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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Notaire contacted me to let me know that the plot next door to mine was for sale and by French law I am allowed first bid.
I wrote and queried the plot size and specific location and eventually (about 4 weeks checking dimensions etc) confirmed I would like to buy. The notaire told me to write by recorded post to confirm my interest.
The post office counter clerk in my local PO told me recorded delivery is not the same in France so I wrote standard post on 19th April.
On the 7th May the Notaire emailed me telling me there was a 2 month time limit for me to buy and that had expired on 6th May.
At no time was I told about a time limit, either verbally or in any correspondence and by telling me 3 weeks after my letter that it must be recorded delivery and therefore the letter I sent wasn't acceptable, is crazy. Why wait 3 weeks to let me know? I can respond to emails immediately.
Then to tell me on the 7th May my time was up on the 6th May and I cannot do anything because the 8th May is VE day.
Advice required please.
 

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There are many things in France that require that requests, notice or other official letters be sent by "lettre recommandé" and for these things regular post is simply not accepted. The problem is that "everyone knows" these things here in France.

Best bet might be to contact the notaire and ask if the plot has been sold already or if you might still make an offer on it.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are many things in France that require that requests, notice or other official letters be sent by "lettre recommandé" and for these things regular post is simply not accepted. The problem is that "everyone knows" these things here in France.

Best bet might be to contact the notaire and ask if the plot has been sold already or if you might still make an offer on it.
Cheers,
Bev
Good morning.

I'm not bothered about the 'recorded delivery'. What I am bothered about is that it was 'time sensitive' and I wasn't told. It doesn't matter whether or not you are French surely you have a right to know that there is a limited time to respond. At no stage of our extended correspondence did the Notaire write or say my response had to be in before 7th May. How am I supposed to know that?
 

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Good morning.

I'm not bothered about the 'recorded delivery'. What I am bothered about is that it was 'time sensitive' and I wasn't told. It doesn't matter whether or not you are French surely you have a right to know that there is a limited time to respond. At no stage of our extended correspondence did the Notaire write or say my response had to be in before 7th May. How am I supposed to know that?
It could just be the way you write - and it certainly is the way it reads - but your posts convey your annoyance & aggression.

Unfortunately you are venting it at the wrong person - Bev is only trying to offer help.

Bid periods are limited in the UK. Why would they not be in France? Indeed, how could they not have a deadline?

I agree it would have been simple & courteous for the Notaire to e-mail and tell you that you had not followed the correct procedure.

As Bev has suggested, I should have thought that if it is now open to all bidders that you can still bid.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It could just be the way you write - and it certainly is the way it reads - but your posts convey your annoyance & aggression.

Unfortunately you are venting it at the wrong person - Bev is only trying to offer help.

Bid periods are limited in the UK. Why would they not be in France? Indeed, how could they not have a deadline?

I agree it would have been simple & courteous for the Notaire to e-mail and tell you that you had not followed the correct procedure.

As Bev has suggested, I should have thought that if it is now open to all bidders that you can still bid.

Good Luck!

Ouch!
I admit my first post was written in annoyance but my 2nd post was simply factual.

Of course I was/am annoyed. It is not acceptable for Government bodies to assume evryone knows thier rules. I didn't. How does that make me wrong?

I have spent the last 2 months checking everything to make sure there is no confusion about the plot dimensions etc and been in regular and constant contact with the Notaire, including at least 8 emails and 3 letters. In my last letter on 16th April I specifically declared my intention to buy and I added that if there is anything else I needed to do would she let me know. I then had no correspndence until I received an email the day after the supposed timeline expired.

Why should I not be annoyed? After all this is a forum and I am simply expressing how I feel relative to the work I have carried out.
 

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Ouch!
I admit my first post was written in annoyance but my 2nd post was simply factual.

Of course I was/am annoyed. It is not acceptable for Government bodies to assume evryone knows thier rules. I didn't. How does that make me wrong?

I have spent the last 2 months checking everything to make sure there is no confusion about the plot dimensions etc and been in regular and constant contact with the Notaire, including at least 8 emails and 3 letters. In my last letter on 16th April I specifically declared my intention to buy and I added that if there is anything else I needed to do would she let me know. I then had no correspndence until I received an email the day after the supposed timeline expired.

