French ATMs — Bandits!

Paris: If you were wondering why France is in such financial shit, you needn’t look further than the way Le Crédit Lyonnais treats its customers.

Are French banks worse than French mechanics?

November 22, I go to the ATM at my local Le Crédit Lyonnais, Agence Butte aux Cailles, bank and request 1,500 euros to fill the Christmas stockings of the family for Grand Pa Fred. The ATM gave me 120 euros and TWO, yes TWO, receipts indicating I received 1,500 euros which were duly deducted from my account.

I promptly enter the bank and explained to the receptionist my problem. He says I have nothing to worry about and that I should go away. As you may imagine, this is the beginning of a very conflictual relationship between me and the man at the desk.

Let’s not forget, the only paper I have is two receipts (why two?) that say the ATM gave me the money. I don’t even get a paper from the bank saying I came to register a complaint…nothing!

My Councilor assures me that same morning that the money will be on the account Tuesday, Nov. 26. 

Nothing to worry about?

I have TWO receipts saying I received 1,500 euros which were deducted from my account but 120 euros in my hand. So, I make the first of many scenes to come. I am received by my councillor who assures me (this is Friday, November 22) that my money will be back on the account in three working days; i.e., Tuesday, November 26. I should not worry. “If the banks didn’t give the money back,” he said, “who would have trust in the banks and the credit cards?”  Good question.

Wednesday, November 27, the money is still not back on my account, so I call, and leave a nasty message. The Councillor writes me an email that he has contacted the proper services to notify them of the problem (shouldn’t he have done this on the 22nd?), and that the money will be put back on my account in a day or two.

Friday, November 29, I enter the bank and start yelling “I want my money and if you don’t like me yelling then you can call the police!” A couple of employees seem to ‘duck and cover’ while the jerk at the reception who has brushed my concerns away four times in a week saying: “you’ll get your money back” refuses to talk to me or even look at me.

(I would like to see his reaction if half his monthly salary was deducted and he kept getting assurances it would be put back on his account in due course.)

So, nobody calls the police and I don’t get shot but I am received by a more efficient and client friendly councillor named Cedric who makes a few calls. What I learn is:

  • The services were only alerted after my complaint Nov. 27.
  • The ATM is sub-contracted to Brinks. 
  • Brinks hadn’t read the meter, or counters, or what ever they read, over the past ten days.

The efficient Cedric says I’ll get my money on Tuesday. What the fuck is this, Whimpy’s? “Ill gladly pay you Tuesday if I can steal your money today.

Here’s the cherry on the cake.

I get a call from the bank manager on Saturday, Nov. 30, assuring me my money will be on my account on Tuesday, December 3. When I mention that if I owed him money, say 340 million, he might not give me ten days to assure him I will pay it back, especially if there is no paper trail. He expresses his exasperation with me.

His answer: “You are not in need. You have plenty of money in the bank. If you were in need, I would give you credit until the money is returned.”

Oh, so fucking nice. It’s OK to take someone’s money if they don’t need it right now, as long as you are a God Damn bank!


  • Why can’t the fucking ATMs tell you they don’t have the money and refuse the transaction?
  • How can the ATM not give you the money but deliver TWO, I repeat TWO, receipts saying they did give you the money?
  • How can the money not delivered be deducted from your account?
  • Why didn’t I know the bank sub-contracts the ATMs to Brinks which only checks their counters, or whatever you call it, every two weeks?
  • What is this shit “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday …”?

Does anybody know of a better bank in France? I’d like a bank which actually cares about its clients and their concerns and their MONEY. On top of that, the LCL charges an arm and a leg for everything. But I’m afraid that what I am experiencing with the Crédit Lyonnais is the very reason foreign investors go to Germany.