Debiting My French Bank Account

Irmgard, this sounds as if your credit card has been cloned (or whatever). What have you done about these deductions and have you requested a replacement credit card ??

Ah yes, a Government Body… mmm… they who must be obeyed ! slightly different from SFR or Joe Bloggs etc…

So, it got sorted and with a reasonable explanation for the mixup… and all monies were refunded to you - excellent!

(We had to defend a neighbour from the Huissier - another example of same-name but wrong-person…)

However, every enterprise which asks for a DDebit form to be signed, will carry the get-out that if “they” take a payment in error “they” will refund it… so if folks keep an eye on their bank account any errors will show up and can be sorted out with “whoever”.


John, you’ve attributed a quote to me that I actually expressed the opposite view on :wink: maybe somebody could correct this? @Stella ?

But yes, the government does have rights over and above private companies when it comes to recovering what they think is due.

Re CA, I bank with them as well and they always come good and sort things out in the end, although they do tend to spend the first few minutes of every conversation putting forward reasons why there isn’t a problem/it’s not their problem/I’ve misunderstood the situation/there’s nothing they can do. I don’t know why they do that, but once they get over that you can almost see them doing a reset and going straight from obstructive mode to helpful efficient mode, when they spring into action and get on the computer and do the necessary.

It would be nice to be able to say that you always get advance notification of direct debits but in fact just last month CA failed to advise me that my annual insurance premium was due. I happened to remember at the very last minute, checked online to see how much it was going to be and shifted some money from my business to my personal account the same day it was debited. I was a bit annoyed about that.

You make a good point Anna… I have checked my bank a/c and can no longer see the section which listed all those folk for whom the bank had received authorisation to pass DD’s on my account.

That is something I will be chatting about with my “advisor” when I next get into the bank…

I know the bills do list when payments will be taken, but I can’t always lay my hands on the paperwork… and if I don’t mark it immediately into the diary… ooops…

Sorry Anna my mistake. please accept my apologies.
I saw the quote and copied it to respond not realising it would link to you.
technology has passed me by !

1 Like

You and me both John :smiley:

1 Like

Alright I can see that the French government thinks this is OK behaviour. Debatable in the wider sense but (as with a lot of things) something that one has to accept.

But what on earth is the justification for the bank taking 10%?

Yes I thought so too and took it up with Vinci who denied an6 wrongdoings. I changed the credit cards and now take a receipt out of machine.
Worked out 38 euros removals this year so far by Vinci and I was told by the bank to be vigilant with my statement and replace the card which I did.
I have now stopped payments with 3 companies despite sending them registered mail of bank statements. I never received a reply only sms with complaints that the account was not paying.
Let’s see the outcome.

gosh… sounds a nightmare… I believe the Gendarmes have a Fraud section and perhaps that is something you could ask them about… :thinking:

As a disincentive?
Because it’s extra work for them?
Because it’s in their terms and conditions which you agreed to when you opened the account?
If it goes to the next stage and they freeze your account because the money isn’t there to be taken, it costs a lot more!

Yes I changed the credit card but Vinci still kept charging me from Monaco to Antibes in one day twice. I am not racing for fun around the Autoroutes but they cannot see it despite the proof of my absence!
I guess they are robots and not humans.
Well I keep checking !

How do Vinci get details of your credit card??? something is definitely dodgy…

John didn’t say (unless I missed it) that the withdrawal took him overdrawn and we’re talking about 100€ for the two payments which is way more than the actual cost to the bank.

And the UK has done a lot to reduce unreasonable charges even if people do inadvertently go overdrawn.

It doesn’t do anything to shift my impression that the main French banks still think it is 1970

1 Like

You’re absolutely right, he didn’t, my bad and I realised it straight after I posted and changed it - but you’d already replied.

Hello Paul
No it didn’t make me overdrawn.
My PB is really good with her customers, if she sees a potential overdrawn situation looming or happen then on the same day she will transfer money from savings account to balance the books, assuming that there is money in another account of course!
She did just that on this occasion so effectively the account was in credit when the impot payment was made.
She advised me that if her manoeuvre of cash had not been done then the 10% that the bank levied would have been even higher.
I agree that 10% seems alot but I am advised that it is an agreed standard charge

It’s interesting to find that the French system of policy cancellation works exactly the way it does in Spain. I am forewarned.

That would be fine if you are absolutely sure that there is no payment due that you have forgotten to factor in. Embarrassing to have a demand bounced back and you have two institutions miffed - the one you would like to have paid and now, the bank.

I keep a spreadsheet - a bank reconciliation - of my two bank accounts. Future obligations are inserted against their due dates in bold and italics, until debited from the account, when the entry goes non-bold/non-italic. The future payments are included in the balance column just as the paid debits are.

A debit taken against info gleaned from cheques - I call that a major outrage. In Anglo-Saxon we call that theft.

Before you go ballistic I would just double check all the paperwork from when you set up this insurance in the first place. In general with French insurance they will require continuous renewal because, as others have said, french insurance contracts have to be cancelled. And normally this arrangement will be part of setting up the initial contract. Just because you paid by cheques it doesn’t mean that there isn’t something in the contract that gives them authorisation. So do check!

Do also remember that if you didn’t cancel the policy then you have a duty to pay even if they were wrong to take it from your account without warning. So it might be that a softer approach might be more likely to get them to agree to repay you than being too aggressive… Did you not get any reminder of the renewal?

It is tempting, but unwise. If the bank is forced to honour the debit, then if you have no agreed overdraft facility, you will potentially be declared “interdit bancaire”, which brings with it a whole range of other potential problems.

Indeed, there is a probability that the insurer sent a reminder that included a slip as part of the letter on which the notice of direct debit was included using the account details gleaned from past payment with cheques. This is not at all uncommon. “Tacit reconduction” of the contract also covers payment, and the user doesn’t have to explicitly approve the debit if the creditor has the debtor’s bank details.

The “impôts” are what is known as a “special creditor” under the law. They have exceptional powers to recover debt, and if a bank receives an order from them (even if you do not), they generally have to comply. Generally, though, the “impôts” will inform you in advance if it is making a “saisie sur compte”.