Why should I not be annoyed? After all this is a forum and I am simply expressing how I feel relative to the work I have carried out.
yes by all means vent - we all need to do that sometimes

but venting at other forum members won't get you anywhere - you have been advised to contact the notaire to find out if you can still bid - & tbh I'd probably be venting BIG TIME at her!!!

if you want to take it further after that there must be some sort of official body in France where you can complain???
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
yes by all means vent - we all need to do that sometimes

but venting at other forum members won't get you anywhere - you have been advised to contact the notaire to find out if you can still bid - & tbh I'd probably be venting BIG TIME at her!!!

if you want to take it further after that there must be some sort of official body in France where you can complain???
Thank you.

The reason I posted on this forum was to seek advice about what my next steps could be. If there are any.
I do post on forums all of the time and liken it to a group of people in a pub having a pint together. Any wroth is obviously not directed at the other members of the group but simply an indication of how seriously and angry I feel about the situation.
If anyone feels my annoyance is aimed at them then I apologise un-reservedly.
I am seeking help and advice after all.
 

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Thank you.

The reason I posted on this forum was to seek advice about what my next steps could be. If there are any.
I do post on forums all of the time and liken it to a group of people in a pub having a pint together. Any wroth is obviously not directed at the other members of the group but simply an indication of how seriously and angry I feel about the situation.
If anyone feels my annoyance is aimed at them then I apologise un-reservedly.
I am seeking help and advice after all.
right - so you want to know what, if anything you can do next??


I haven't the foggiest since I'm in Spain................... anyone??
 

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Just to clear the air a bit, I never thought that the OP was upset with me. (Then again, after being a message board moderator as long as I have been, this stuff all kind of rolls off my back.)

I'm not trying to make excuses for the notaire, but here in France the whole notion of "information" is very different from that in the "anglo-saxon" world. (Well, that's what they call us, anyhow.) In official capacities, the French don't give out any more information than they absolutely have to - and in my experience, I've found it rare when someone (like a notaire) bothers to stop and think that they are dealing with a foreigner who might not know or understand how things work here in France.

I'm on the board for a French newcomers' association - a group that is set up to welcome newcomers (French and foreign) to an area and to help them get settled in. Yet any number of times when I've suggested printing certain procedures or rules in the bulletin (whether in French or in English, for our members who are just learning French) or otherwise explaining some of the ways the association works, I've been told point blank that "everyone knows that" and there is no reason to state the obvious. The fact of some things not being so obvious to us "furriners" just never occurs to some people here.

Like I say, it's not an excuse - but it's one of those annoying little things about the "culture" here that you ultimately have to learn to live with (and to do your best to help guide others around).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just to clear the air a bit, I never thought that the OP was upset with me. (Then again, after being a message board moderator as long as I have been, this stuff all kind of rolls off my back.)

I'm not trying to make excuses for the notaire, but here in France the whole notion of "information" is very different from that in the "anglo-saxon" world. (Well, that's what they call us, anyhow.) In official capacities, the French don't give out any more information than they absolutely have to - and in my experience, I've found it rare when someone (like a notaire) bothers to stop and think that they are dealing with a foreigner who might not know or understand how things work here in France.

I'm on the board for a French newcomers' association - a group that is set up to welcome newcomers (French and foreign) to an area and to help them get settled in. Yet any number of times when I've suggested printing certain procedures or rules in the bulletin (whether in French or in English, for our members who are just learning French) or otherwise explaining some of the ways the association works, I've been told point blank that "everyone knows that" and there is no reason to state the obvious. The fact of some things not being so obvious to us "furriners" just never occurs to some people here.

Like I say, it's not an excuse - but it's one of those annoying little things about the "culture" here that you ultimately have to learn to live with (and to do your best to help guide others around).
Cheers,
Bev
Hi

Just an update.

Yesterday I emailed the Notaire, very courteously, and told her I would be telephoning to discuss this matter to try to find a solution.

Today I telephoned at 10 am GMT and was told the Notaire would not be in until 1 pm GMT.

