Please be aware of a situation with a bank that we find ourselves in

2 weeks ago I paid into my local branch of Credit Agricole a large sum of cash. The system for doing this is not at all good as I have now leanrt to my cost.

If you want to pay cash into your account you must do it by placing your cash in a clear plastic envelope, write all info on the envelope. Your account, date, amount enclosed , what denominations plus a contact number. You then seal this envelope, tear off the receipt, place envelope in a chute and then say goodbye to it. Then apparently a security firm scans the details on the envelope and your account is credited. One would believe at that point the person could see that if you had not put any money in the clear envelope an alarm would go off and you would be contacted. Think again.

The next process is for somebody else to examine the envelope check the contents to verify the cash.

But for us that did not happen, apparently there was no money in it. Nobody called us the next thing we knew the amount that i had deposited was re debited! Having contacted the bank to cut along story short we have no real proof that we had indeed deposited this sum so 'tant pis pour nous'!

We spoke to the local bank manager and he informed us that there was of course money in there and the notes inside were being examined for being damaged or counterfeit, who knows. Now today the bank are going against this and are now saying that there was no money in there. We do not have that money in our account which was hard earned and need to pay bills etc. But now we have no money to pay our bills and are have to spend time proving that we did deposit the money.

Which because it is such a dreadful system and there is no alternative way of paying cash into your account. So please beware and DO NOT use this system at all.


Of course it is a crime and you should report it as such. You can also ask your local Procureur de La RĂ©publique direct to open a full investigation. The Gendarmerie has to answer to him / her.

If you know the notes serial numbers, it might help. I have kept a copy of that in the past when deposited money in the bank this way.

Also, just so you know, if it proves useful at all, CCTV recordings are kept for 1 month.

Bonne chance with it all!

Are Society Generale any better ?

And this is the third time in two days I have heard that Credit Agricole is not the preferred choice of bank.

Could not agree with you more. Strange word origin coincidence that this country, full of Franks, is frankly the very same Frank that was spelt 'Franc' with a 'e' in France!! So frankly or francely if you prefer, treat all the French like you dealt with Frank but lets not forget that happily, Frankly speaking, there are also quite a few very 'non-frankish' exceptions once they have learned that they can't take the piss out of every Englishman!

James, many years ago when I was still at school I got a summer job as a barman in a pub owned by a pal of my Dad’s. One of the full time unionised barmen, Frank, got a bee in his bonnet about working with an unqualified young whippersnapper (me). He bullied me for the first few weeks until I finally broke and read him the riot act. He was so shocked that the worm had turned he became my “new best friend” for the rest of my sojourn. A decade after that, in 1981, I came to live in France for the first time and I discovered that French banks and the French Public Service is full of “Franks”. Since that realisation I’ve used a three strikes and you’re out approach. To start with I am polite and friendly if that doesn’t work I try polite but firm and if that doesn’t work I throw my toys out of the pram. It never fails but I do find it a bit exhausting if I have to resort to toy throwing while the French seem to enjoy the cut and thrust of these interactions. For me it’s all part of the fun of living here.

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By the way. Make sure that you avoid talking to them as much as possible. Every communication should be in writing with the same 'lettre recommendee' and 'accuse de reception' so that they know these can be produced in court. Spoken words are not worth a damn in France and they even often say 'les paroles s'envolent!!'

This is so typical its not true. I've written one or two things about the less attractive characteristics of the French much to the wrath of many Survive France members still living in their reverie about France, but your experience is a classic case.

Sadly its now all about recommended letters with an essential 'accuse de reception'. The text should never be anything other than worded perfectly correctly describing the event with mathematical non-emotional precision. Don't use words like 'theft' or 'incompetence' or anything that sounds like histrionics. Its a straight forward statement of a series of facts proven by your receipt.

You can still warn them that if they do not credit you with the other 200 Euros immediately upon reception of your letter (for which you will have 'accuse de reception' proof) you will be billing the bank or all the legal advice that this may require including your own time which will be charged at the going lawyer's rate.

You can advice them cordially but quite strongly to comply with their legal obligations or else this matter will go to court if a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached.

Never let the French get top sides of you particularly civil servants in the administration or banks which are virtually the same. The rot set in seriously after they were nationalised by Mitterand. They only understand a forceful approach and will never respect you unless you behave like the average arrogant Frenchman who always believes that he is right and superior relative to everybody else.

If you don't respond in this way and think you are talking reason to a friendly malleable English person just forget ever getting your money back. They are relying on your weakness and politeness or reluctance to have an argument and timidity for which the Brits are famous. So go for it, and be an ambassador to your country whom we can all be proud of!!

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Hi it's me Glyn and James Graham I'm female (you were not to know that of course) and the amount deposited was 700 euros, no small amount.

Just read your reply, sorry better late than never!

