Obligatory contributions collection agencies

This will be interesting, if hardly surprising to all of those running businesses in France. During this holiday period we have a temp secretary. Her previous post was six months with an obligatory contributions collections agency who shall remain nameless, but I think there is an I and an R and an S somewhere in the abbreveiation of their name. As I say, this will come as no surprise.

She reliably informs me that they are best incompetent. No follow up of a case once it leaves a desk. Add to the incompetence, unsympathetic, non-understanding and revenue driven, you will have a pretty clear picture.

The begging letters receive little to no attention. The threats of suicide may create a bit of a sensation on the platform and no more, but the letters that will really get you noticed are the ones that drop the right political names (since it may be someone further up the political heirarchy).

They are not interested in the letters in, but the letters out. The first reminder, the second, that lovely one when they threaten the huissier and then the courts - any way possible to get you to cough.

I told her that since I took full time employment in 2007, it took another 4 years to get rid of the collection agency and finally be clear. She simply said: "I'm not surprised."

Great, however it did not and never has appealed to my warped sense of humour. Do these places only employ people with a certificate of lobotomy or what?

Made me laugh out loud that Brian. Sounds typical of all of these organisations.

Yep, sounds nasty to me. It hasn't happened to either of us, so no experience of the French version. It has happened to me a couple of time in the UK though. Because of the complexity of having a small 'salary' as a fellow, being paid by each college I supervised students for and my consultancy earnings, the tax people got lost. As far as they were concerned, having the salary bit I was employed. In fact 80 to 90% of my income was actually the supervisions (10-15%) and the rest (65-70%) the freelance work. So I had an annual pilgrimage to the local tax office. However, the consultancy bit was not dealt with by them in Peterborough but in Leicester. P took account of deductions from the 'salary' and L from consultancy work. The two messy occasions were when P did as usual but L added the gross amount of 'salary' (however they found out about that was never explained) to the consultancy money and fees I declared and taxed me on the lot. Easy to resolve? No way. To get L to talk to P to establish that the salary had already been properly taxed was like getting people who only spoke Russian to talk to those who only speak Spanish. It took complaints to HMI's HQ to get that resolved, just about in time for the next April. If you think that having resolved it once I could repeat the process, then you are much mistaken. Two years later it took HMI's intervention to resolve it again and, who knows why, the rebate on the second occasion from Bristol rather than Leicester. My blood froze thinking about dealing with three offices, but it never happened again to my relief.

You would think so wouldn’t you? The problem comes when the one person you deal with one day asks for a set of documents, then you call to see if they have received them, are met by someone else who decides you need something else or can’t find any trace of you ever having contacted them even though you are holding the accusé de réception from La Poste.
I think another thing that causes a problem is very poor communication of what you have to pay, why and how it is calculated. I’m not saying you can’t find that info, but it is not easy to find and even less so to understand.

This sort of thing baffles me. It's not only in France (although they seem to be extremely high on the wacko scale) but offices became computerised, records are created, some person (people) are designated to update the records as and when necessary. Why then does the left hand repeatedly not know what le droit is doing? Surely someone has the nonce to look at the bloomin record and see what's happening or are they keeping various parts 'secret' and not centralising anything? How could your collection agency have such a problem lasting 4 years - surely someone just needed to tick the little box marked 'finished', 'kaput' or whatever.

She is with us for another week, so if any of you have any general questions as to how it works, I can always chuck them her way.