Professional French website fail

When Emmanuel Macron became the French president earlier this year, one of his first promises was to close down RSI (Régime Social des Indépendents). RSI is the administrative body that looks after freelancers, like me. We pay large sums in social fees every year, yet have few rights to claim a range of benefits offered to traditionally employed people with pay slips.

I haven’t met a person who isn’t happy about RSI closing down. It’s disorganised, inflexible, expensive and generally broken. This is an organisation that still uses my old address from ten years ago despite my calls, letters and even an in-person visit to change it. Apparently, it’s very difficult to change a business address, so I shouldn’t be surprised that creating a useful website is beyond them. For more than a year, RSI have been encouraging us freelancers to pay online. The email says “It’s simple, rapid and secure” (in French of course). Here’s a snapshot of their state-of-the-art website:

RSI website

 

Despite having some concerns that it wouldn’t be simple, rapid or secure, I clicked on the link to pay my quarterly bill. Can you guess how that went? Bingo!

 

In English, that says “The service has experienced technical problem. Please contact your regional technical support”. I tried calling it once when a previous payment was stuck in a loop before confirmation. Their solution was that I should pay another way.

So today, I’m paying using the technology of the seventies — a cheque book, an envelope and a stamp. It’s simple, rapid and secure.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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2 comments on “Professional French website fail
  1. rosemarykneipp says:

    Hi,
    I felt I should answer this! I started contributing to RSI in 1979 when I set up my translation business and for very many years (I can’t remember when it changed) free-lancers only got 50% of the health reimbursements that wage earners did! Luckily I have not encountered many problems with RSI. My great difficulty was with URSSAF. When I moved from Paris to Blois three years ago and added “locateur de meublé” to my professional status (that is what you have to do in my département if you have a rental property but it’s a different system in the neighbouring département), they cancelled my status as a translator. I wrote countless letters because no one seemed to know who was responsible. I finally got somehow helpful on the phone at URSSAF who talked me through filling in the form which I had apparently not filled in correctly. No wonder – those forms are incomprehensible even to an experienced legal and technical translator! I only have another 18 months before I retire so am hoping that there won’t be too many complicated changes ….

    • Wendy says:

      Oh, Rosemary, what a pain! Changing departments shouldn’t cause so many problems, should it. I’d actually like to change the name of my business but I’m loathe to even attempt it for the pile of paperwork and problems it will no doubt cause!

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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