Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

J'ai pas le moral, je suis fatigué(e)....

People have been asking about my new place. I don't know how to say this, so I'm just going to come right out with it - the apartment I thought I had was a scam and my 1500€ are gone. Long gone. As in probably buying some con-artist Frenchie drinks in Mexico. En gros, this guy pretended to be the renter of the apartment and rented it out (separately) to both myself and a Parisian, giving us both a full set of keys. I believed him because I signed a contract, got a receipt for the deposit & the first month's rent, a copy of his passport, a copy of his EDF bill and three different phone numbers for him. But I first became suspicious when I went over there last Friday and saw that none of his stuff had been moved out. I immediately called him (and the other two numbers provided) but all of the phones were off. I also emailed but didn't get any response. I became more and more worried as the weekend went on and decided not to move in Sunday as planned. I came back Monday and found someone else's stuff there, but no one home. And then I went back last night and knocked and it turns out the guy had also signed & received the exact same paperwork as I had and had just moved in Sunday. We went to the police to file a report, but they unfortunately laughed in our faces, saying it was our own fault for not going through an agency. Now we are going about it on our own, trying to find who the real owner/renter of the apartment is, and if they're aware that someone else is going around giving away keys to their place. I guess you can never be too careful.

So that's that. I've freaked out enough over this these past few days (which unfortunately involved several nights of heavy drinking and one shameful night at poor Princesse Ecossaise's house) and now I am sort of over it. Yes, it sucks, but I can't do anything about it and I need to dedicate the little energy I have left to finding a new apartment, and finding one urgently. The problem is, I'm leaving tomorrow on a business trip and won't get back til mid-September. So I'm missing two weeks of apartment hunting in the prime housing season in Paris, which leaves me feeling a little more than depressed, not to mention desperate. There's nothing I can do about it while I'm gone though, so I'm just going to try to put it aside for now and focus on my trip. But please, for the love of God, if you know of an available rental or even an apartment share, please send it my way!

The one bright spot in my week was scoring a free ticket to a private Tryo concert sponsored by FNAC, promoting their new album. They are one of my favorite French bands, and my knowledge of them goes way back to when I first met Fabrice. It was the only CD he brought to the US, so we listened to it pretty much constantly for two years. I knew the words without even knowing what I was saying. There are still certain songs that are difficult for me to listen to (ie. the ones that were "our" songs), but that wasn't enough to stop me from seeing them in concert as it's something I've always wanted to do. And it was a nice respite from all the stress of the past few days, if only for a short while. So here's a brief clip I took of them, before a big security guard came over and told me there was no filming allowed:



Blogger Justin said...

Well that absolutely sucks! You said it, try to forget about it and just deal with your business trip for now. I am positive when you get back you will find the perfect place and soon forget about all of this. Take care!

September 3, 2008 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Maddy said...

Puta!n de con (see, I can still swear in french, and I know worse), for this thief to take your money with this scam. And the same to the french flics for not helping... it's stealing, and it's a lot of money.
My hat off to you for your resilience... bon voyage and bonne chance!

September 3, 2008 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Oh Sam, that is awful! It sounds like you have an amazing attitude about it, though. I hope you find something soon and they catch that sale con who f'ed you over!

PS-Free concert? Score! I heart Tryo. Also reminds me of an ex-copain, though, grr.

September 3, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Loulou said...

What an asshole! How awful. I felt sick reading your story.

Will you be back in Paris the 17-20? I'll be there those few days and would love to meet for a drink or a coffee.
Take care and good luck!

September 3, 2008 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Bijou salon said...

OH Sam...I am so sorry to hear this, but seriously what more could you do? Those are all the things you do did to prevent this...was his passbook fake? what an asshole!!!!

ahh, dare i say, everything happens for a reason:(

take care and have a safe trip, something better will be out there and that guy will get his eventually, what comes around goes around!

big hug - kim

September 3, 2008 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Lord said...

ok, my thought with the other guy in the apartment. you have contracts and nothing is saying is lost so recoup it somehow while you await the real owner to arrive.

where is the building guardian? that fucker is a suspect in my opinion...

squat in the flat --- also, the actual owner should have some sort of insurance that can hopefully compensate you under theft clause. in addition, since you have contracts don't the renter laws now play in your favour as tenants who cannot be evicted? who receives the next months rent check?

Last, it scares me to think that the actual owner has been offed and is stuffed in the closet given that a passport has been provided etc. cant you provide said passport to the authorities?

Also, talk to the american embassy and bitch. call the french embassy and bitch.

the guardian is an accomplice. TRUST.

have fun in tunisia and see you when you return! Le Mills!

September 3, 2008 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Jennie said...

Oh man, I am so sorry Sam!!! That sucks!! I'm so angry for you!!

September 3, 2008 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Antipodeesse said...

I can't believe your bad luck. This is so unfair.

Even though I'm not in Paris, you can stay with us and commute into town for as long as you need.

September 3, 2008 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

I agree with LORD. Dont take this lying down. D says even if the police laughed at you theye shouldnt have and you have the right to file a complaint. He also said you have the right to look for an apartment without an's not illegal and they should be helping you try to find this guy. He also thinks you should share the apartment with the guy. You paid rent, you have a contract to prove it...and when next month rolls around someone surely is going to come looking for the rent. Im so sorry Sam, there are a lot of nasty people around out there. Thank god there are good ones to compensate. Good luck and keep us posted :)

September 3, 2008 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Sorry to hear about your bad luck. There really are some nasty people out there.

