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When can a French business charge you for a quote?

It may not be the norm in France, but most companies are allowed to charge for a quote, except those in certain industries

Usually offering a quote is free, but most tradespeople are actually allowed to charge if they wished Pic: ALPA PROD / Shutterstock

Before ordering any product or service, you have the right to know the price, which often means receiving a devis (quote). 

Usually this will be free, but there is nothing stopping most tradespeople charging for a quote. You may be asked to pay, particularly if the professional has had to travel to your home or to undertake an in-depth analysis of the situation. 

This can include technicians who have to take apart a machine or a mechanic who must spend time identifying the problem with a vehicle. 

In this case, the professional must inform clients of the price of the quote ahead of time, otherwise they have the right to refuse to pay. In some cases, the professional will offer to deduct the price of the quote from the final price of the service if you choose to hire them. 

Read more: Can tradespeople in France raise price of job after signing a quote

However, this is not obligatory and the quote price is not linked to the cost of the service. There are certain industries which are not allowed to charge for quotes. 

These include removal companies, funeral homes, car hire firms, personal care services and opticians selling corrective lenses. In the building trade, you might also be asked to pay an acompte (deposit) before the work can begin. 

This must be stated in the quote.

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