I telephoned at 2.45 pm GMT and was told she is in a meeting and to leave my telephone number so that she could telephone me when the meeting was finished.

At 4.15 pm GMT I telephoned again and was told she is now in another meeting.

I waited in all day but heard nothing.
 

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Hi

Just an update.

Yesterday I emailed the Notaire, very courteously, and told her I would be telephoning to discuss this matter to try to find a solution.

Today I telephoned at 10 am GMT and was told the Notaire would not be in until 1 pm GMT.

I telephoned at 2.45 pm GMT and was told she is in a meeting and to leave my telephone number so that she could telephone me when the meeting was finished.

At 4.15 pm GMT I telephoned again and was told she is now in another meeting.

I waited in all day but heard nothing.
Welcome to France. Don't you just love them?

If you think you have problems, I chased up my social security number two weeks ago.

After waiting in the queue, explaining for the 10th time, waiting for an(other) interview; explaining everything about my application again and giving permission for them to photocopy everything (again) the Official realised that I should already have a dossier.

After listening to him telephoning several departments I realised he was quoting my name & surname in reverse order - but that wasn't the problem.

Apparently the paper-clip on my dossier had broken & all the paperwork had scattered across the floor. Ten photo-copied documents - each with my name on!!

Of course they couldn't possibly telephone me to tell me this. They waited until I went to investigate..........

When you realise that the same service is given to the French, it doesn't seem half as bad.

So KEEP GOING - back on the phone in the morning. :boxing:
 

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Of course they couldn't possibly telephone me to tell me this. They waited until I went to investigate..........
If there is one thing I have learned in the past couple of years is that face-to-face meetings are far and away the best form of communication. Body language and eyeball contact is very useful. Email is virtually useless, post not much better and telephone is difficult as my French is not yet up to detailed stuff like legal matters.

I just went to our Mairie to discuss a small project - very easy 10 minute discussion and she promised to send the results today. I had tried to do this via email with no joy at all.

Bon chance
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If there is one thing I have learned in the past couple of years is that face-to-face meetings are far and away the best form of communication. Body language and eyeball contact is very useful. Email is virtually useless, post not much better and telephone is difficult as my French is not yet up to detailed stuff like legal matters.

I just went to our Mairie to discuss a small project - very easy 10 minute discussion and she promised to send the results today. I had tried to do this via email with no joy at all.

Bon chance
A final update.

I have today spoken to the Notaire and been told the plot was sold a month ago.

According to the Notaire I was sent a 'Recommandee A.R' letter I was supposed to have returned with a pink slip, signed and dated, also enclosed. I returned the pink slip but not the 'Recommendee' letter mainly because the letter enclosed never told me to return this letter. Because I never returned this letter after a month the plot was sold. Apparently all of my other actions were completely fruitless.
This cannot be right. How can a Government organisation get away with this?
 

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This cannot be right. How can a Government organisation get away with this?
What Government organisation?? On re-reading all of this it seems the issue is that you did not understand your obligations and relied on others to tell you specifically what to do and when to do it. Doesn't work that way - anywhere I've lived at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What Government organisation?? On re-reading all of this it seems the issue is that you did not understand your obligations and relied on others to tell you specifically what to do and when to do it. Doesn't work that way - anywhere I've lived at least.
That is all I need, some silly clueless remark based on nothing.

The letter I have in front of me clearly states 'You find in the envelope a pink paper and ot's necessary to you to send me by post as soon as possible, after dating and signing it'. That is exactly what I did within 3 days of receipt of the letter.

Where does it say include the 'Recommandee' letter, where does it say 'within a month' and where does it say 'recorded delivery'.
No I did not understand the procedure so 'yes' I do expect to be told what to do. I dd exactly what I was told.
 

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That is all I need, some silly clueless remark based on nothing.

The letter I have in front of me clearly states 'You find in the envelope a pink paper and ot's necessary to you to send me by post as soon as possible, after dating and signing it'. That is exactly what I did within 3 days of receipt of the letter.

