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TL;DR: French bank fails to close an account despite having all the necessary paperwork and continues charging fees. Is there anything we can do (such as complaint to some higher authority)? Longer version below.

My cousin is from the US and went to France for a year as an ESL teacher. For this she had to open a French bank account to pay her bills, get her pay and so on.

In March, she filed the paperwork necessary to close the account on May 31st, then left the country during May. At the start of June, the account was charged the monthly account fee and went into overdraft, so they couldn't close it despite the fact that the account should have been closed already.

After that, my cousin has sent them all the paperwork they required multiple times and the account is still not closed. Latest development is that they wired all the money out in preparation for closing, but failed to actually close the account, and so once again they charged the monthly account fee and sent it into overdraft, precluding it from closing.

Is there anything my cousin can do to make them finally close the account?

  • Contact the French banking authorities? And don't go back to France... – RonJohn Sep 13 at 20:20
  • @RonJohn She doesn't intend to after this (and several other) experience. Might you suggest some French banking authorities that may be contacted? The only one that comes to mind is the French central bank and I have no idea if they actually deal with this kind of thing. – Tomeamis Sep 13 at 20:23
  • According to Google, I'd start with the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – RonJohn Sep 13 at 20:27
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Quelle coïncidence, I did the exact same thing -- taught English in France and went through the same problems when closing my bank account.

What finally did it was a physical letter in the mail to the French bank branch, sent with all the flourishes of a French business letter. "Je vous prie d'agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées," etc. -- the whole thing.

Ask them to finally close the account, cancel any excess fees that were incurred since the final wire transfer since the close was obviously left open in error. Include a copy of any previous, relevant, correspondence.

And, frankly, if they don't close the account, what are they going to do? Your cousin is no longer in the country and does not have any obligation to pay any fees, nor does the bank have any recourse, especially since you have everything documented. Doing nothing is also a perfectly valid option, especially since the wire transfer is already completed.

In my case, it took a good month to get everything resolved after sending the letter.

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