pedantic! I remember both times that I lived in France I had a phone line and they used to give you a phone. When I was leaving France I took the phone back and said I wanted to pay my bill and close the account. The person Behind the counter said "oh no, can't take your money today, I can't process it, it will take 6-8 weeks", I reply, but I'm leaving the country the day after tomorrow, I'm here with a fistful of francs to pay before I leave..." "Oh no, you can't do that,you'll have to come back". So both times I've not paid my bill. And I'm really not like that usually, but it was so difficult to pay I gave up.


Patapouf · 21/07/2015 15:05

It's infuriating isn't it? I cannot get my head around why they would want to over complicate everything.

OP posts:
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