Credit Agricole/Axa

Heads Up. Axa and Credit Agricole. Be very careful. In 2019 I was convinced by Credit Agricole in Trebes to convert my household insurance from AXA Nice to them. “we’ll take care of cancelling AXA, trust us” they said. But I have only recently found out they screwed up, transposing 2 digits on the policy number in the cancellation letter to AXA Nice (though they had my name, account number and property’s address correct). I was stuck in Australia because of Covid and couldn’t log on to my account ( almost all emails to CA ignored and even when they requested my Australian phone no, they never rang). Finally got back to Trebes in August 2022 and even then it took them 4 months to enable logon to my account. First thing I saw was almost €2,000 taken by AXA Nice for the “cancelled” insurance. Credit Agricole admit their error but refuse to take any corrective action and AXA refuse to cancel even after recent registered letter cancelling again or deal with anyone but the bank ( who refuse to act or even contact AXA). I used to be a fan of Axa and had my campervan insurance with them for years. No more . Don’t touch either AXA Nice or CA Trebes

A good warning but the main reason why I will not, unless absolutely forced (Orange for example) sign any carte blanche to take money out of our bank accounts after having a similar problem many years ago. Almost all my my regular payments are paid directly by me as soon as I receive the amount notifications.

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I totally agree and hate direct debits with a passion. However I understand most organisations e.g. ISPs, tax office, insurance, water and electricity won’t accept any thing else. Is there a way to pay (which I am happy to do ) but without losing control to dishonest and inept banks

Not sure about banking but I wonder if @fabien has a view on the insurance overpayment by way of advice.

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Do you pay monthly @Steve_Cox ? I ask because all those you mention, apart from ISPs, do not insist on direct debit if you pay the full amount required.
The only DDs I have are to Orange and Netflix,

I am quite happy with annual payments.

I tend to spend 6 months each year in France, the other 6 months in Australia. If i can work out how to do it without giving up my first born (OK with second born), annual payments could just be another activity when I get there.

But does it actually get rid of the dreaded direct debits or just make them more spread out?. Eg if I decided to change insurance company, can i just not pay the next annual bill or do I have to go through the whole cancellation by registered mail process (which hasnt worked btw)

Hi Graham, indeed, very interesting conversation. I see multiple things to be addressed here:

  • Firstly: AXA’s refusal to cancel the policy => If the cancellation letter was badly formed then it’s the right thing to do to refuse cancellation. You have to understand that insurers in France have been sued for having cancelled an insurance policy and leaving the customer “without insurance”. Basically, if there is even the slightest doubt that there is something wrong in the cancellation (motive not legal, wording incorrect, etc.) the customer (or another broker/agent) could sue the former company (the one that accepted the cancellation) to make them cover any potential claim that may have happen or money loss for example. Because of that French insurers are super picky with cancellation usually.
  • Secondly: Credit agricole’s behaviour => If you have some writtings from them saying that they’ll take care of the cancellation and they didn’t and you ended-up paying twice or having any sort of money loss in that process then you’re legally entitled to question their “devoir de conseil”. This is a serious business in France (although very few know that they can basically sue the insurer for free). You should write to credit agricole a “réclamation” (with that exact wording) and make a formal “ask” to them. If they fail to respond or don’t respond in the way you’d like then you can write to “le médiateur de l’assurance” after 60 days from your initial complaint (réclamation) and then they’ll be in serious trouble believe me (the last thing I want is for the mediateur to stick his noise into my business).
  • Thirdly: Direct debits => No using them in France is calling for trouble. We have tons of laws to make sure you’re not debited if you shouldn’t be or have been and even if that happens we also have plenty or recourses against fraudulent debits. The problem is that, coming from a British or American perspective this is a massive cultural difference and one needs to understand that French are mostly undisciplined so most insurances are mandatory and therefore the government made it very difficult to cancel a policy (but not to change insurer - loi hamon or résiliation infra annuelle for example). Because of that context direct debits are the best to make sure you remain insured no matter what without leaving the client the ability to “not pay” for the insurance and therefore reducing the risk of people not being insured from the government’s perspective. It’s really important to understand the cultural difference as this is not the initial insurer’s will but rather a will of the state to limit bad customer behaviour. That being said you can find policies without direct debit but this would severely limit your options and most of the time that means you’d end-up with an expensive policy or at least a policy more expensive than you could have secured should you have accepted direct debits.

Hope I’ve shed some light on some of the topics discussed here? If not I’m still around to answer some more questions :wink:


Couple of additional items i left off for brevity

Axa. Long story but for a short period I had 2 houses and associated insurance with Axa. Credit Agricole attempted to cancel both but stuffed up on (they have told me) transposing one number on the policy number. They admit they were at fault. My name, billing address, client no etc were the same for both policies. As i couldnt logon to my Credit Agricole account for 3 years, i only detected the cockup after 3 years Axa have finally now refunded the duplicate charge on one but not the other. Axa say they will only deal with Credit Agricole, Credit Agricole claim they are not permitted to contact Axa (despite being keen to do so when they were taking over the insurance).

