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Makes me sick


Val_2
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Went to see a potential client yesterday who revealed she had been "let down" by an english odd jobber living locally with no proper building qualifications except DIY. The reason why she was let down was the fact that she refused to draw hundreds of euros in cash out of her bank account to pay him before any work was started and no proper devis given. Seems this bloke and I have heard about him before, is doing a lot of cash work and very poor quality in that particular region with no registration, insurance, carte vitale or anything. Our  client didn't realise how liable she would have been in case of an accident and was grateful she hadn't taken him on. This makes my blood boil when both foreign and local french artisans have to struggle to make a living and pay huge payments and there are people like this fleecing the english,don't think they would dare approach any french people.And folks wonder why the french are anti-brit in some areas!
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There are a lot of them about.

Trouble is, as well as the out-and-out cowboys, who would be dodgy in any country, there are an awful lot who are just ignorant of the system. They come out here, for whatever reason, without researching all the implications, and have the brilliant idea of doing odd jobs for their fellow British. Often they first arrived with other ideas (gites/B&B being the most popular) but find these aren't the money-making machine they thought, the capital runs out and they need to live so look around for odd jobs. They advertise in the bars etc run by other British, or rely on word of mouth, helped by the long waiting lists and seemingly expensive quotes of the legitimate businesses. They don't buy magazines like Living France, FPN etc, they don't have internet access, they don't watch French TV or read French papers (many don't even speak enough French to be able to do anything other than buy bags of cement), so they just do not know what is required of them. If you tell them, they don't believe you, think it doesn't apply to them, or maybe just decide to get round to registering one day when they have enough work.

Incredible perhaps, but true nevertheless. As you say, hardly fair on us who pay our way here.

Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law, for either tradesman or customer, though judging by reports in our local papers the URSSAF inspectors recognise that the British black marketeers are not aware of French regulations so first offences probably will be treated leniently.

 

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There are one or two doing the rounds in our village, not just Brits but French too, doing jobs for folks that are obviously not within their `metiers`

Whilst we all realise this sort of work goes on around us, apart from not `empolying` them, what would be the route to go as far as stopping them in their tracks.

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Beryl, URSSAF and the gendarmes do keep an eye on building sites, but may not necessarily pick up odd job men. They are really looking for the gangs of illegal North Africans on big building projects, or in hotels - that's where the major problems lie in evading cotisations. There are some who report the British black workers, but this always feels a bit mean and petty to me.

The dog is a Bichon Frisé, one of three rescue dogs we have. Two of them, the Bichon and a Labrador, were acquired as a result of appeals on this site.

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Yes it is difficult to shop one's own countrymen and I have the local URSSAF annonymous report number which was given to me by my accountant. I have only used this once to report an employee who was working for us and whilst off on the sick was actually moonlighting using our vehicle. Needless to say, he was refused any sick payment and we terminated his contract when it expired and since then has ripped off two new employers. He was a french worker by the way. The annonymous line dosn't ask for your name or number, just the details of the person doing the work,where they live and any other info you may have on them.
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Val, I totally agree with what you say. However, from time to time, I have been known to bore potential clients to death with the ins and outs of working legally in France - my rantings are usually greeted with " Oh, we'd never do anything illegal, thanks very much for letting us know the rules". I then prepare and send off the estimate and hear no more. After a while, I contact the prospective client just to check they have received the estimate and have understood everything, only to be told that they have employed xxxx as he was much cheaper and doesn't charge TVA. It seems to me that, however moralistic people claim to be, money talks and if they can save a few quid they will.

Also in this area, there are groups of would be builders (desk bound types who got a big redundancy pay-off) who get together at local drinking holes. They work for each other and try and pick up other work but they actively critisise anyone (British) who has set up business in order to make an honest living on the grounds that we are taking work away from the French or that we couldn't make it in the UK.

