Friendly Advice Bureau

Catharine Higginson's picture
This group is geared towards helping people address legal and consumer issues on both sides of the channel. Come and share your tales of woe and triumph!
Ben Riley's picture

hey guys.. any information on changing a long stay visa to a working or residency visa?? my partner is french and im a new zealander if that makes a difference?? Thanks
Guillaume Barlet-Batada's picture

@Jeanette A preliminary consultation is free.
Guillaume Barlet-Batada's picture

Sorry for the late reaction but I have just realised our 100th (and 101st in fact) members! Congratulations and thank you all to make F.A.B. fab! In order to facilitate the access to different topics in this group and unless it is just a passing comment, it would be easier to add a discussion rather than add a comment to the wall as it becomes difficult to browse through the great number of messages you have left (keep them coming!). A bientôt!
Guillaume Barlet-Batada's picture

Dear Jeanette, Could you please add this as a discussion? At this stage it is difficult to reply as there are many variables to consider in your matter. Please do not hesitate to include details if you wish. Otherwise, I would be happy to have a chat with you if you prefer. Important pieces of information include: the type of deed, the nature of the errors, the mention of any damage or loss incurred by these errors ... Best wishes,
Rebekah Brady's picture

Their no. is 0545 82 03 20 and email cognac@agence.generali.fr I used my bank for insurance for the first year and this was much more expensive than Generali, they were also pretty relaxed about a U.K reg car (the bank less so) also all those years ago the English agents were easier to understand and French insurance is complicated e.g it's harder to cancel just because you find some one cheaper/better and it rolls over each year unless you send a recorded letter to cancel it etc.
Sheila Walshe-Blackmore's picture

Well, just went to Assurland and filled in all the fields as best I could. As far as I could understand, my request for insurance has been sent to the local MMA chap, who was the cheapest. I'll try and get this done today, just in case we are not properly insured. Thanks Rebekah.
Rebekah Brady's picture

We've just got a new car and we had to insure it ourselves before driving it. Normally, the vendor's insurance ends asa they sell it. Generali will insure it straight away and email you a vignette to print out and put in the car, we normally pay by dd as we have various vehicles (van, scooter etc).
Sheila Walshe-Blackmore's picture

Thanks Rebekah. So I'm okay to drive it whilst shopping around for a new policy?
Rebekah Brady's picture

Normally the insurance ends when the car is sold and you have to take out a new policy, but you are right in thinking that the car is insured, so anyone with a licence can drive it. Why not shop around as prices vary considerably- we have found Generali in Cognac- done via phone/internet to be quite cheap and they speak English.
Sheila Walshe-Blackmore's picture

Could someone please explain to me the French method of car insurance? My understanding is that in France, unlike the UK or Ireland, the car is insured. I recently bought a car which is insured until end September. I contacted the AXA agent with whom the previous owner insured the car, and asked him to change the name on the policy to my name. He is now asking me to pay a full year's premium ( I think) but I don't understand the form he has emailed to me. He also wants a note of the mileage. My husband and I both have full, clean Irish licences, and a clean driving record, both for over 30 years. I have evidence of No Claims Bonus for 9 years. All documentary evidence has been scanned and sent to this agent. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Wendy Wise's picture

@Hilary, maybe ask Josette over in je ne sais quoi????
Hilary Newhall's picture

Could anyone tell me what 'Complex ptsd' (post traumatic stress disorder) would be in French? First step to getting some help. Thanks.
Kate Ryley's picture

What a crook!
James Higginson's picture

Glen that's appalling, thanks for the warning.
Wendy Wise's picture

It's probaly about 8 years ago, I suppose. If nobody comes up with a better answer, I'd be happy to phone a couple of people eg insurance co, DREAL (who check foreign vehicles). Is your door on the "wrong" side?
Wendy Wise's picture

@Christine, I had some friends who tried to register a British caravan without success because the door is on the wrong side, they gave up and sold it back in the UK.
Lorraine Langston's picture

Thank you so much. I hate leaving things unresolved and will feel much happier when everything is back on track. Communication is a wonderful thing isn't it!
Guillaume Barlet-Batada's picture

The “pink slip” of the French registered post with acknowledgement of reception (lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception or LRAR) is signed by the recipient and therefore proves the date of reception.
Guillaume Barlet-Batada's picture

@Lorraine Langston Dear Lorraine, Before appointing a new electrician, it would be advisable to send the “current” one a letter (recorded delivery) explaining that you relieve him from his obligation to carry out the work. In return, he will be bound not to request any further payment to what has been paid so far will constitute a final settlement for the work done so far. He may reply to this letter but in any case, it would be useful to add a deadline starting on the day of reception of the letter. You can explain that in the absence of any reply before the set date, it will be considered that he agrees to the terms of your letter and that the matter will therefore be considered as settled. You should then be able to appoint another electrician. CONSUEL (Comité National pour la Sécurité des Usagers de l’Electricité) can deliver a compliance certificate to evidence it to ERDF that will then, if the installation is compliant, connect the property. If you are already connected, the certificate should not be compulsory but an electrician may insist on this to evidence that his work is compliant (and potentially waive his liability). I hope this helps.
Lorraine Langston's picture