September 3, 2008 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

reading your story made me SO MAD for you ... that totally sucks. and the fact that the police laughed at you instead of helping you makes me even madder.

good luck in your apartment search, i know it can be very frustrating, but hopefully you'll find a perfect place soon!

I'll be in Paris the first weekend of October, if you want to meet up!

September 3, 2008 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger eastcoastsnob said...

Awww. Sam. I was in the same spot last December. My con artist asshole took money from 3 of us and told each of us different move in dates. 4 with the old remate who's returned deposit check bounced. Two of us also went to the police and they took a report but said not much could be done. But when all 4 of us showed up they put a warrant out, but it's still hasn't done much. I know EXACTLY how you feel and I am soo sorry! I will contact two people and see their studio's are available. I'll send you an email to follow up.

September 3, 2008 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

I have a sneaky suspicion that the original owner is in on this.

September 3, 2008 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

oh man, that really sucks. I can't believe the cops can't do SOMETHING. You are a resident and you have been wronged.
YOu can't both stay in the place? Anyway, why should the guy be the one that gets to stay and not you?
You never know, perhaps he was in on it.

September 3, 2008 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

You could try Lodgis ( They're a bit expensive, but you could get something for a few months which would give you a bit more time to find a good place.

September 3, 2008 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Princesse Ecossaise said...

Oh chick, firstly I am SO sorry it really did turn out to be a scam, I can't get over that it's awful. I knew there was defo something dodgy about the whole thing but I really was crossing my fingers that all would be ok. So sorry.

FP says you really should go back to the police and tell them that you want to 'porter plainte', because there is no way that this fecker should get away with it. If you need anything you always know where we are, and FP says he can come to talk to the police with you if you decide to go down that route.

Now secondly, you have nothing to be ashamed of for Saturday night!! If it makes you feel any better, I am feeling very very ashamed about that night too as memories slowly start to come back to me! Aw maaaan!


September 3, 2008 at 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so disappointed with the police response. Are they not going to try to do anything at all? Maybe try the gendarmarie..Christophe's grandmother had her purse stolen and when she went to the police they treated her like shit so she went to the gendarmes who dealt with it properly...worth a shot maybe?

September 3, 2008 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Fned said...

Oh Sam, how awful!!! Really!!!

A few weeks ago a colleague from work told me some apartments in his building were up for rent (at the time I was inquiring for a friend of mine) but he warned me that the building was in dire need of repairs (imagine that in French terms). In any case, he lives on the rue de montgallet (12th near bastille).... I can ask him tomorrow if an apartment is still free if you want.

In any case, if you're interested email at francine(dot)nedelcoux(at)gmail and I'll send you my cel phone.

Stay strong girl, us tryo fans have stick together! ;)


September 3, 2008 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam, do you carry an insurance policy? This theft may be covered, particularly if you filed a police report. If you havent, maybe would be wise to do so and try submitting an insurance claim, you never know.

I admire the way you bounce back, just move right on from this girl, you are going to be just fine.

September 3, 2008 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger a quasi French woman said...

Well... I am sorry for your very bad luck with that theft of your time, energy, trust, and money.

I'm not surprised about the police reaction though, it's probably considered a civil crime vs a crime against a person or their property, contradictorily enough--since it was both a crime against you and your money.

From a strictly sociological point of view, it would be interesting to know if anyone in the police hierarchy is even giving any thought to what must be an ever-increasing crime, based upon your own experience.

You would think that the blog universe might cough up something from someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone.

I wish you the very best luck in securing housing as soon as possible.

In any event, these travails are making for one helluva blog, Sam!

September 4, 2008 at 3:47 AM  
Blogger Mal said...

ah sam this sucks, i'm sorry, you didn't deserve this! i just read through the comments and yeah... can't you just stay in the place with the dude until you find better?

also.. the thought of the owner being offed is a bit scary too.

have fun on the trip and keep me updated on the situation.

September 4, 2008 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Lord said...

I am sorry, but this story is still resignating with me...

the guardian of the building is in on this one, i feel it. Have the bitch arrested, put the lights on him/her and see if a confession is made. as a responsible party for the building it baffles me that no action or awareness was expressed.


September 4, 2008 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger corine said...

Quelle honte! I agree with Princesse Ecossaise, you should "porte plainte". J'admire beaucoup ton attitude positive.

September 4, 2008 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Hi Sam,

I'm with everyone... I spoke with Alex and he and I both feel after talking that the guardian may very well be "in" on this.. He/She has direct access to keys and knows when people are away on vacation. Alex says that you have EVERY right to porter plainte and you should- I can't believe the cops laughed! That's just DAMN wrong! They're supposed to help when a crime has been committed and whatever the F**K they're personal opinions may be, they need to be supportive and do their darn job!! Go back when you come back and if you need Alex and me to go with, let me know... Those hoodlums are busy scamming other people in other apts, I'm sure of it! It's a professional scam ring and they need to be caught. It warrants attention from the police... If you need ANYTHING... You know I'm here! --Leese

September 4, 2008 at 2:55 PM  

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