Bouygues refuse to cancel a d/d for a sim i havent used for 4 years (lost phone) despite frequent requests, registered letter cancellation etc unless I provide proof I have sold my house and moved. Yes for a mobile phone.

There’s more but that will do as a summary of two of them. Ask me why i hate direct debits

And sorry. Thank you for the response/advice

Steve - my total sympathy! Similar happened to a friend way back where she had to bring in a legal representative at her cost, a route I suggest that you consider following. In her case she had a situation where someone wanted to pay her through PayLib. Knowing little of banking, she called her branch (yes, CA!) where a young lady told her not to use it as it is a scam. My friend lost out on the sale despite being told that CA actually champion PayLib :rofl: Of course when challenged, the branch manager in typical fashion, shut the door. A few threats from a top law firm saw to it and my friend was compensated.

I have no complaints at all regarding France except for two things - the Victor Hugo era that the banks still live in, and the complete arrogance of insurance companies. They are both self centered industries here that have managed to dominate our lives to their whims. No one likes the situation, equally no one fights it! As for their attitude - such as you have experienced - is nothing short of disgraceful.

Hope you sort it as it is a lot of money to walk away from


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Thanks for the sympathy but its worse than it seems.

I have lost well over €3,000 so far and Axa continue to refuse to cancel the insurance 3 years later so will be processing over €700 wrongly this year as well

I love France as well but hate the banks, insurance companies and phone/ internet providers

This is terrible! Do not tell me - AXA will not cancel the insurance because you have not sent a cancellation note on their form by registered mail, yes?

Steve, these fonctionaires are being allowed to get away with it. You really must get some legal representation. It is disgraceful that you are paying all this to prop up these guys who are already well overpaid.

@fabien has, from what I see, clearly set out the route to getting this matter resolved.

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Quite by chance, in the mail this morning, there was the 2 monthly EDF bill. Pausing only to check their figures (I keep a weekly record of the meter readings), I paid it in full using an online TIP. Just a few clicks and it’s all sorted. The email confirmation arrived within 5 minutes.

For Buoygues there is a specific address to cancel - it’s hidden in their web site.

The simplest relatively foolproof method is to use the online registered letters. La Poste has model letters and the address you need. Lettre resiliation buoygues is what to Google. There are other sites that I find easier than la poste but there’s an extra euro or two charge via them. But just use the correct template - buoygues have 10 days to cancel from receipt.

Organise cancellation separately from any argument or you’ll be paying whilst they argue.

Credit agrocole will stop direct debits but it can take some stubbornness. They can no longer refuse instructions over direct debits but it hasn’t sunk into most CA managers yet who still seem to think it’s 1940.

Yes, they told me the only way was to close the account. Guess what I did. :rofl:

Credit Agricole refuse to stop Direct debits even though they verbally admit the associated charge only exists because of their error and refuse to contact Axa to stop the charges. Both Axa and Credit Agricole have ignored letters sent via registered mail requesting cancellation .

Lots of people recommending I get lawyers involved. Whilst I appreciate the advice, i have no idea of costs and my experience (though not in France) is that litigation only results in transferring lots of money to lawyers

Interested in reactions/ advice on this scenario (I am back in Australia till May but Credit Agricole have now removed my ability to logon to my account btw so cant do much till May)

1 I stop topping up the account. It will run out of funds by about September.

  1. I visit tax authorities in May and change taxes to be annual and paid by credit card.

3 I take out insurance with someone other than Axa but pay annual bill by credit card

4 That leaves water, electricity and internet/phone and not sure what options there.
Phone and Internet are contract free but I am sure there will be weasely fine print. I have emailed phone provider Free (who I thought had been set up for D/D but apparently not) and paid the one month outstanding . I also explained that i would not be doing d/d and if they couldn’t handle credit card to please cancel the phone (as they had threatened to do)

Emailed EDF ( and fair play quick response in very good English) and their approach is their d/d is working so dont change it

Suez haven’t responded nor have Sosh (Orange subsidiary for internet)

Suggestions or comments please and thanks for the sympathy and advice so far

Just as an aside, neither Axa or Crédit Agricole employees are fonctionnaires :wink:

Steve, get Crédit Agricole to deal with it, it’s their cock-up and they should sort it out :wink:


I have tried repeatedly to get Credit Agricole to fix their cock up and Axa to refund past overcharges and cancel future overcharges including the registered letter approach. Just been ignored and Credit Agricole have now removed the ability to logon via my phone

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Why do so many french establishments forget who’s money it is and who the client is?

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