CFR Free Mobile

My apologies for the somewhat long and complicated story but if anyone has any advice, it would be much appreciated!

I used to study in France and so have (HAD as I have cancelled this phone plan in the last few days) a phone plan with Free Mobile. I then was working as a tour guide for trips all over Europe (which is why I kept the French phone plan as it didn’t make sense to change it as it worked all over Europe) and on one of my trips I purchased SIM cards for some of my clients (a mistake I wont make again). The assistant in the Free Mobile shop assured me that the 30 day sim was pre paid and that they could not have any bills associated to my account.

However, 4 of them did manage to create charges (from data used during their flights home via the UAE). Free did not notify me of this at the time and I only found out about it in April when I got threatening emails from the CFR. I ignored the first set of emails as I assumed it was a scam, but have since confirmed that they are bills from Free, as when I log in to the espace abonnée, I can see the bills (but it does not give me a detailed breakdown of the bills themselves).

The shop assistant clearly lied to me when I bought these sims, but I can do little to prove this. I have contacted Free on twitter, but they have told me to write to the company. CFR have now said I only have 10 days to rectify payment or they’ll send the case to the huissier de justice, so I do not have time to be sorting this by letter. I begrudge paying the bills, as I was lied to when I took out the plans, but the clients certainly wont pay it.

Now my real question - I set up the accounts using the address of the hotel that we stayed at. Would the CFR really be able to bring a case against me? I now live back in the UK and the only contact they have is my email. I’m not sure they could really do anything with this but wouldn’t want this being held against me.

Any thoughts on whether they could track me own? The amounts owed in total are 140 EUR (one bill is only for 2 euros). Would they really pursue legal action over such a small sum? Alternatively, if anyone knows who I could speak to about this then that would also be appreciated!

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Hi Jessica,
Welcome to SF.
Yours is an interesting problem.
Although you bought the SIM cards, I understand that they were not installed in telephones owned by you.
So I think you could argue that the liability for payment lies with the owners of those phones. Presumably they would have had to register with Free in order to activate those cards. Maybe they have already attempted to recover these debts from the owners of those phones and having had no response, they are now coming after you.
I have no legal qualifications, but I think it is very unlikely that they will pursue you through the UK courts. I don’t know how CFR operates, but I don’t imagine that the huissier would have any powers in the UK. Do they know your UK address, or could they find it out from the hotel? I suppose they could sell the “debt” to a UK debt collection company.
However, I think you have a good defence.
You bought the SIM cards on behalf of some people who did not speak French.
They were never installed in any phone belonging to you.
Any debts incurred are the responsibility of the users.

It sounds to me like a try on. But maybe they can argue that purchase of the cards implies that you have made a contract. Did you pay by card or cash? Thought I can’t imagine your bank would give any information about you, except if demanded by the UK Police.
But others on this site may be able to give you better advice, so don’t do anything in a hurry.

I haven’t bought a SIM card for a long time but I’m fairly sure that when I did I signed a contract. From what I’ve seen the basic Free SIM offers two hours and a small bit of data for a fee and anything on top will be charged, charged to the person who bought the card and signed for it.
It’s probably best to pay the money and try to reclaim what’s due from the individuals who used the cards.

Can’t see how how Jessica could do that. Even If she knew which individual owned each card, they accepted them on the understanding that there would be no additional charges, so I don’t think that would be a reasonable thing to do.

Thanks both for your responses!

I never used the sims personally, but the contracts were taken out in my name so I do think it is my responsibility to pay it. I’m just annoyed that the conditions weren’t explained to me upon buying them.

I used my company card to pay for the sims so I doubt they could trace that through the bank, and in theory I guess the hotel could contact my company in order to get into contact with me but that would mean they’ve either opened post addressed to me (an offense in itself) or they’ve had a visit from a bailiff (but all hotels are closed for now anyway).

The SIM cards were the 20 euro option so it includes 25GB of data in Europe and that’s all they wanted it for really. I paid by card but believed the shop assistant when he said that I’d only pay the cost upfront and it was prepaid. These would be easily bought in the UK so I (wrongly) assumed the same in France.