Where does it say include the 'Recommandee' letter, where does it say 'within a month' and where does it say 'recorded delivery'.
No I did not understand the procedure so 'yes' I do expect to be told what to do. I dd exactly what I was told.
Based on years of experience as it happens and if you rely on others to tell you what to do then this is probably not your first disappointment or your last.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Based on years of experience as it happens and if you rely on others to tell you what to do then this is probably not your first disappointment or your last.
Helpful, very helpful.
This is probably not the first time you have made an unhelpful (clueless) response to a thread and it probably won't be your last.
 

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OK, has your correspondence with the notaire been in English or in French?

If in French, there are subtleties in the language (especially surrounding legal or semi-legal documents and information) that are pretty well incomprehensible to us anglo-saxons. French is a language where what you don't say explicitly is often as important as what you do say. And there are turns of phrase that mean something completely different from what we anglophones think they ought to mean. I actually have a book here on my desk called "Le petit décodeur de l'administration" which proves that even the French don't always understand legalese in their own language.

If your correspondence has been in English, I would suggest that it's a faulty translation, based on exactly the subtleties of the French language that I mentioned above. The French tend to translate word for word, sentence for sentence, pretty much exactly the way they would say it (or not) in French. Just take a look at a French cookbook - there's nowhere near the detail in the instructions as you'd expect from any English cookbook. They assume "everyone knows" certain basic things and so they don't bother to explain some things.

If the property was sold a month ago, then there is nothing you can do about it now. If you're still on speaking terms with the notaire (big if, I realize) you might have a friendly chat with them explaining how, as a foreigner, you misunderstood the letter you received, and how some additional instructions might have helped. (But whether or not that will do any good is anyone's guess.)

And actually, the notaires aren't part of the government. They're more like specialized lawyers - certified or registered by the government, but they're private business people. You're free to take your business elsewhere when it comes to your turn to sell property or draw up a will or whatever.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OK, has your correspondence with the notaire been in English or in French?

If in French, there are subtleties in the language (especially surrounding legal or semi-legal documents and information) that are pretty well incomprehensible to us anglo-saxons. French is a language where what you don't say explicitly is often as important as what you do say. And there are turns of phrase that mean something completely different from what we anglophones think they ought to mean. I actually have a book here on my desk called "Le petit décodeur de l'administration" which proves that even the French don't always understand legalese in their own language.

If your correspondence has been in English, I would suggest that it's a faulty translation, based on exactly the subtleties of the French language that I mentioned above. The French tend to translate word for word, sentence for sentence, pretty much exactly the way they would say it (or not) in French. Just take a look at a French cookbook - there's nowhere near the detail in the instructions as you'd expect from any English cookbook. They assume "everyone knows" certain basic things and so they don't bother to explain some things.

If the property was sold a month ago, then there is nothing you can do about it now. If you're still on speaking terms with the notaire (big if, I realize) you might have a friendly chat with them explaining how, as a foreigner, you misunderstood the letter you received, and how some additional instructions might have helped. (But whether or not that will do any good is anyone's guess.)

And actually, the notaires aren't part of the government. They're more like specialized lawyers - certified or registered by the government, but they're private business people. You're free to take your business elsewhere when it comes to your turn to sell property or draw up a will or whatever.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks Bev

However if this was complicated I would understand why problems arose. But it isn't and it clearly has nothing to do with language difficulties. The letter from the Notaire was in English and other correspondence between us was also in English.

At no time was I told the matter was time sensitive. According to the Notaire I should have accepted to purchase by recorded delivery in 2 months whereas according to the Immobilier (today) it was 1 month.

Even so I wrote to the Notaire 3 weeks before the deadline (without knowing there was a deadline) to ask what I needed to do next. I never received a reply.

The next response I received was a day after the deadline telling me I was out of time.

Today speaking to the Notaire I was told I should have returned the 'Reccomendee' form although was no mention of this in any correspondence and today I was also told by the Immobilier, who was in with the Notaire yesterday when I telephoned but never returned my call, the plot was sold.
 

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Then again, there is always the possibility that the plot was sold out from under you to a French person (i.e. to save it from falling into foreign hands) or to a buddy of the notaire, or to someone with an "in" with the local mayor, or with the seller of the property. France sometimes works this way. It sucks, but that's how it works.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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