Your Consumer Rights - for what it is worth...

Banking, insurance, currency exchange, taxation, prices.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
erik
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat 19 Aug 2006 19:19
Contact:

Your Consumer Rights - for what it is worth...

Post by erik » Tue 08 Apr 2008 22:29

Thank you for the good article in P-O Life (April 08) with advice on consumer rights. It is correct that the first step to take, is to send a registered letter AR, with proof of receipt. BUT try to cancel an insurance that way, and the agent may try to force you to remain a customer.

If you cancel a car insurance, for example, at least 2 months before expiry, you are entitled to a certificate of any bonus and to choose another insurer. And if the agent fails to notify you of your standard rights to cancel when they send you renewal note (usually too late for the 2-month rule), you are instead entitled to cancel within 20 days of the note, at least as I understand it.

But not so in practice. Excuses I have heard range from incomplete replies to outright lies, for example:

1) Your cancellation was not accepted....
2) Please observe the conditions of the policy....
3) I received your registered letter, but it was not a cancellation...
4) Or just no reply at all.
(I used a form, so it was not a language problem as such). Sending another registered letter only resulted in a repeated lie or incomplete reply. I have also tried to write to the head office, without reply.

Perhaps the best recourse is to present the cancellation in person at the office of the insurance agent, with a photocopy, and insist that the agent gives a receipt on the copy. Have not tried that yet, but will they refuse? I found relevant forms and information at www.assurland.com , along with a selection of competitive offers.

PS: I still have 3 unresolved cancellations, and the new, cheaper insurer will not insure the car without a statement from the previous insurer.
One was for a car which has now been sold, and the insurer did not reply when the insurance was cancelled!

Does anyone else have similar experiences, and suggestions how to resolve it?
Last edited by erik on Sat 12 Apr 2008 11:55, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Roger O
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 746
Joined: Tue 20 Dec 2005 19:10
Contact:

Post by Roger O » Tue 08 Apr 2008 23:01

Allow me to recommend you to Assurances 66 in Pont de Reynes. We have used their services since 1994 and they have saved us from all such hassles! Joëlle is a one-woman army when it comes to dealing with difficult insurance companies and she has a lot of clout as she was in Paris, before, dealing directly with the head offices.

User avatar
john
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 1075
Joined: Tue 20 Dec 2005 20:14
Contact:

Post by john » Wed 09 Apr 2008 09:47

Whilst this sort of malarkey is commonplace in insurance circles all over the world(my daughter who works in UK retail insurance says it is getting more common there),the ludicrous ,outmoded and anti-competetive French laws re insurance renewal/cancellation to which Erik refers allows the unscrupulous French insurer carte blanche to drive a coach and horses through consumer rights that would be taken for granted in other markets.

As I too have found to my cost,unless you are VERY up to date with ALL the small print it can hit you hard in the pocket!

I've said it before,but if Sarkozy wants to do something useful,he could do a LOT worse than rid France of these sort of crazy consumer restrictive practices

User avatar
groslard
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri 12 Oct 2007 12:54

Post by groslard » Wed 09 Apr 2008 10:02

I agree with what has been said about Insurance.
A major problem is that French people seem to accept this as normal..'c'est comme ça en France' so there is no impetus for change.

carol sheridan
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 340
Joined: Fri 12 Oct 2007 11:29
Contact:

Post by carol sheridan » Wed 09 Apr 2008 12:08

Whilst living in Lot, I was recommended to use an agent for GAN in Cahors, as she spoke good English. I have had car, house and mutuelle insurance with her for three years. I wanted to ask a question about travel insurance and sent her an e-mail. Her husband replied, saying she had moved to Bordeaux and giving me a telephone number but no address or e-mail address.
I am reluctant to use the telephone because I am slightly deaf, so I asked him to let me have an address or e-mail address for her. I am still awaiting a reply.
I have now written directly to GAN at their head office, since I am not happy when I don't know who is supposed to be handling my insurances.
I have also noticed that each time I have moved house they have used the old address for car parking - as if I would drive 300 kms each night to garage my car! This is just carelessness - I have had to write each time to point out that they have my new address on the front of the policy.
I have to say that when I did have to make a claim following a small accident I was quite pleased with the service.

User avatar
erik
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat 19 Aug 2006 19:19
Contact:

Insurance problem remains unresolved...

Post by erik » Fri 13 Mar 2009 22:51

Hello, the insurance problem mentioned in this topic remains unresolved as at 13 March 2009, and they have been sending threatening letters. The insurance agent seem to think I still owe them money, despite proper cancellation. Does anyone know recourse we have as ordinary citizens? Is there a legal service or ombudsman for this type of problem? Or I could disclose the name of the agent, that might get them to think again...
Don't dream your life, live your dreams.

carol sheridan
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 340
Joined: Fri 12 Oct 2007 11:29
Contact:

Post by carol sheridan » Fri 13 Mar 2009 23:34

I am waiting for a reply to my request to cancel my tenant's insurance, as I have no possessions in France for them to insure. I had intended to transfer the insurance to my new rental property, but I have had to return to England suddenly and for an unknown period of time.
The first reply I got was that I had to go on paying the premium until November, even though they had nothing to cover and could not be at risk. I do appreciate that the monthly premium could be based on a 12-month policy, but I have made no claims and my circumstances are exceptional. I am hoping that someone at GAN can use a little common sense or compassion.
I think I may be able to cancel my muteuelle because apparently they work on a different system, and you have to cancel before April 1st. I sent my letter of resilation by 'avis de reception' and they have acknowledged that they have received it.