We are taking on more and more French clients, who come with their own ways of doing things, but it's certainly a step forward from working for some of the recent wave of Brits.. I blame it all on cheap flights and Brico-Depot.[:(]

 

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Me too! As a newly registered business my husband and I have started to do a lot more networking, French and English. We are getting *****d off at the amount of black labour in our area and didn't realise it was so pravelent, of course on the surface it appears to be done on a "knock for knock" basis but this isn't the case, some people are officially in the system, ie. work 1 day a week but then for the rest of the time it's all cash in hand. As all you registered artisans know it's costs a lot of money to just do an honest days work, but it's going to be difficult to get the work locally as all my compatriates are going in saying they can do it much cheaper at about 10 euros an hour, what chance do we have? I hasten to add the work is being done to an appalling standard too. I'm not a grass but if I have to I will and I don't care what others on this forum might think. It also doesn't help when there are postings on this forum suggesting the use of black labour ... blood boiling ...

Steph

www.pwb53.com

 

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Errrrrr, aren't people who are living on the black stinkers. In fact they are not only stinkers, but scum actually.

 

So anyone reporting these dregs aren't bad people...........nah, can't be.

 

 

 

I do know 'how' France works incidentally.

 

 

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"Went to see a potential client yesterday who revealed she had been "let down" by an english odd jobber living locally with no proper building qualifications except DIY. The reason why she was let down was the fact that she refused to draw hundreds of euros in cash out of her bank account to pay him before any work was started and no proper devis given. Seems this bloke and I have heard about him before, is doing a lot of cash work and very poor quality in that particular region with no registration, insurance, carte vitale or anything. Our  client didn't realise how liable she would have been in case of an accident and was grateful she hadn't taken him on. This makes my blood boil when both foreign and local french artisans have to struggle to make a living and pay huge payments and there are people like this fleecing the english,don't think they would dare approach any french people.And folks wonder why the french are anti-brit in some areas!"

A subject which has been raised many times on this Forum - I would agree 100% with Val2, Charles and Steph.

Unfortunately the problem seems to be increasing - in our small area of 47 the number of people working on the black has increased dramatically over the last two years.

We also have the hardcore of ‘gardeners’ who have been here for many years, paying minimum cotisations, whilst being paid in cash or sterling cheques for carrying out major building work.

The same people have received many benefits from France including CMU and in some cases RMI due to their ‘minimal incomes’!

Despite their impoverished circumstances they manage to enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle - above and beyond those of us that are foolish enough to do things legally.

I am not sure what the answer is - in our area the Gendarmes are not too bothered about doing anything about the problem.

Scum is probably a polite term for these people.

Regards,

Bob Clarke
http://perso.wanadoo.fr









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Hi

One understands exactly why Val2 made this posting.

But, this is inevitable given the high costs of establishing a legit business in France. It is even worse in countries with higher tax / social costs (Belgium, Sweden, Spain).

The problem is not people who are tempted by offers on the black, but government policy.

And, all the legit people I've employed have been more than happy to split the work - some with an invoice some in cash.

We live in a black economy ?

 

Peter

 

 

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Hello,

 This 'property services' that Brits register as is a loophole unused by the French but allows those with the nerve to take on quite large works involving building works.

 In Bretagne this is heavily promoted and sanctioned by an English accountant living in Pontivy in Morbihan 56.

I couldn't understand why I was always being asked to to building works despite obviously being a gardener with a sign written green van but now I realise that it is generaly expected that I am working as an undercover builder...

 I think I shall go and join the black market in labour as it seems to be all the rage here in 22 and I feel left out and lonely when I go to an english bar...

 Also,

 The R.M.I is in fact offered to new businesses by the chambre de commerce when you do your course....

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I agree with hardhat that only a lowlife would shop but I would apply that opinion to UK only where there is currently plenty of work within construction industry.  However, in France it seems a little more desperate as these economies of legal and black trade side by side.

Steph, I have looked on your website and your husband is a true tradesman and I feel for you.  I know it is illegal, and I live in UK and must admit know only the tip of the iceberg of the system in France, are the implications that bad to genuinely consider part legal part black as it has been pointed out so many people trade that way.

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I have never knowingly employed anyone working on the black and the idea horrifies me.

But, if (as has happened) a "registered" business crosses me, I have no hesitation in shopping the company, the owner, their subcontractors and in fact, anyone who has knowing participated from it to any agency who might be able to help. And I will carry on until my own loss has been recovered, and know no others customers are going to suffer, even if it involves the villains and their family ever being able to scrape together a living (even from dodgy "work from home schemes", in a different town). And even if getting them shut down fails, I will ensure their name goes down in infamy forever.

