Yesterday, with our business tax payment imminent, we went off to the nearest town to transfer some funds into our French bank, Credit Agricole.
As it was lashing with rain I chose the cowards way out -and stayed in the car whilst Mark dashed around the corner to make the deposit.
As Mark got back in the car he mentioned how the paying in process had altered and the paying in envelope was in such a different format that he had asked the assistant to help him. The assistant had obliged and even took the bank card off Mark to open the automatic deposit flap and placed the money inside. Job done.
This morning we checked online that the money had gone in ( it normally happens within 24 hours) but the account showed that it hadn't. We just assumed that the usual service was running slow, so we went out truffling as planned.
By lunchtime the deposit was still not showing in the account so we went in to another branch of Credit Agricole to find out why. The clerk agreed to phone the branch we had paid in to and would make sure it was recorded.
By 4 o`clock there was still no sign of the payment in so we decided to drive to the original branch in Carentan where Mark had deposited the money to see what was happening.
As we drew up in the car opposite the bank Mark let out a groan of dismay. Well - not quite true. The air turned very blue!!
On the right in the picture is Credit Mutuel bank ( who we do not bank with); next door is our bank - Credit Agricole.
Mark had suddenly realised that, in the rain and with his head down against the wind, he had gone into the Credit Mutuel bank the previous day, and had deposited the money into the wrong bank! My heart hit the floor. French bureaucracy can be hideous and I knew that we would probably have to jump through hoops to get the money back.
What amazed me was the fact that our Credit Agricole bank card had opened the Credit Mutuel safe deposit box - and the clerk had used it to do so!
We crossed the road, walked into Credit Mutuel, explained the error to the bank clerk and he directed us to some seats to await one of his colleagues. We sat there for what seemed like a lifetime with me making my feelings known to Mark: " Well, I am not leaving here without the money". With us not having any receipt or proof I looked to see if there were security cameras trained on the cash dispensers so at least there might be a record of him paying the money in. To my relief I saw several.
Finally we were led to an office where a very official- looking lady explained that she had seen the envelope but had been unable to recognise the strange account number written on it. She had checked her records and , to our surprise, informed us that there was in fact someone who banked with them who had the same surname as me - and they were thinking of simply paying the money into that account.
My heart hit the floor as I have heard of internet payments being directly transferred to wrong accounts and the money never seeing the light of day again!!
We explained that her colleague had used the card from the wrong bank to open their deposit box. She simply advised us that any card, even a French health card, would have opened it!!
We tried not to make too much of the fact that Mark had actually entered the wrong bank and had not noticed his mistake!!!
Much to our relief she produced the envelope with the money still inside it - but then asked us for some proof of identity. Mark shot out to the car like a brocanteur at a chateau sale, returning in less than a minute with our driving licenses.
Phew! We were saved! She handed over the envelope and we sheepishly left, immediately going next door into Credit Agricole to pay the money in.
The only saving grace for Mark is that the lady who had returned the money to us admitted that she, too, had turned up at work one morning and had walked into the wrong bank!
And so the tax man will be happy after all - but as for Mark...........................!!
A la prochaine, mes belles
A la prochaine, mes belles