[FoRK] Fucked by the French

Damien Morton fork
Mon Oct 3 15:33:21 PDT 2005

The flip side is that my sister, who lives in France, got a nasty virus 
which needed a 1-year treatment on very expensive pharmaceuticals. The 
treatment is so debilitating that many people cant make it through the 
whole year, and there is a 6-month recovery period after coming off the 

I think the cost would have been $60K or somesuch, not to mention the 
cost of being unable to work for 18 months or so. Had she been in the 
U.S. she would have been uninsured, unemployed, and bankrupting herself 
and her family.

Unless she was of retirement age, of course.

Dr. Robert Harley wrote:
> Orthogonally - and to get to the point - please DO NOT ever get
> involved in business in France - it makes sense to hire the services
> of another party to make sales there, but DO NOT get caught up in
> running any business there yourself. (I wouldn't say the same of
> other European countries - even Germany which is most like France but
> where people have a clue and are turning the corner). If you do set
> up shop in France, you WILL be hit by unimaginably unjustifiable
> expense and red-tape. Even if you have been careful, taking good
> and expensive advice from legal types and accountants, you WILL be
> screwed. Excuse the all-caps but I have felt like saying this for a long
> time.
> One thing is that in France you generally pay for previously incurred
> charges (previous year, previous quarter) rather than paying in
> advance - this applies to tax, social security, secondary health
> insurance, pension funds, CSG ("general social contribution"),
> "training charges" and so on. While income tax and company tax are
> not particularly bad on their own, you WILL be charged innumerable
> other taxes (effectively taxes even if they are not called that) that you
> never even dreamed of. CSG is fairly minor but is both payable and
> taxable. Yes, you understood right: you pay it and you pay income tax
> on it ("Oh, but it's not a tax, it's just an obligatory contribution
> to cover the social security deficit). The first year in France is
> bliss, the rest are bad, and year you leave is hell!
> The point what brung in this diatribe... I left France 18 months ago.
> I now pay for British national health insurance and an executive
> health plan than covers everything 100% and the national pension fund
> and a private one too. I spent last year double paying everything
> (quadruple paying health).
> The French national pension scheme finally recognised, after mucho
> letters exchanged, that I overpaid (due to their threatening letters -
> they owe me money back but the fact of the matter is that I will never
> get a refund (plus it goes to pay French pensioners, not any pension of
> mine)). The French national health scheme also finally accepted that
> I overpaid and thatI owe them nothing more.
> But the "obligatory complementary health insurance" (which is on top of
> social security, for managers and other non-salaried positions) is charged
> by a company (not part of the state but in bed with it) and they are after
> me again.
> They went beyond threatening letters at the beginning of this year and
> actually
> took me to court to get payment of (undue) charges. I replied with
> numerous letters and copies of documents to prove that I have two
> health insurances in the U.K. and the last I heard was that they
> withdrew the case and that I had in fact overpaid by 400 euros, but
> now they are demanding more than 700 euros again, and this for a
> coverage that I don't need or want, and including surcharges for late
> payment inspite of the fact that they know I have two coverages already.
> I'll repeat, and this is not the result of a moment of anger but
> rather of long-withheld anger and experience: do not under any
> circumstances ever place any of your assets in France, do not deal in
> France except at arms' length via a third party. Do not expect
> fairness or the rule of law in they way that you might expect in any
> modern state - you will (and I mean you - company law does not protect
> you) be liable to being f*cked over to fill the innumerable massive
> deficits of the French guv'mint.
> Don't do it.
> R
> PS: Was that clear enough? I'll repeat it if need be.
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