So be careful before you do anything wrong, some of us will track you down forever and never give up.

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[quote user="KatieKopyKat"]

 

 to genuinely consider part legal part black as it has been pointed out so many people trade that way.

[/quote]

You are kidding, legit artisans have spent a lot of money and time getting into that situation and as expats are probably more visible to the authorities than native French. To risk everything by working on the black to save the client a few euros would be madness. Shopping the scum that are taking our livelyhood and the cheapskate prats that employ them is the only way forward.

 

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[quote user="KatieKopyKat"]

I agree with hardhat that only a lowlife would shop...

[/quote]

I totally disagree.  It is the lowlife/scum/thieves, call them what you will, who are stealing  from the government and the honest people of this world who pay their taxes and pay for costs of running the hospitals, schools, roads, etc. etc. etc..

Whilst reading the start of this thread it brought to mind the 'travellers' that come around offering to re-tarmac your drive, then disappearing only for the thin layer of tarmac to break up no sooner than it's finished.

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weve walked this road before in past posts,some of the biggest cowboys are regestared companies,its easy to be regestared in france as what you want to be,the most  cash being stolen from the government is by regestared people,people in a position to take half cash half through the books,does everyone who rents out a gite declare all there income from the gite when half there bookings are made in the uk , its f--k-n nonsense how many of you who say shop them,inform on them have declared all your earnings ,interest on uk accounts,premiums from uk shares ,rents from houses in the uk,

 

whatched a tv programe once,were12 jury members tried a fraud case in the uk and found the person guilty of fraud and whatched that person go to prison,when the jury was investageted all 12 had claimed expenses they werent entiteled to,some for loss of work when they wernt working,some for taxi fares when they hadnt used one ,extra for lunches they hadnt had

any one who goes down the informers route is a sick jealous person,who really requires treatment,i have friends who work on the black,they cant afford to be ligit,doesnt make them cowboys,dosent make them rip offs,and for those who say they shouldnt be here,why are you here if you cant make a living,why dont you p--s --f

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In my opinion people use black labour because they don't want to pay the going rate. They come to France thinking everything is cheap because they've bought their property considerably cheaper than is possible in the UK .. however, France isn't a third world country and in my opinion the costs are comparable, apart from Council tax V tax habitation and booze and fags! They then think they can get their place renovated for next to nothing so get a shock when they find out that building costs are the same as they would pay in the UK, well certainly comparable to the costs in the South, it's also back to a major bug-bear of mine which is that people never want to pay a skilled builder what they are worth ... I've had a rant before on the this forum about it .. hardly anyone complains about the going rate for a mechanic, accountant, solicitor etc etc .. if you want to pay peanuts then you'll get monkeys! I'm also amazed at everyone's lack of understanding of the system, they don't know about the penalties for using black labour, they don't know about the 5.5% benefits, in my opinion they are all living in their own little England but their heads up their ***** and my blood is still boiling.

In my area (53 mayenne) the Gendarmes are trying to crack down .. a friend of mine is a registered Macon and he has been visited on several occassions and has been asked to show his papers, not a problem for him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they increase their visits and I'm not ashamed to say that I will have a wry smile on my face ......

Thanks Val for bringing this up yet again, I know it's been covered to death but with new people joining these forums all the time it helps to bring it back to the surface ...

Steph

www.pwb53.com

 

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I'm glad to see that the ignorant/indifferent attitude of British people in France that I remarked on in my original reply to Val is not confined to our part of France. I had wondered.

The only bit of hardhat's rather troll-like rants that I would agree with is that being registered is not necessarily a guarantee of good workmanship or good practice.

Gendarmes do check up, but it seems they only check registered businesses as they know where to find them - they can't be bothered to seek out the real black marketeers.

Although the idea of sneaking still makes me very uncomfortable perhaps somebody would like to post details of the URSSAF anonymous phoneline, set up for that purpose? I am sure I had a record of the number, but can't find it now.

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