Dear Guillaume thank you for your message. The electrician decided to stop his business for personal reasons rather than financial. I feel he was fed up with all the paper work and prefers to work for someone else. I also gather from snippets of infromation gleaned over coffee that he began some studies relating to his work but gave up as he didn't enjoy studying?? We have payed two thirds of his bill which considering materials used we feel is fair.When for the second time he requested by e mail that we pay the whole of his bill I answered with an email that we meet at the house. Of course as so many times in the past he didn't turn up. He promised so often to complete pieces of work that we were used to him not turning up. It is now almost two years since he started. My concern is are we now within our rights to employ another electrician to finish the work and bring some of the work up to the current norms. The second electrician who took a brief tour of the work mentioned that we need the consuel to survey the house. Who are they?? I thought I'd done my bit by completing a dossier for ERDF. Are we required to send the previous electrician a letter by recorded delivery or see a justice or do we take his absence as a sign.. We only want to be fair even though we are dissapointed and feel let down. The electrician or lack of is slowing the progress of the renovation down and consequently costing us money and more importantly time. We are living in rented accomodation which only add to the costs. Thank you so much for your advice
Guillaume Barlet-Batada's picture

@Karen Boyd Dear Karen, My first observation is that you wish to build a chalet in which case a planning permission will be necessary and a CU will therefore not be necessary. As regards to taxe foncière (land tax), whoever is the owner on 1st January of a year will be liable for the tax at the end of the year. Considering that you take into account the residence, your question may actually be about taxe d’habitation. For this tax, whoever is the occupier on 1st January of a year will be liable for the tax at the end of the year. Bear in mind however that it is possible to be exempt from this tax for 2 years following completion of the property. I hope this helps.
Guillaume Barlet-Batada's picture

@Lorraine Langston Dear Lorraine, Having read your comment, it seems that there are two separate issues to be addressed: 1. If the electrician’s business is in administration or liquidation, you may wish to register as a creditor for the work paid but not yet carried out with the appointed liquidator. Gather all the papers, photos and invoices that you may have to provide copies to the liquidator. Obviously, if you seek compensation and there are no assets left in the company, there is little chance to retrieve anything from it but it is always worth registering. 2. As regards to the compliance of the works with the local authorities, it would be advisable to start by contacting the Mairie and discuss your situation. The objective will be to regularize the works by requesting the relevant authorisations before you can resume the rewiring. If these authorisations can be obtained, you will be able to correct the electrical shortcomings. Eventually, you can request a form from the Mairie to evidence completion of the works. I hope this will help.
Ron Fox's picture

You are probably guilty but not prosecutable. Joke
Lorraine Langston's picture

Advice please. We are renovating a 17 c farmhouse and are now thankfully nearing the end, or so we thought. We employed in May 2009 an electrician who seemed to be au fait with older properties and sympathetic to what we were trying to create. Although he was forever disappearing he seemed to be doing a reasonable job. It now transpires that he has dissolved his business. However despite this:- A friend of a friend (Another electrician) came to examine the work and stated that there were a number issues with our electricians work. One of the failings was that no contact had been made with the Consuel who apparently have the task of examining such renovation work and then either giving it the thumbs up or otherwise. Apparently this contact was one of the major stepping stones en-route to EDF making the final connection and is the responsibility of the electrician who is carrying out the work. The new electrician stated that the work so far would not likely pass as there were a number of problems. Although we have paid 2 instalments of the electrician's devis there is still a substantial amount of outstanding work. The type of things we are talking about include whole rooms unwired, connections to EDF boxes not made and lighting wires left hanging from the ceilings. The list of failings include light switches too low; joints in wires, cable runs in concrete floors left unfilled; to name but a few. Believe it or not we have now received his final bill. Obviously we are not paying - indeed all our local friend state that if we did then we would not see the electrician again. What I need to know is the correct way of notifying the electrician that we will not be paying, that we now do not want him to complete the work because of his sub-standard work and materials and not least the year and nine months it has taken to complete the work to the state that it is in now. We have been advised to notify him by recommende of our intentions and give him a time limit to contact us; to take the advice of an advocate and simply to refuse him entry. Has anyone out there been in a similar situation and does anyone have a similar experience Any advice greatfully received
James Higginson's picture

Hi Colin, Contact Judy Mansfield of First Rate FX, she can help you I'm sure. http://www.survivefrance.com/profile/JudyMansfield923 James
colin young's picture

Hello, not sure this is the best place to ask but anyway... I need to send some money (about 1000 euros) to my account in the UK. Can anyone advise as to the cheapest way of doing it. I have an account with Credit du nord in France. Any answers appreciated! Also happy St Paddy's day to everyone.
Kate Ryley's picture

You're a girl after my own heart! I come from cider drinking country (Devon/Somerset border) but now in the Gers so guess that pint will have to wait a while.....
Kate Ryley's picture

Cool! Mine's a pint of dry cider!
Jo Blick's picture

Kate that's great thanks I saved about 5 euros on what the man in La Poste told me it would be.. I owe you a drink!
Kate Ryley's picture

Jo Regarding sending books in the post there is a special cheap tarif for books etc - see link below. http://www.laposte.fr/courrierinternational/index.php?id=173&pdt_id=#accroche60 Or there is the MIni Max service for other items: http://www.laposte.fr/Particulier/Envoyez-et-recevez-du-courrier/Les-offres-et-conseils-pas-a-pas/1.-Mode-d-envoi/Mini-Max Cheers Kate