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'Lost' money and other bank woes

I was very interested to read about problems concerning the length of time for the transfer of money

I WAS very interested to read about Stephen Hobson’s problems concerning the length of time for the transfer of money from the UK to France. His, I am sorry to say, is not an isolated case.

Over the past 30 years that I have been in France involved with property and estate agency businesses, this has been repeated over and over again.

This “losing” of money usually applies to large sums; on one occasion, a very good client transferred more than £45,000 from his UK account to his French one for the purchase of a property here and this got “lost”. After two weeks, my client arrived as planned to sign for his property, but the money had still “vanished”. Like Mr Hobson, the different excuses given for this were original.

After nearly three weeks had elapsed and still no sign of the money, I went with my client to a local branch of a very big French bank and had a meeting with the manager with whom, fortunately, I was on very good terms and persuaded him to call my client’s English bank, which confirmed the money had indeed been transferred. After five weeks, it was found.

I had another meeting with the local manager who was ill at ease, to say the least, and who eventually told me off the record that this loss was common and a nice little earner for the banks in interest.

He also said that the money was only found when the clients made a fuss. This happened over and over again for years.

Michael KLAW
Lodève, Hérault

HAVING read your September article on assurance vie, I should like to share with your readers my experiences. This year, I decided to withdraw some money from an assurance vie I took out in 2006, on the fourth anniversary of the account.

I wrote in May asking for a partial withdrawal, but not before June 12 (in capital letters and underlined). as after four years it has certain tax advantages. The money was transferred three days early, and a higher tax rate was charged.

The provider said that the money was not invested until July 1, 2006 and that therefore a higher tax rate was charged because the assurance vie was not four years old. Apologies were given that no different solution had been offered to me.

I wanted to know why the date on the certificat d’admission was June 12 and why the divergence of the dates. What should have been an easy transaction had been made complicated and time-consuming, and I asked for them to fix the problem. So far I have had no response.

My advice to readers is: when taking out an assurance vie, make sure you know the date of the start of your contract and choose your company wisely. Once they have your money, you are in their hands.

Estang, Gers

IN 2004, I asked the Société Marseillaise de Credit for advice on where I could place some of my hard-earned cash for my retirement. They suggested a plan epargne retraite at four per cent. I opened it with €1,000 and was charged €10 in frais d’inscription. Two years later, I decided to add another €3,000, for which I was charged €125. I didn’t see that one coming.

I forgot about all this until 2008, when I thought I would cash it in and invest in something else. I was informed that the account was blocked until I could prove that I was retired or had stopped work for some reason or other. I had to wait until late June ths year for confirmation from the RSI, which I presented to the bank as proof of my retirement.

I was shocked to see the bank had deducted another €135 in frais d’inscription, €289 for “décompte de la contribution sociale généralisée” and €21.89 “décompte de la contribution au rémboursement de la dette sociale”, leaving me with just €67 in interest.

I can’t imagine that I am the only one to fall into this trap. The bank say they have done nothing wrong and, of course, I should have read the small print ... and perhaps not listened to the bank employee who suggested it all in the first place.

Name and address supplied

I REFER to the update on Nationwide’s current account changes (Connexion, September). The line given by Nationwide’s own publicity is that all customers who pay in at least £750 a month get free European travel insurance. When we asked, they said customers who live in France, or elsewhere in Europe, are excluded from this benefit.

Graham PETTY
Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, Gard

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