[FoRK] Fucked by the French
Stephen D. Williams
Mon Oct 3 16:53:03 PDT 2005
I became sick when visiting France in Jan. I was staying in a cottage
in a small mountain village (hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time
and it was cheaper than the hotel). I went to the local village doctor;
cost EU25 which is at most half of a typical US charge sans insurance.
I'm not sure that the strange drugs she prescribed me helped or just
spaced me out when I was trying to think.
I talked to a guy who had moved there and started a small business and
he related to me a lot of the problems you mentioned, particularly the
personal liability of those who own companies.
Damien Morton wrote:
> 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 treatment.
> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> by a company (not part of the state but in bed with it) and they are
>> me again.
>> They went beyond threatening letters at the beginning of this year and
>> 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.
>> PS: Was that clear enough? I'll repeat it if need be.
>> FoRK mailing list
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Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw
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