Help! problems with ex-internet provider

Hello, again.

I wonder if anyone has any advice on this.

Several years ago, when I arrived in France, I wanted an internet connection, and the best I could get at the time was dial-up, as I'm not close enough to an exchange for broadband proper.

Sick and tired with the dial-up speeds (or lack of them), when it became available, I then opted for a wimax connection (long-range wireless, for the uninitiated), which was provided by a company called Idyle. That company latterly became Ozone. The wimax service, when it worked, was quite good, but there were many occasions without a connection at all.

Anyway, last July 12th (2011), the service disappeared altogether (and hasn't been present since) and I suspected that the receiver was at fault (their property).

I tried contacting them via the E mail address supplied - my messages kept bouncing. I tried ringing them on several occasions, and never actually managed to speak to anyone - just got played irritating music for ages. I filled in their on-line assistance form on the website, several times with details of my issue (having reverted to the dial-up service) - none of these requests were answered.

I then wrote one letter after another, and sent them recorded delivery (I got back the receipts, so I know they arrived).

Eventually, after being without their service for fifty days, I wrote to them again, telling them that as they couldn't or wouldn't provide the service for which I paid, and neglected to respond to my communications, I considered the contract at an end, and warned them that I'd be cancelling the prelevement at my bank (which I did).

They continued to attempt to bill me, and I wrote to them again - no response.

They are still attempting to bill me, and say they will "suspend" the service (Ha!) and attempt to recover the arrears.

So a couple of weeks ago, I sent them yet another recorded delivery letter (a strongly worded one) together with copies of all my previous unanswered communications in support. No reply.

I have now received yet another letter demanding payment, and threatening me with God knows what (and with no reference to my communications with them).

I am now at a loss what to do. I live in the back of beyond, so help is almost non-existent. I managed to get set up with another company supplying wimax late last year (Numeo - and they're the pits, as well) - I suspect that Numeo and Ozone may have since amalgamated, but I'm not sure, they obviously haven't sussed out who I am, and I use a different bank account.

If debt collectors arrive, what should I do? Is there some form of ombudsman service available in these matters?

It seems that it's yet another case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing - very French.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Thanks, Shirley - I am fairly au fait with computers, IPs, networking and associated things, so have tried the usual technical avenues for myself. The wimax service is different from the WifiMax offering (the range is greater, for a start - 20Km). The receiver supplied by Idyle/Ozone was a Motorola 400 (which I think is faulty), there is power to it, but no signal in the cat5 line from it. The Numeo box is also a Motorola, but a different model.

The address and phone numbers of Ozone are the same as the ones I've had from the outset. All last year (from July) I never actually managed to speak to another human on the "technical" extension, and on the one occasion I spoke to someone on the "Sales" extension, I go short shrift - they said they'd pass it on to "Technical" (which, clearly, they didn't), and referred me back to the "Technical" option. Eventually, after 2 months, I gave up.

An orange Live Box would be useless here, because we are too far from the DSLAM to get any land-line based broadband at all.

I also now have a Nordnet satellite service (which I installed myself) - that's OK, and quite fast, is a useful standby for when the wimax service goes down, but suffers the usual drawbacks from such a service (Fair Use Policy, for one, and delayed ping for another). All in all, any sort of reliable broadband here is expensive, and hard to find.


From that, I'd say ignore the correspondence from Ozone and give them the "return to sender" treatment....

ALL my communications with them were via lettre recommandée. Including my desire to cancel. They didn't respond. My initial contacts were in connection with restoring the service which they'd cease to provide, either through a faulty receiver, or other reasons. In frustration, after two months of non-service, I said I was cancelling There was zero customer service, and no attempt to rectify the problem. I think I have a good case, contract or no.


Former Idyle clients, now with Ozone, don't have a notice period for canceling the contract, assuming that the total period of the contract exceeds 12 months. But you need to notify the provider through a "lettre recommandée" that you will end the contract per X-date. From your story I can't verify if you did that initially when you decided to consider the contract ended. You need also to return the equipment if you hire it from them, if you bought it you can of-course keep it.

If you didn't end the contract via a lettre recommandée than you have no choice but to pay. However check your contracts with Ozone and the FAI for clauses on non-delivery of services.

Would reiterate this last part to everyone. We had issues with claiming our rent deposit back and we contacted our 'assistance juridique' who sorted everything out for us, however note it is only for domestic/household issues, not business ones.

Hello Chris and I'm sorry to hear of your problems. The bilingual helpline has dealt, successfully, with several cases like this.

Firstly, you don't have to worry about debt collectors, or "huissier" coming round. Ozone would have to get a court judgment (Tribunal) before that could happen and you would be notified of their application and given an opportunity to defend yourself, in writing or in person.

Secondly, don't waste your money on an avocat because you don't need one, you haven't been successfully sued yet, and almost certainly won't. is owned by a company called Nomotech SAS, with its President based in Avranches. May I suggest you take a look at my profile and give me a ring on the infoline number you will find on my website, because I am sure I can help you sort this out and get rid of the worry. I presume you could provide me with a history of letters received and sent, with copies and dates?

I shall look forward to hearing from you, don't worry.


No problem!! Don't hesitate. For anybody in trouble, if you have somenone french around you, ask them to contact the 3939 number. It's a governmental line, free, wich will provide you the first advice in any problem you might encounter with any administration or anything else. The have dedicated specialists to help you and can make you enter in contact directly with one close to you. It's worth a try when you don't know how to deal with something.

