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The invoice of the craftsman is higher than the estimate? The electricity bill flames for no reason? If the procedure differs according to the interlocutor, the essential thing is to justify the dispute, proofs in support: validated quote, past invoices...

Denounce a bill too expensive

In the building and appliance sector, in case of repairs, repairs or work carried out at your home, the professional involved is required toprepare a detailed estimate as soon as the estimated amount is more than 150 €. The only exception is the absolute urgency: when the problem endangers people or buildings.

A non-modifiable quote

Established on a mandatory or optional basis, the quote commits the professional who can not invoke unforeseen difficulties or a bad evaluation of the duration of the project to charge more... We can ask him to rectify his invoice by invoking Article 1134 of the Civil Code according to which: "Legally formed agreements are lawful to those who made them. They can be revoked only by mutual consent, or for the reasons that the law authorizes."
A major water leak, an electrical problem, the door slammed with the keys inside... The situation is classic: the troubleshooter acts on the field and at the same time makes the diagnosis of the problem and the repair by signing a "Good for agreement before work".

A bill too salty

But if he is unscrupulous, even dishonest, he can bring you to to accept unjustified work or practice prohibitive tariffs, the emergency situation making you lose all lucidity.
If afterwards, we realize that the amount invoiced is much too high, we must ask the professional reimbursement of part of the bill by noting that you file a complaint with the Departmental Directorate of Population Protection (DDPP ) or the Departmental Directorate of the Cohesion and the Protection of the populations (DDCSPP) if you do not obtain satisfaction.
Do not hesitate either contact an approved consumer association who may engage in a "group action" if the conditions are met.

Group action

Created by the law of 17 March 2014 (known as the Hamon law), the group action will allow, as soon as enforcement decrees are issued, victims of the same dispute to easily obtain compensation for the damage suffered. It may be implemented for disputes arising from the sale of goods or the provision of services. The fields of health and the environment, on the other hand, are excluded. The aggrieved consumer will have to report the dispute to one of the 16 associations approved by the State. If the association is seized by at least two people, it may decide to initiate a group action before the High Court.
If the victim consumers are easily identifiable, the procedure is called "simplified": they will all be compensated without even having to request it. If they are not, the injured consumers will have to report to the condemned company. The latter will nevertheless have the obligation to inform its customers in conditions that remain to be defined by decree.

Gas, electricity, telephone...

Energy consumption or communications is almost always the same and the last bill is in sharp increase. As soon as you notice the anomaly, you must contact the services concerned. It can be a administrative error easily identifiable and repairable.
If this first step is not sufficient, the complaint procedure set by the energy suppliers or the telephone operators should be followed. The procedure is to be carried out with the "customer service". You must present your arguments by enclosing the supporting documents (for example the latest invoices).
The claim can be made sometimes via the Internet, as on the site //particulier.edf.fr/fr/accueil.html. In case of failure, there remains the recourse to energy or telecommunications mediator who can help find an amicable agreement.

A high bill after a water leak?

If in doubt about a water bill, first check for leaks. Just take the meter up, do not use water for several hours and take a new reading. If there is a difference, a leak is the cause of the increase, and it will pay. However, it is possible to obtain a ceiling on the amount to be paid, if the volume of water indicated in the last bill is more than double the usual consumption.
To benefit from this measure, within a maximum of one month following receipt of the invoice, have the leak repaired and send to your drinking water service a repairer's certificate mentioning the date of repair and the location of the leak. If all conditions are met, the amount of the invoice will be limited to twice the usual consumption.

Clemency but exceptions

On the other hand, the cap will not be applicable if the leak concerns household appliances (for example a washing machine that malfunctions) or sanitary equipment (leaking water heater...) or heating. If no leaks have been found, the water department must be asked, within one month of receipt of the invoice, to check that the meter is working properly.
If its malfunction is found, the control will not be your responsibility.
Otherwise, you will have to pay the bill and the check. However, we can seize the water mediator.

Useful interlocutors

  • Mediator of Water Water Mediation BP 40463 75366 Paris cedex 08 - mediation-eau.fr
  • National Energy Ombudsman To be seized by mail to the following address: Free answer n° 59252 75443 Paris cedex 09 or via the website energie-mediateur.fr Information by telephone: 0800 112 212
  • Addresses of DDPP or DDCSPP economie.gouv.fr, heading DGCCRF (Directorate General of competition, consumption and the repression of frauds).

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