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Recovering money owed


Gardengirl

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Someone we know tells us they are owed money by an English-speaking tradesman here in France. It's a fairly substantial sum, and he claims he hasn't the funds to repay them. I don't know the details as to what, if anything, was in writing etc. Is there any general advice anyone can give to help with first steps? There is great concern that if a fuss is made, he won't repay anything at all, and are just hoping it's a temporary blip; this blip has lasted several weeks so far. 

Part of my concern is also that this tradesman could well be taking money from other trusting people and leaving them in similar circumstances. I know this couple were so pleased to have found a tradesman they could communicate with, who could do just what they wanted.

Any pointers based on this small amount of detail would be welcome. 

GG

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As I have often said, there is a set procedure for everything of this nature. Deviate at your peril!

First thing is to check that the tradesman was legal to do what the customer wanted; SIRET, insurance check and the like. If he isn't then forget it, they will have no chance of recovering anything (by legit leans).

 

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you say English speaking tradesman but is he French or English?

I know it does not help but I am with Nick on this if you follow the rules then you have limited the risks. Would you give £ to someone you do not know in the UK without doing some fairly basic tests?

The legal system here does not have the likes of Claims through the County Court. Their system (I speak as a lawyer) is long-winded expensive and gets you in relative terms nowhere for a very long time but by the time you may have run out of £ and the other party certainly will not have any £
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I think you'll find that there is actually an equivalent to the UK County Court in France. 

Small claims below 4,000€ are dealt with by a Juge de Proximité.  Claims between 4,000€ and 10,000€ are handled by the Tribunal d'Instance.  Claims over 10,000€ are handled through the Tribunal de Grande Instance.

All offer a simplified claims process, details of which can be obtained through the [url=http://www.vos-droits.justice.gouv.fr/index.php?rubrique=10066&ssrubrique=10212]Ministry of Justice[/url].

As with all legal processes, success is only achieved if the defendent has the means to pay.....[;-)]

 

 

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Thanks for all your replies. So it seems there is something similar to UK small claims court, which is something we'd been wondering. The only other thing we'd wondered about was a huissier, but as that hasn't been mentioned, I guess isn't the right sort of thing; I know a neighbour had one when their kitchen was put in badly and not finished.

So now we can approach these people with some idea of what they can do next, as they sounded very upset. To also have some forms is great; thank you very much.

GG

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"The only other thing we'd wondered about was a huissier, but as that hasn't been mentioned,"

A huissier is used to enforce the court's decision, and get the money back.

You have to pay a non-refundable fee up front, which is covered by 'costs'

I don't think you can go direct, unless you have the backing of the court.

I know businesses such as Orange sometimes send out threatening letters from Huissiers (there is a notorious firm in Lyon and Alsace that specialises), but I don't think that this is enforceable without a 'procès'.

However I am not sure of this.

I quote from a French website:

"la

menace d'huissier , c'est bidon , un huissier ne peut agir que sur

décision de justice et pour celà , il faut que tu ais été comdamnée par

un tribunal ( UFC , te le confirmeras) Ce

sont en effet des tentatives d'intimidation. Les associations de

consommateurs sont assez remontés contre ce genre de procédés"

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A huissier can also be asked by an individual to draw up minutes of

observation (constat d'huissier) which can be used as evidence in connection with a dispute

(état des lieux, dispute between neighbours, abandonment of construction work...)

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In the UK you can serve today via the On-line facility via Northampton and within 28 days or so you can have your judgment and the cost is minimal. Ok I stand corrected as to 'small claims' but everyone knows that the French love forms and documents and unless one is prepared for a long hard fight with then a problematical outcome then perhaps it is better to leave go.

One's money is always precious and the decision making process is simply whether to throw good money after bad.

I still ask whether the English speaking person is French or English?
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[quote user="NormanH"]I know businesses such as Orange sometimes send out threatening letters from Huissiers (there is a notorious firm in Lyon and Alsace that specialises), but I don't think that this is enforceable without a 'procès'.
However I am not sure of this.
[/quote]

No they are not enforceable, I get a couple of threatening letters per week from various recovery agents acting for AXA, when one runs out of final, final, final. demands they switch to another, now they have switched to a so called huissier in Roubaix (huissiersnord.fr) but it is just another escalation, failure to pay within 72 hours and they will put the dossier in the hands of the President of the tribunal d'instance, bla bla bla..........  just like all the previous ones.

I just wish they would hurry up and do so, I have written and asked them to several times.

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