Friday, 23 January 2015

Underhand bank tactics

Posted by Rosie

We get quite a few free newsletters and magazines drop into our post box - various levels of Government send them out so we my get a newsletter or magazine from Lenault, Condé-sur-Noireau, Calvados or Normandy and we get regular ones from CAF, the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales from whom we receive the equivalent of Child Benefit.  Most I do, at least, flick through but generally they head fairly quickly to the recycling bin.

A couple of days ago another magazine appeared, called Dossier Familiales and with the name being similar to Caisse d'Allocations Familiales I assumed it was from them, perhaps a new format for an older magazine.

Something, however, made me read it on for bit more detail.  There was covering letter saying that thanks to our subscription to our "Compte à Composer Crédit Agricole", we had accepted a subscription to the Dossier Familiale and we would get the first 3 editions free.  There was also a small logo to Crédit Agricole in the top corner of the letter, but no address.  Crédit Agricole is our bank.

Alarm bells started to ring so I read on.  There was rather a lot of waffle and then a small, not exceedingly clear PS:

This PS said that after our trial period of 3 monthly magazineas we would receive a letter confirming our subscription and we would then have to pay 10.90€ per quarter for this magazine.

Hang on a minute ...  

First, Simon and I have not signed up for anything although we did recently ask the bank for details of a slightly different bank account which we were thinking about changing to, but as yet have done nothing about.

Second, why should a business or bank expect YOU, their customer, to opt out of something when many people will not realise they have to do this?  Being your bank they already have your bank details so can slip this through without some people noticing.  Luckily I read French well enough to realise this but having asked about online I know a lot of people have continued to receive the magazine, whilst not wanting it and thus paying out 43.60€ per year.  This is not just a problem with English speakers either and I found a forum where many French people have not opted out and are very unhappy having to pay for something they thought was free and never asked for.

In the PS it does give a phone number to ring in order to cancel your subscription.  I have also heard people saying that have gone to their bank and succeeded in cancelling it there, in person.  What you cannot do, however, is cancel it through Britline which is the English speaking side of the bank, the side many people use for all their banking, especially if they do not speak French.  What a totally underhand way of going about things and I am sure the name was chosen to ensure some people thought it was a free magazine from CAF.

I will be heading to the bank as soon as possible to cancel the subscription that we never asked for in the first place.  Several other expats are also doing the same having seen the post I put up on Facebook.  

Are you  a Crédit Agricole customer?  If so, do watch out for this magazine landing in your letter box and if you don't want it make sure you cancel it.  As for changing our bank account, we may well be changing it soon ... to another bank.

UPDATE - I went in to the bank today but the cashier knew nothing about the magazine.  She looked on my account but then said she couldn't cancel my subscription as I wasn't officially subscribed yet and was still in the 3 month trial period.  So it appears I have to receive the magazine for 3 months and then cancel it.  I may try and ring the number on the letter on Monday as I would rather get it cancelled now and not in 3 months time when I might forget.

Post Comment Love


  1. That is very cheeky and underhand of them - good luck cancelling it #pocolo

    1. I tried and failed to cancel it in the bank today which I have explained in an update above #sigh

  2. Awww naughty naughty! We have changed bank recently too as the old one is not really nice now. Yes I suggest you change bank as I have a feeling this will not be the last of these things. #pocolo

  3. How ruddy cheeky! This is such an underhand way of getting money out of you for something that you haven't even requested! I would definitely call them if I was you! Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

    1. It's on my Monday To Do List, Victoria. I am not impressed one bit.

  4. The dossier. Familiale Is an excellent magazine with lots of really useful info And Web site including moddel lettres. If you dont want it call the Number on web site And cancel

    1. I don't doubt that it may be an excellent magazine, it is the method by which Crédit Agricole get their customers to subscribe to it that I am unhappy with.


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