User avatar
john
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 1075
Joined: Tue 20 Dec 2005 20:14
Contact:

Post by john » Sat 14 Mar 2009 07:59

It will be interesting to see what transpires from this Carol. "Common sense" is not a phrase that appears in the French Insurer's lexicon.

The Insurance market is a classic example of where,despite lots of vague (empty) promises by the Sarkozy administration to reform things,absolutely NOTHING has happened. There are countless others;

I remember transport being at the top of his "agenda". But how many French internal air routes are served by anyone other than AF or one of its associates?. Where are the alternatives to SNCF?

France seems to be in a huge time warp as far as consumer rights go.

User avatar
Santiago
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 1287
Joined: Tue 27 Dec 2005 12:19
Contact:

Post by Santiago » Sat 14 Mar 2009 08:23

My bank has taken 2 years worth of renters insurance premiums out of my account since we moved out of the rental property. I'm still arguing with the bank manager about it but of course the insurance arm is not under his jurisdiction :roll:
Domaine Treloar - Vineyard and Winery - www.domainetreloar.com - 04 68 95 02 29

User avatar
erik
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat 19 Aug 2006 19:19
Contact:

Can anyone recommend an insurance lawyer?

Post by erik » Sat 28 Mar 2009 23:39

The issue with the 3 cancelled car insurance policies over a year ago, which the local insurance agents refuse to accept, has now entered another level: letters from collection agencies. So what is the best course of action? To pay the agent? No way! To ignore the threatening letters? May be a solution, but I don't know the consequences. Perhaps better to seek legal advice? I prefer the latter. Can anyone recommend a lawyer who can advice in such matters?

There are two local insurance agents, 3 policies, letters of cancellation duly posted with A.R. (agent signed for it but denied that it was a cancellation in the letter), in one case letters then delivered by hand at the agent's office, against receipt on the copy. But they ignore it all. To be continued........
Don't dream your life, live your dreams.

Rose
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon 16 Oct 2006 14:12

Post by Rose » Sun 29 Mar 2009 00:28

I would contact the French TV programme called Sans Aucun Doute if I were you.

User avatar
Kathy
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 290
Joined: Wed 19 Jul 2006 09:12
Contact:

Post by Kathy » Sun 29 Mar 2009 08:15

I would certainly name the insurance company to everyone then they will avoid using such a company with poor customer service.

User avatar
Roger O
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 746
Joined: Tue 20 Dec 2005 19:10
Contact:

Post by Roger O » Sun 29 Mar 2009 12:28

Santiago wrote:My bank has taken 2 years worth of renters insurance premiums out of my account since we moved out of the rental property. I'm still arguing with the bank manager about it but of course the insurance arm is not under his jurisdiction :roll:
As far as I am aware you can order the bank to refuse the "prelevement" as that is between you and the bank - i.e. as far as the bank is concerned, you could have arranged to pay directly to the instance debiting.

Of course, as soon as the first debit is refused, you'll have the company on your back - but at least it causes them tol move!!

User avatar
erik
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat 19 Aug 2006 19:19
Contact:

Post by erik » Sat 04 Apr 2009 22:47

Rose wrote:I would contact the French TV programme called Sans Aucun Doute if I were you.
Rose, that is a good idea! If I had the time I would take this to another level. I might consider doing just that........

Erik
Don't dream your life, live your dreams.

User avatar
erik
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat 19 Aug 2006 19:19
Contact:

Post by erik » Sat 04 Apr 2009 23:00

Kathy wrote:I would certainly name the insurance company to everyone then they will avoid using such a company with poor customer service.
Thank you for that comment Kathy. It is not just poor customer service, it is an outright attempt to force people to remain customers, against their will. But I suppose this forum is not intended for blacklisting people...
Last edited by erik on Thu 26 Sep 2013 16:48, edited 1 time in total.
Don't dream your life, live your dreams.

mpprh
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 172
Joined: Fri 06 Jan 2006 11:36
Contact:

Post by mpprh » Sun 05 Apr 2009 09:52

It doesn't have to be like that ...............

When I left Sweden, I phoned the agent to cancel the house contents . It was 6 months into a 12 months policy, and I was surprised to get a credit of about 45%.

I didn't bother to advise them with my boat insurance. The boat was out of the water (so very cheap insurance) and for sale. The insurance had 3 months to run. The boat was sold with 1 month insurance still to run. I got the renewal note via redirected mail, so phoned to say the boat had been sold. During the next month, my post lady here in France rang the doorbell and asked me to sign for about FF80 - the balance of the boat insurance.