Free lawyers are available depending on incomes. The best is to contact your "greffe du tribunal" so they can give you contact number and adresses of those lawyers.

You also, ALL OF YOU, can check on your habitation insurance contract if you have the law protection option. Most of the time, you do. They will deal with anything personnal for free. It is called "assistance juridique". If you don't have it, I assure you, it is an option to pay a bit more for, as, if you later on, encounter any difficulties, you will be mind free, they will take in charge the problem for you, NO FEES!!!

I believe that the government has "promised" to do their best to provide internet servie throughout France, much as the government has done for the UK.

However, I know of a group of rural farmers on the fells outside Lancaster who have taken matters into their own hands and set up the service themselves, they had the equipment to dig the trenches, so it wascertainly cheaper for them than for most of us.

Thank you, Timothy Crew's wife - much appreciated. I wondered how much of it would be bluff, or whether they'd swoop on me just because I'm English. They never had the decency to respond to a single communication of mine (all of which were in French), so I will reciprocate - do nothing, and see what happens. Should I ever receive a "signification de contrainte", I certainly will contact you - by private message (if that facility is available here), thank you.



There will be no bailiff. It's a common way from certain companies to threat you by mail. You will then receive what looks like a bailiff letter but ignore this as well. At some point, they will give up!!

The legal way to proceed for a company or anyone else to recover money is:

A simple letter, then 15 days later, the same as recommended (RAR) .

Then, a letter ( maybe) from a bailiff wich has to be from you area.

To follow, an bailiff will come to your door with "signification de contrainte" to which, you have 15 days to oppose yourself by sending a " lettre d'opposition à contrainte" to the court mentionned in your letter. You can as well, before you do that call the " greffe du tribunal" most of the times "d'instance" so they can give you advice.

Next step, you will be convocated to court and you will then be able to show all documentations arguing the point. You can be helped of course by a lawyer ( free if you are on small income) or just a friend who can speak french.

So, don't stress too much about that. Wait for that "signification de contrainte" which, I'm sure will never come. And, if, surprisingly, it does, don't hesitate to contact me.

It is very important that you do ignore all their demand, you don't pay one cent. The law is there to protect both sides, if they really want their money, they will have to use it.

You all have to know that, in France, any bill concerning communication services is "nulle", can't be claimed, past a year without being demanded using those steps described.

I'm french and know about the matter, I pinched (sorry!!) my husband's account so as to answer promptly. Sorry if it's not in your ways of use of the website!!!

Hi Carol,

I'm about to escape from the very poor and overpriced internet service from Orange. We too live "out in the sticks" and I'm now looking at other options. Could you please give me some more details of the satellite service provider you are currently using?


Thank you all for your suggestions - keep 'em coming, if you have any more!

And Carole, Numeo certainly are poor. Their wimax service is wifi, rather than satellite derived, and is unlimited. When it's working properly (and to be fair, it usually is), it's better than the satellite means of internet reception, and cheaper and may be worth considering if available in your area.

I'm astounded at how bad these providers are - it's the 21st century, and just because we happen to be in a rural area of France shouldn't mean that we are deprived of a high-speed connection at a reasonable price. I thought such a service was guaranteed by the government for all, ages ago.


I would go to your bank, we had a similar problem with the French post office, we went to our bank who were very helpful and sorted it out immediately.

Good luck

Hi Chris,

I also had some trouble with a company trying to reclaim an expired debt 10 years after the situation had supposedly been resolved!! They had managed to convert the amount of 2000 francs into 5600€! I was threatened with bailiffs and all sorts so I went to the following site and posted my problem. I had 2 responses of which one was from a retired lawyer. It solved the problem and I've heard nothing since.

Check out

Otherwise I agree that Veronique's idea is very sound and probably the most effective way of dealing with the problem.


Can't offer any advice about this but just wanted to let you know that we too suffered with very bad service with numeo.....we had their satellite service as we were not able to have their other services because of location. Their download limits were so low that halfway through any month we were without service as we had exceeded the limit. We asked several times if we could have more download but no, that was all that was available.

I did some research and found a company in the uk who supply satellite throughout europe for remote areas. It costs more than getting it here but there is a choice of downloads and have found the service to be great. If there is a problem you can call them and you are never left on hold for more than a couple of minuets and most problems can be sorted over the phone.

We have had the service for over a year now and would recommend them.

I think this is very sound advice from Veronique - especially since you have all the previous communications with them.

Good luck

I think you will find that if you make an appointment with a Huissier, the first visit is free as it is for everyone in France but I really cannot see it getting to that. Some of these companies just 'try it on' to see if you will pay up!

It may be worth checking if you have to send their property ( dish etc) back as part of the contract...

Hello Chris,

I shouldn't worry about the Huissier arriving. We have had problems with the RSI (who hasn't?) and when the lady from the Huissier arrived I went into their office and sorted it out with a lot more success than we ever had from the RSI themselves. I was really worried but a French friend said not to worry, she know many people that have the same lady arrive and it is really not a major problem in rural France!

As another avenue, I use a lady at our local bank when we have any dispute with Insurance payments etc. and she can usually resolve any difficulties like this. Also, you have stopped the payment and you have proof that you have tried to resolve the situation so I do not see how they can have a leg to stand on, even if it did get to the solicitor stage.

Bonne chance!