Shafted by a big business

I guess I can't name names but I have been shafted by a major international Pest Control Company, 'hiring death' (France). They had secured a contract with a local commune for an 8 week contract and instructed me to carry out the work (emails abound). They were paid 3000€ by the commune in April last year. I sent 'loan o'bill' a devis which they never returned to me.

I sent them regular updates (by email) and after the course of treatment I sent the multi national Company an invoice for less than 50% of what they were paid. They are refusing to pay because they didn't sign and return my devis.

They have been paid 3000€ by the commune for doing nothing.

I know I should have waited for the returned, signed devis (so no lectures please!), but it was an opportunity to get my foot in their door. My foot has now been crushed. I have spoken with the Mairie who are not impressed with the Company but won't take the case up with them as the work was done.

Big companies get bigger by shafting their suppliers. I've been shafted. Any advice as to what I can do to get my money back? Should I run a campaign of naming and shaming them on social media, or write it off as experience?.. unless I deny I did the work, then wouldn't they have to prove they did the work?


nice to hear.

i too, learned it the hard (but rather mild) way : draft and formalise contracts.

never go in a contractual relationship with a company without a formal letter of agreement, terms and agreements on paper.

first sign, then serve. we live and learn.


After posting on their public message boards, speaking with the Mairie concerned and daily emails to their accounts, regional director and sales rep, Kentorill have finally paid the invoice after 10 months.

Moral; Don't go in wide-eyed with big Companies thinking you've won a major contract. BEFORE starting any job, get everything signed (hard copies in your mitts).

The regional director has apologised and couldn't explain the delay. He would still like to have a working relationship with me. I've suggested he speaks to my wife to negotiate future work and terms!!

Thanks to y'all for your advice.

Case closed, phew.


Hi Robert

I would go to a Juge de proximitie , as the amount is under 4000euro

I believe it is a free way of getting justice for problems such as yours .

The spelling might not be correct, but I am sure that your Marie will know where you can find one.

good luck

Allegedly, your chances are much reduced if you are involved in a case with a gendarme, a retired gendarme, a family member or friend of a gendarme.

Hah, I haven't been paid yet, Merely the first contact after 6 months silence.

Early doors!


Moral of the story: never ever give up.

that's fantastic news Robert - I too was stung in the early days by manipulative/sharting big boys and also private clients - how many times have I had oh yes I'd love that can you order it for me (I work in direct sales) and I'll pop the money over. I now NEVER order anything in, even for friends, if I haven't recieved payment first

The canton we belong in could easily be renamed Complaisance sur Dordogne, in fact our small village mairie is better! I know what you mean, the whole system needs root and branch clearing out because of these things happening. It does not help Robert but our previous mayor had to resign before completing his umpteenth term for skimming off his bit of such things. Nothing has happened to him although had it been a normal John/Jane Q Citizen they would have gone down. There is plenty/too much of that going on, but then it was happening when I was a councillor in England so that when I was the only person left to do his turn as chair the first thing I did was retire off the clerk who was the skimmer. The new one was the same, I resigned from council all together because nobody would do anything about it. Here is much the same and needs to be stopped by getting rid of local councils up to at least district level.

I agree I didn't follow correct proceedures but when one is tempted with the offer of work from a conglomerate, one foolishly jumps at the opportunity. Not any more!

I sent Head Office a seriously snotty letter accusing them of dishonesty, potential fraud, and the threat of informing them to the to the national ombudsman. along with copy email correspondences. Funnily enough I have received a reply from the original contact, apologising for the delay and promising to pay "very soon".

We'll wait and see.

Thanks for all the replies... I'm glad I'm not alone!!

Yes but as the proper proceedure was not followed ie signed devis before doing the work and the fact that tribunal can cost a packet (by the way even having a free one off meeting to discuss a case isn't automatically free, I was charged 75€ to discuss a case and be told they couldn't do anything ) I wouldn't

HOWEVER there is a free mediator service linked to the tribunal - not sure how it would work in this case though. Basically ask at your local tribunal for a rdv with the mediator and explain - he or she will sit you both down to try and find agreement and if one is found it is all written down and each party signs. The mediator can then have it 'sworn' by the tribunal and it has the clout of a court order

Agree with that too!

As another aside - the sooner the 'village / town' level of mairies are closed down and that whole level of expensive and unnecessary bureaucracy eliminated - the better. Take things up to Canton level as a starting point with a longer term aim of cutting right back to department level. The current, ineffective set-up is a complete waste of taxpayers money! As Marie-Claire says - they are great at clucking and shaking their heads - useless....

Robert, surely, take it to Tribunal. Why not? Sent them a letter by recorded of course, tell them that you intend to secure your fair payment and that if they do not pay you, you intend to proceed to Tribunal, etc. Lack of devis does not deny that a contract occured here by course of conduct. Unfortunately France turns on pieces of paper. I have made this observation over and over again. No point me banging on about it; been wronged? go to Tribunal, that is what it is there for. Good luck my friend.

The mairie may not be partisan, but they will always choose the path of least resistence and if you don't show that you are able to kick up a storm, apart from clucking and shaking their heads they won't do anything. However, if you show resilience and resource, things can change very quickly. BTW, signing the devis , apparently, is only part of what you can produce as proof of being offered work, so hang on in there!!!

Just as an aside: my mum got her pension cheque stolen, everybody told her there was NOTHING she could do about it as the cheque had been cashed (how? we couldn't figure that one out, as she has a name which is common in county Cork, Ireland, but nowhere else). She went to the police station, filed a complaint, called the administrator back, mentioning that the police was fully informed and.... guess what? They issued a cheque promptly.

My previous life in the UK was that of a Privage Eye, so I always keep records of emails (admittedly not sms/texts in this instance). I've got confirmation of the order and requests for updates.

Thanks M-C G, I needed to know who I should speak to.

Although I don't think the Mairie was at all partisan, just standard practice of this multi-national. I can now empathise with UK farmers and certain supermarket chains!

excellent advice.

Did anybody see you doing the work? If yes, good, it will help.

I would first collect all the emails, phone calls, messages, and go to the gendarmerie and file a complaint. Then, complaint in hand, go back to the mairie with it and see what they can/will do. If nothing happens (surprisingly, things do often start happening at this stage of the game as the mairie often "forgets" that the company belongs to the mayor's cousin or brother in law and that he's just been given a suspended sentence), get in touch with the company HQ. If all fails, have a look here and cosult a lawyer for free to find out it it's worth sueing the company Good luck!!

Your welcome Robert.

If you get the copy you have a piece of paper.

Next you have the emails and them missing to pay you.

The more information you can collect the better.

Be prepared also to record some audio should you ever have a phone convo with them.

They should not get along by cheating on you nor others!

There should be also legal representative for situation like this in place one would think in France?

I would not expect you to win the battle in Asia but we're in France for god sake Francia ;)

Good luck Robert!

I was referring the message which was kindly removed by the sender!

I thank you for your advice.