Peter
The Languedoc Page
www.the-languedoc-page.com
Image

User avatar
erik
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat 19 Aug 2006 19:19
Contact:

Post by erik » Wed 03 Jun 2009 23:32

mpprh wrote:It doesn't have to be like that ...............

When I left Sweden, I phoned the agent to cancel the house contents . It was 6 months into a 12 months policy, and I was surprised to get a credit of about 45%.

I didn't bother to advise them with my boat insurance. The boat was out of the water (so very cheap insurance) and for sale. The insurance had 3 months to run. The boat was sold with 1 month insurance still to run. I got the renewal note via redirected mail, so phoned to say the boat had been sold. During the next month, my post lady here in France rang the doorbell and asked me to sign for about FF80 - the balance of the boat insurance.

Peter
...... nice to get a good story, for the balance. I assume it was a Swedish insurance company, not a French one..?!

Erik
Don't dream your life, live your dreams.

Nigel
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue 26 Jun 2007 11:35
Contact:

Post by Nigel » Thu 04 Jun 2009 08:42

Just to mention a recent experience re car ins. I received my renewal notice two days before the renewal was due from the agent although it was printed off by the ins co about three weeks before. I noticed the premium had gone about 7% so checked on the net to find I could save about 200€ and then went to the agent to find out answers to the following

1 Why had I only just received the notice

2 Saying i would not pay the amount since i could get it much cheaper else where.

After trying the usual excuses from the agent i said I would not renew. Oh she said please let me try and do something for you. Lo and behold the day following when I called the premium for the same cove was 150€ less. I was prepared to pay 50€ a year knowing that I did not need to deal over the phone. But I did make the point why was it necessary for me the push the matter to acheive the reduction and what about the previous years. Clearly next renewal I will send the cancellation letter 2 months before and no doubt be able to obtain another "special" deal for me.

The lesson I have learnt here in France sometime ago is do not accept the first offer for anything and do not accept a no answer to anything. Keep pushing and I have found everything is negotiable. I usually have found I have got my own way inc Govt departments

User avatar
Colin L
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed 21 Dec 2005 00:17
Contact:

Post by Colin L » Thu 04 Jun 2009 12:39

I should put in a good word for the AXA agency in St Cyprien - Agence Debourge. I was blissfully unaware of any of the above and assumed, when I got rid of my old Volvo that I would just phone or e-mail and say to stop the insurance - as would happen in the UK. Similarly, when we sold a property in Elne around the same time, I just e-mailed to say to stop the policy.

It was at that point I came to remind myself not to assume the ways of one country are the same as another. :D They needed a copy of the certificat de cession for the car (which of course I hadn't kept) and the attestation de vente for the property.

Without fuss, they accepted an e-mailed scan of the attestation and my grovelling apologies for being an eejit of a foreigner who did not understand the French system and had no copy of the certificat de cession. Both policies were terminated and in due course I received a rebate on the property insurance.

All of this, and other problems relating to insuring cars before being re-registered have been dealt with promptly, patiently and pleasantly. And what is more, much of it has been dealt with by e-mail.

So while naming names, why stop at just the name of the agency? Let me make public the helpfulness and amazing patience of the charming Elodie, who has dealt with my business so well.

thumbelina
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 811
Joined: Wed 22 Oct 2008 22:00
Contact:

Post by thumbelina » Thu 04 Jun 2009 12:44

Good to know, Colin!

John Noel Santolo in Arles sur Tech is good and Groupama in Le Boulou are outstanding - couldn't be more helpful and REALLY competitive pricing (without being pushed, too, Nigel :D )

There are some absolute horrors here with insurance, there really are!

For example, does everyone know that, within your household policy you have three months TRAVEL INSURANCE included? Apparently, that is quite normal over here????!!! I had no idea and have quite gaily been paying Ryan air 14€ every time the offspring go back to blighty - and there is no need!!!!

User avatar
polremy
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 638
Joined: Sun 01 Jun 2008 14:40
Contact:

Post by polremy » Thu 04 Jun 2009 13:22

thumbelina wrote:Good to know, Colin!

John Noel Santolo in Arles sur Tech is good and Groupama in Le Boulou are outstanding - couldn't be more helpful and REALLY competitive pricing (without being pushed, too, Nigel :D )

There are some absolute horrors here with insurance, there really are!

For example, does everyone know that, within your household policy you have three months TRAVEL INSURANCE included? Apparently, that is quite normal over here????!!! I had no idea and have quite gaily been paying Ryan air 14€ every time the offspring go back to blighty - and there is no need!!!!
Wow. I didn't know that. Just going to read the small print in my policy now to see if I've got that travel insurance too

thumbelina
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 811
Joined: Wed 22 Oct 2008 22:00
Contact:

Post by thumbelina » Thu 04 Jun 2009 14:05

No, Pol, I've only just discovered it too!

A friend of mine went in to her insurer to buy travel insurance and he told her to check her household policy as - normally - in France, you get three months travel policy included.

On checking when she got back to her place, she discovered that it's true!

Post Reply