Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, November 10, 2012

La Banque Postale

By the time 4pm rolls around, I will have sat through 18 hours of class on "Contractual Obligations" in the past two days. This class, along with the French Economy class we had a few weeks ago, were two of the main courses I was really dreading.

But it actually didn't turn out to be that bad, mostly thanks to the professor.  I'd guess he was in his 70's, and he peppered his lecture with tons of interesting anecdotes, including one about how a Portguese woman was able to convince the Magistrates to rule in her favor to the tune of 1 million Francs thanks to a very low-cut, sexy red dress.  I have to say, older French men crack me up, especially when they've gotten to that age where they really don't care what they say anymore, nor who they say it to.

Another story that stuck out enough for me to make a note to blog about it was regarding La Poste.  I'm assuming there are at least a few of you out there who have bank accounts with La Poste, so I wanted to make sure to get the info out there.  French banks all have a legislative bank code that they have to adhere to, and it states that if someone steals your check book or your bank card, and makes fraudulent purchases with it, the bank has to reimburse you. Good deal, right?

It is unless you are with La Poste.  You see, it turns out that La Poste has their own legislative postal code that governs them, and when the laws were passed allowing La Poste to become a bank, they were really sneaky about it, and stuck it in at the end of a really long day - ie the legislators were still in session and voting at 1am.  So by that point, no one was really examining things very clearly, and they just passed the laws without looking too closely at them.  Which is how La Poste managed to have it written into the postal code that if you lose your checkbook or bank card and purchases are made, tough cookies for you.  Ie unlike the other banks, they have no legal obligation to reimburse you for fraudulent charges. Pretty scary, non?

Our professor learned this the hard way when his lawyers' association had their checkbook stolen out of their main office.  I had to laugh picturing all of those high-powered lawyers being out-lawyered by La Poste, and even he had to begrudgingly admit they'd been had.

The moral of the story is - with how much bank theft there is nowadays, it might be a good idea to avoid La Poste bank if you can....Or if you can't, at least think twice about taking out their supplementary bank insurance via Alliatys!



Blogger meredith said...

That's good info to share. The big banks BNP or SG, are so expensive that going postal is tempting...but it seems that they are sneaky, too.

November 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger MilkJam said...

FYI with regular banks they will only reimburse you for fraudulent charges made AFTER you declare the card/checkbook lost or stolen. Unless you have their insurance of course.

November 10, 2012 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Sara Louise said...

We have an account with La Poste so good to know! Thanks!!! :)

November 12, 2012 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger misplaced texan said...

Wow, who knew going to school would teach you something new, after all? ;-) That's some pretty helpful information - I'd bet half of France doesn't know it. PS, I'm not sure if I already congratulated you on getting into such an awesome program (between twitter and Instagram, etc. I can't keep track), but congratulations!! Bises!

November 13, 2012 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger the fly in the web said...

The postmaster told me this when I opened an account years ago...when the bank was still part of the post office...but it explains the problems I had when someone else's purchases appeared on my bank statement, and the chap on the other end of the line was adamanant that they could not reimburse me as I had not reported my card stolen.
As it hadn't been, I couldn't.

My postmaster sorted it for me with a telephone call to a friend in the banking branch...but on my own...who knows!

November 14, 2012 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Katia said...

That's totally crazy, I'm passing it on to my colleague who is with La Poste.
He's had quite a few problems with them, actually - salary that gets cleared within 24 hours at my bank takes several days with his and the like...
This is what happens, imho, when a postal service decides to turn itself into bank.

November 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM  
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