You’re right in thinking I would not be able to track them down Mike, I didn’t take note of which card I gave to which client. We arrived late into a one night stop so I wanted to give people as much time as possible in the city and handed them out late on the coach on the way home. But as you say, I dont think it would be fair to charge the clients either (besides this trip was also in December but the bureaucracy of the whole thing has taken until now to get to the bottom of!)

Will have more of a think about it but I think I’ll end up paying it because I don’t want it hanging over me. An expensive lesson learnt not to try and save people the hassle in this way again!

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Could make a good story to entertain future clients, with a great punch line, “There is no Free lunch!”

But it might be worth answering their email with your version of events and hope for a sympathetic hearing, before you finally give in…

Just pay up and chalk it up to experience. Check their website for the t&c on that sort of sim card, it might give you more information.


just wondering if any more bills will be run-up in your name… :zipper_mouth_face:

What does CFR stand for ???

Good point stella.
As you still “own” the sims - cancel the contracts?

They were 30 day sims so they expired after that time and they can’t add anymore to the bill at least! CFR is a company free mobile essentially set up to collect debts on their behalf. It’s frustrating that they didn’t contact me about this before it went to them.

My advice Jessica is for the sake of 140 quid and the potential for hassle further down the road just pay up. You’re lucky in a way, people have racked up thousands unbeknownst on aircraft and ship satellite roaming. That said, Free are quick to smack you with charges when you go over the 25GB roaming limit but they seem to switch your data off after you hit 50 euros excess charge. They caught me twice that way. But, fool me once and all that :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi, I had a similar problem too. I was an exchange student in France and had to go back to my country due to covid19. I wanted to cancel my subscription for which I sent multiple letters and emails to Free. However its been 3 months and I still get charged. I have tried contacting customer service multiple times but get no response. Does anyone have any solutions as to go about this. I have received emails from the CFR regarding the payment without me even using the SIM card.

Hi Claire and welcome to SF!
Please add your surname as per our T&C before posting again - thanks!

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sorry to hear that Claire. I’m afraid you just have to keep trying. I think you also need to send a lettre de resiliation by registered post.

We have been with Free since they first existed as an internet provider and my hubby has put many people onto them over the years. We all have the €2 sims HOWEVER the teenager decided it was a good idea to send ‘oui’ when he got an ad asking if he wanted the full package for €9.90 / month for a year. They didn’t confirm with dh (the account holder!!!) in any way email etc and just went off what a 14 year old sent. Their response to us was awful, didn’t care, wouldn’t refund, wouldn’t turn it back to the €2 card until 3 months had passed and then only with the letter so we ended up paying out €40. We cancelled his card with them. All that to say their CS is AWFUL, call centre not in France (Morocco I think).

You can send letters on La Poste website which is how I contacted them. Their twitter account is also responsive but not the most helpful. Hope that helps!

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Hi Jessica. I have the same problem about free mobile. I was an exchange student in France and I already came back to Canada due to covid. I also ignored their emails at first but now they are giving me only 15 days to pay or else they’re going to do something against me. I just want to know what you did in the end coz I’m really worried. Thank you.

Did you send a formal letter of résiliation by registered post? That usually works better than general emails

I ended up paying it but then they charged me a fee for paying it late and another fee for something else and now I’ve just blocked the emails and I’m ignoring it because it’s ridiculous.

If you do decide to write a letter - you can post it on la poste website - a lot easier and cheaper than sending it from Canada!

Hey Jessica, it’s me again, i just have one more question about free mobile. Are they still charging you until now? Because if that’s the case then I’m not going to pay mine. It’s ridiculous!!

Hi! They’re not taking the money because I had it linked to a work credit card that is no long in use but they email me regularly chasing for more and more payments. I paid the first few but now it’s just ridiculous. It’s only 3 euros per contract, so I doubt they’ll actually take that to court.