Brittany Carpet Fitter Asks "Hiring Tradesmen in France are You Breaking the Law?"

Droves of people break the law in France every year employing undeclared and uninsured workers on their French homes. The British with either their principle or second home in France are the worst culprits The French are actively seeking them out!
By: Concierge Services and Lifestyle Management France
 
May 3, 2012 - PRLog -- We spoke to Jasen Saunders who owns  and runs both a carpet importing and carpet  fitting business in Brittany, France. Jasen who is clearly loved by his clients, testimonals are available for all to see online has been shocked on more than one occasion. He is the person called upon by insurers for insurance reports and insurance replacement work as the only known expert in France and has 27 years expereince.  

He said "The latest incident involved the carpet vendor and import from Normandy, a retired, uninsured English carpet fitter know as Nick from Brittany, a registered English Carpenter from Normandy known as Daren with a Brittany carpet importer and seller acting as the middle man. It was like an episode of Rogue Traders"  it was quite incredible what had happened. the client a retired doctor and his wife based in Normandy had a truly awful experience despite approaching what they though was a reputable firm. All of the carpets refitted some had to be replaced.

Whilst Jasen was speaking from the point of view of a flooring expert,  the requirements are the same for other trades too.

Jasen said, "In France in order to fit carpets professionally (i.e. for money), or other types of floor coverings such as vinyl or carpet tiles, a minimum of two things are required.

1. Registration with CFE, the 'Centre de formalités des entreprises' to obtain a Siret number permitting the artisan/company to work under the APE code '4333Z Travaux de revêtements des sols et des murs'.

2. Décennale insurance, as required by article L241-1 of the 'code des assurances' and article 1792-1 of the civil code.

We asked under French law what happens for failure to achieve either of the above two requirements?

We learned this will result in a number of consequences. Firstly, the artisan is liable to prosecution for working undeclared and/or uninsured. Secondly, the client is also liable to prosecution for employing an undeclared/uninsured person to carry out work on their property.

We asked is this only applicable to French registered businesses?
This applies equally to French artisans/companies and foreign tradesmen/companies alike. For example, a UK based carpet fitter (or any other UK based tradesman, or company) would have to register their activities in France, in effect, as a French subsidiary of their UK based company. There are no exceptions. That is how companies such as Marks & Spencer etc can operate in France.

We asked how does the French department for Social Security view this?
According to URSSAF, the main social security office in France, it is the place where the business operates (and not the location of the registered head office) that determines whether it is liable for contributions to the French social security system.

Add to that if an accident occurs on the property, the customer may be liable to be sued by an unregistered/uninsured artisan as they will be considered to be their employer.

Without a valid invoice covering the work carried out, problems can be encountered upon selling the house in the future, making the seller liable for any problems found by the buyer that should have been covered by the insurance within the guarantee period. Also, any amount of money spent on non-invoiced work will not be deductible from a future capital gains tax bill upon selling the property.

How can homeowners protect themselves from Rogue Traders in France?

Firstly, always insist on seeing a valid, current décennale insurance policy, the insurer normally provides the artisan with a summary document exactly for this purpose. This will tell you the type of work the tradesman is insured to undertake.

Having established that the trader has a current décennale insurance policy it is of huge importance to check the artisan's Siret number. This also involves ensuring that they are registered to carry out the correct category of work that you require them to do. If they are registered as anything other than the category of the work being done, then their insurance, if they have any, is not valid. Siret numbers can easily be checked using a variety of websites such as verif.com or one of many others which can be found by searching the internet for “verifier numero siret”. Usually the main activity is shown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R2Ic3rWkfY



Artisans will have been required to register at their local Chambre de Métiers upon setting up their business, and should have been provided with an identity card, which they are required to carry. It will list all the categories of work permitted. Ask to see it and check the 'valable jusqu'au' date. The only exception to this is if the artisan is an autoentrepreneur, whereupon this registration is not required. However, décennale insurance is still obligatory for a carpet fitter registered as an autoentrepreneur

Don’t be caught out by the many unscrupulous cheats that will try any trick or story to try to persuade you otherwise, the rules are quite clear and are in place to protect the consumer and artisan alike. A few simple, quick checks will tell you if an artisan is genuine.  

Undeclared/uninsured tradesmen are easily able to unfairly undercut the prices of genuine artisans, and whilst they evade charges and taxes/insurance premiums, everyone else subsidises their reduced-cost lifestyles. But the bulk of the risk is borne by the client; they may be paying less for the work, but they have no protection in the event of an unsatisfactory job, and potentially a great deal more to lose, especially in the event of a serious accident, which could have devastating and far-reaching consequences.

URSSAF have an English language website containing a wealth of useful information to help you understand the complex French social security system anglais.urssaf.fr/

If you need a carpet fitter in France Jasen Saunders can be reached at http://Carpet-Fitter.eu and his range can be viewed at http://CarpetFrance.com
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