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Is there somewhere to complain about Notaires or is this something which can have repercussions?

I am trying desperately to contact a Notaire who is doing some work for us. I want to see him when next in France but he is not responding to me.
I cannot telephone during the day as I am at work and they are closed when I am at home.
I have tried emailing, faxing and writing but do not get any response.
I have tried telling him the date and time I would like to see him, last time I did this I turned up and he said an appointment had not been made, even though I had the email with me.

I dont know what else to do - anyone able to give any suggestions please.

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Well today is Bastille day in France - a public holiday so you really won't get much joy. You are also entering a period of holidays in France, so it is also possible your Notaire could be on vacation for up to a month - usually there is some sort of cover, but I say this candidly.

Also, a Notaire in France has a certain amount of prestige and it is not uncommon practice that he will see you when he is available. Notaires are called Maitre Bloggs instead of Monsieur Bloggs to give you some idea.

I know you are the client (the paying customer) BUT this is France and you cannot apply the same ethos. Nonetheless it is courteous for them to at least give you an appt. It doesnt really work that you tell him when you are coming over, the Notaire has to agree with this.

I am sure this is quite difficult to grasp especially when you dont speak the language, at this stage my advice is do not get cross as this will be counter-productive, be totally conciallatory this moves mountains in France, be friendly, even though you probably want to scream at him.

Hope this advice helps you, but honestly if you tried to complain to a body (I'm sure there is one) you will be laughed at.

Good luck
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LAST EDITED ON 14-Jul-04 AT 03:16 PM (BST)

I appreciate your frustration, but it is unfortunately quite common in France for e-mails, phone messages, letters, faxes etc to be overlooked - it seems almost to be a part of French business culture, even though it seems totally illogical to anybody else. Notaires are no exception, in fact they can be the worst offenders (probably because as deby says they regard themselves as too important to deal with routine matters).

Is there anybody you know, preferably someone who speaks some French, who could telephone during office hours on your behalf? Once personal contact is established notaires are usually charming people (though it sounds, from his attitude to appointments, as if yours could be different) and there is no point in upsetting them unduly.

Will (50)
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I've recently had to liaise with a local notaire on behalf of an english friend selling her property through him and from this experience I can tell you - a. e.mails are ingnored completely until there is time for him/her to spend going through them and that isn't very often during a busy working day. b. Don't give the notaire an order that you want to see him/her on such a day and time,they will make the appt,not you. c. In France you must have patience, english style "I want it done yesterday" dosn't wash here and personally we don't deal with people either with that attitude. Luckily for my friend, the notaire here knows us well and was very flexible for her,but I am afraid if you loose your rag,he/she will simply put you to the bottom of the pile of work until such time comes that it must be sorted out. As for phoning, surely you can ring from work if you offer to pay for the call or ring in your lunch hour which is one hour behind us here. There is a governing body for notaires to answer to,but like the GMC in the UK you need to be very clued up and understand everything you are complaining about perfectly to get anywhere.
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Thanks for everyones advice,
I will try to ring, it is difficult where I work to have the time - my lunch hour is smack in the middle of the French lunch break. Our telephones are also blocked so no calls abroad or to premium rate lines can be made.
Just to explain, the Notaire did tell us to contact him when we were next in France to arrange to come in to sign the papers. (which is what we did in May) and the other party is French and as anxious to get on with the transaction as we are (I think he is already planning on building on the land.

I have written down what I want to say and hope I can get someone who speaks some english who might understand me.
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