The result of my disappearing money was it had not been stolen by someone who worked for the bank or anybody else connected with bank. Our main branch said that there was no money in the envelope and continued to say this. The local branch then finally told us that the cash was 'suspicious' maybe forged or something, who knows. It made its weary way to the Banque de la France in Paris for verification, before it then made it's return trip back to my husbands business account. The notes were Irish euro notes. Needless to say this was all done with no respect to us in way of a phone call to say what exactly was happening & why money was debited from our account in the first place. Needless to say we received no apology at all for the stress & worry that this caused!

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Well with a name like Anne Marie Huet, despite your ability to write perfect English this still leaves me to suspect that you might actually be French, hence your less than tolerant reaction to my little essay, which was partially a joke of course filled with a lot of half-truths, some of which one would be forgiven for thinking that they were true!

I have always consoled myself that being British living in France, your fellow nationals at least grant Britain with the gracious compliment that we could just be considered to be equals, despite the fact that throughout much of our turbulent history we have been a thorn in your side. I still maintain however that despite this very relevant exception to the rule, on a Mercator map of the world France still lies in the middle and all the rest of the countries of the world are called 'not France!'

The fact is that having lived in France for 25 years and having a degree from the Sorbonne, I would have been totally in agreement with most of the replies to my only previous message concerning a bank Heist that were less than complimentary, until say 10 years ago.

Previous to this I was like most immigrant foreign ethnic, cultural or national communities like the British who live in their own social world similar to the Chinese community anywhere abroad or even the 450,000 French refugees now living in London. I just got back from London myself having been to a French party where there were about 60 guests, every single one of them were French bar myself. I am like a Japanese honorary white in South Africa during the apartheid days because I speak French fluently practically without any accent. At worst they think I am Belgium.

The turning point came when I became an elected councillor standing in for the Mayor at the main County Council meetings and began mixing with the 'natives' big time in several other sectors like producing wine with a coop, shooting, and getting to know the entire political community like a Frenchman. I learned a lot about the rural French way of thinking from these experiences. The next turning point was when I converted myself into a boutique merchant banker and began to integrate within the upper echelons of Paris business circles.

This was a real eye-opener. Prior to these experiences I was just like any other British person mixing essentially with other Brits with a smattering of French acquaintances (whose perfect proof are the members of Survive France) or reading papers and watching the news trying to understand what was going on. I have now really got to know the French from the inside and how the system works from behind the scenes. Its a bit like looking at a smart French italicised menu in a restaurant, then sneaking behind the kitchen doors and watching how the mouthwatering sounding 'pomme vapeur a la Lyonnaise' is just boiled and then mashed potato scraped off dirty plates and put on another, or watching how the half empty carafes or bottles of wine are poured back into new ones and dished up to the second sitting who would scream if they saw how healthy the cockroaches there were under the cooker!!

So its not that I don't like the French, I rather love them, but I prefer to treat them like my favorite son or daughter whom I reserve the paternal right to criticise if this is justified. But please don't ever tell me to take them too seriously like I really believe in their global cultural and intellectual superiority. And just like any family, when the doorbell rings because guests are arriving, or you are all pretending to be bastions of sanity outside for Joe Public or a world audience, what goes on behind the scenes can be very different.

Likewise what goes on behind the scenes in France is also very different to their carefully manicured and made-up public image worthy of a botox session and an 800 pound beauty box in Harrods beauty department. But I am sure this is true of any country. If you see a Frenchman in the street in Paris in a smart sobre suit carrying a brief case that speaks money, he looks like a banker. When he arrives at your house because you called the plumber his overalls are in his briefcase as well as all his tools, then as soon as he has got your blocked toilette working again by sicking his hand down the pipe he exits and becomes the suave wealthy looking banker again! Parisians virtually never invite invite you home. You could meet them hundreds of times in cafes or restaurants though. This is because they are living in a 'chambre de bonne' like this was 5 meter squared student accommodation even though they are dressed immaculately in Valentino suits, wear a gold Rolex and are driving a Porsche!!

France, which equals the sum total of the French mentality, has a lot of fundamental issues. Its not a case of repeating like a mantra that this country has the 5th largest economy in the world and the 2nd in Europe. The more pertinent question is why is France so poor when it should have been twice as rich as Germany? What went wrong, and what is the difference between the French today and those that built Paris, the most beautiful capital city in the world?

Its all very well cutting off the Sun King's head, the most prestigious in the history of human civilisation, a staggeringly ostentatious crown jewel wrapped up in Versailles Palace packaging, and then executing all the aristocracy, and in the case of post-revolutionary France now substituting way down-stream people like Francois Hollande with the likes of the British Queen as a Head of State. The trouble is this country lacks plausible figure-head leadership and direction. Its like a snake without a tail going round-and-round in circles. They still hate the rich since the revolution, so France is one of the most wealth unfriendly places to be, which is why the rich are all leaving in droves, their revolutionary anti-elitist anti-ruling class fervour with a smattering of nascent communism was an inspiration to the Bolsheviks but what now inspires France?

