Email replies

Is it just me or do businesses in France tend to ignore emails?

Yes they do, if you do a pre or post phone call you may get a reply.

I needed to write a letter many years ago (before emails) and I’ve forgotten what about, but it was official & important and I contacted an English/French linguist to translate what I’d written in English. He told me if I sent what I had written (in French) it would go straight into the waste bin unread/unanswered because it was too long!

He shortened it. Something ‘short and sweet’ he told me would get answered.

There seems to me to be an annoying lack of patience in French officialdom. Probably applies to business as well.

I’m sure we’ve chewed this topic over and over a short while ago… :wink:
Basically, it is suggested that emails can fall into spam and/or companies get tooo many emails, so click on the ones they know… and the others fall by the wayside, further and further down the page…

Plus it’s a busy time of year/school holidays etc… companies are closed/short-staffed etc etc. :roll_eyes:

Best if you can get hold of someone… phone or face to face…

good luck

[What is the point of email in France?]

(What is the point of email in France?)

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: there’s been a similar discussion this year… 2023 :rofl: :rofl: so 10 years later… not bad really, not slow at all in fact… :wink:

More than once

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They ignore emails from weird names or adresses, they ignore emails if they have to work to understand them, they ignore emails if they have enough work on and don’t need more, they ignore emails if you have asked the wrong thing of the wrong person (will not forward to the right person).

But they will open and look at them if they they have specifically asked you to send something.

I recently was copied in to a formal email, and it was written in a rather different way. Much more formal than I would have done so that is perhaps also a factor.

I guess this begs the question “what is weird”? Not everyone has (or wants) a email address.

OK, but not everyone is a native French speaker. I’m sure writing in English would result in even less chance of a reply.

I can understand why they might not forward the email but not replying to say “sorry you need …” is just plain rude.

Quite possibly

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I deal with french companies a lot mainly in the Medical and aeronatical engineering world. I am amazed how swift they reply. Then again the civil service are not that quick but they do reply.

I must admit my experience is that they reply … eventually; it might take more than one email to prod them into action though (plus an AR or two).

Work to work communications are different. And as a UK civil servant dealing (at times) with France administration I never had an issue getting replies. It’s very different as a particulier.

No it’s not rude. People here stick pretty firmly to their role, and unless they can say/do something positive they won’t say/do anything at all. It’s just a different culture.

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It might be “a different culture” but it remains unhelpful - and pointing someone in the right direction is doing something positive.

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Well I leave it to you to re-educate a large majority of the french popution, their employers and their training programmes.

I have had a young neighbour recount passing something to a colleague and being told off twice. One for spending time on something outside their remit, and once by receiving colleague for daring to give them work. Obviously not all jobs operate like that, thankfully.


I have had very good service from the Civil Servant here. One occassion i enquired by email with the french aircraft registration office in Bordeaux, the lady sent me a list of what documents she needed to register my aircraft within 3 days. Everything afterwards was direct to her and she was extremly efficient. So much that when I was in Bordeaux (Merignac) I took some Black Magic into the office for her and her collègues. Never had a problem since. I went in there as a particular not official.

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I trust that you realise that I realise that would be a futile exercise :slight_smile:

Which is why I can see that they would not forward the email themselves.

However just leaving the client in the lurch without even the courtesy of a response is also unacceptable (IMO, of course).

No doubt it is the same mindset that is used by immigrants to France to ignore or block telephone calls that one does recognise the number.

Are you missing a “not” there?

Correct. Have just been knocked of my M/bike, so the brain ain’t functioning 100%.

You OK @Dr-Le-Dolly ? what/who knocked you off?