The trouble is, if they hate capitalists and entrepreneurs sinfully trying to get rich, and love the virtues of collectivism and hence advocate steeling from the rich to give to the poor like Robin Hood, typified by Francois Hollande's admission that he doesn't like the rich and the fact that France makes the wealthy endure the highest tax burden in Europe the virtual maintenance of a fiscal guillotine, which social and economic vehicle do they prefer to achieve their aims? Admittedly capitalism is a deeply flawed system, one could even argue that communism was a bodyless brain and capitalism was a headless body. But there needs to be some form of mutual complimentarity in my opinion, because in the total absence of capitalism which may be the best of all the worst choices, its very hard to think of a better default system.

All the communists, which are legion in France, go out in Paris to watch a capitalist film, eat in a capitalist restaurant and go back to their rented apartment owned by a capitalist if it isn't already their own and they earn all the money to pay for these luxuries in a capitalist company. Why don't they go to North Korea for a few months to see whether they are really so much in love with communism?

Added to all this, jealousy is a serious pandemic in France. My advice to all you lot trying to 'Survive France' is to stay ostensibly looking nice and poor, or if you have wealth to hide this as best you can. Success in monetary terms is a very dangerous place to be in France. You will attract a tsunami of denunciations and nobody will be happy and speak to you again till you are humiliated or ruined.

As far as France is concerned I am beginning to think that Churchill might not have been totally wrong when he said: socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the Gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the sharing of misery.

Love to you all who tolerate the French so magnanimously!



I lived in France for many years. I soon learned to keep records of everything to do with the banks and every public services . Personally I would find a bank where the cash is counted in front of you checked and you are given a receipt for it. I lost a lot of money in an internet scam someone hacked into my account and had a lot of fun with it. When I saw my account my heart hit the floor very hard indeed. However I went to my bank who directed me to the police station in the same street. They in turn took all the details then gave me a letter to give to my bank who refunded my account immediately. That was about fifteen years ago.

I have had dealing with French unions in the past. Some of them are fine and very helpful. Other league delegates would make Joe Stalin and Lenin almost saintly. Although I did see a CTG man get an amazing mouthful of abuse by some very brassed of rail passengers when the cheminots went on strike. A very interesting use of curses and abuse.

Hi James, Graham or God !!

Do you really live in France? If so why? Did you write this as a joke or just to annoy


I think you are badly placed to say that you wish to teach the french civilised manners!!!!! Maybe we should teach you some !!!!! I have MANY french friends, maybe thats because I dont look down on them, I accept them as they are and learn to live with them in THEIR country

Not confident about umbrellas mini or otherwise. Sun block could be a good punt though hopefully. Maybe cauliflower flavored.

Hot investment tip. Mini-umbrellas for cauliflowers. They allow the roots to collect water but the curds are protected. Complementary shares for suitable cheeses for sauces a hot tip too!

You put the cash in a clear envelope, write your details on the envelope, bank account, name, amount of cash & the denominations and a telephone number. You then seal the envelope and tear of a strip that has a corresponding transaction number, then put into a chute. All you have is your plastic receipt. This plastic receipt is not really any proof that you actually put any money in the envelope to start with. How would you prove that you did put money in there? I'm fed up with anyone that says 'i've never had a problem in all the years i've banked here'. Yes, I HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM IN THE 19 YEARS OF LIVING HERE! But I certainly have one now. Luck old you for not having a problem, just hope that it never happens to you, but if it did I would be interested in how you would be feeling. And for the record, apparently there is no other way to pay cash into your account as I would have done it, believe me!

Yes, food is good too.

Yeah, they're rocketing in price again - must be the wet weather:-)

I can't believe my bank problem opened up a discussion on battering La Belle France! Brian is correct, all I wanted was to air a problem that we have encountered with a bank (just happens to be CA) and make people be aware that these things can happen and to be cautious. And maybe a bit of solidarity and at best bank bashing (any bank anywhere in the world that is) Anyone interested in the outcome of my problem? Well its still not resolved. The central bank where our account is held are saying that there was no money in the envelope and we will have to write to them with all details in order to move forward & perhaps be reimbursed. The local branch are saying that our bank notes that were deposited have now been sent to the bank of France for further investigation. To be a little clearer the notes happened to be Irish euros! But it has still left us with no money in our account while they try and sort this out. My main grip is that we have had 2 different reasons for the disappearing money, with no phone call and no letter received from either bank as way of any explanation. Is this the way to treat customers? I think not.

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Maybe so John, but in the last few years in the UK the 'don't-care-less' attitude toward customers was getting dreadful. I know they are almighty villains in the finance world, but I have kept a particular branch of Barclays where I have had an account way back when, whilst none of the others stayed open because they p**ed me off, thus opened a Barclays France account and have had excellent service. I go in perhaps twice a year and at least two of the people greet me by name. I didn't even get that in the UK!