What is a Lettre Recommandée in France & When Do You Need One?
In your former country of residence, you may have seldom visited the Post Office. Here in rural France, we know our local postal workers well enough to chat in the local supermarket! Paperwork demands in France mean that it’s more than likely you will be expected to send sensitive documents by mail. So, here is some useful postal advice: the lettre recommandée avec Accusé de Réception.
What is a lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception?
A lettre recommandé refers to registered post or a signed-for delivery in France, while a lettre recommandée avec Accusé de Réception is a signed-for delivery with legal proof of posting. You receive a receipt giving the date and time of posting. Most importantly, you’ll receive legal proof that the destination has been reached, i.e. legal proof of reception. When the letter is received, the recipient is expected to sign for the letter, and this process is logged. You will receive a cardboard slip in the post to say that your letter was indeed received.
If the recipient was not there, they will receive an ‘avis de passage’, and the letter will be redelivered.
It is the only form of posting that constitutes legal proof.
Why send a lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception?’
Normally, these letters are used for official correspondence or correspondence that could involve legal action. Some examples are: payment for an unpaid bill, house sale documents, payment of a fine, etc.
They are also useful if you are choosing to end a contract with an internet or telephone provider, a rental contract or an insurance contract and the like. Often a legal contract may stipulate that notice must be given by ‘lettre recommandée avec Accusé de Réception’ in order to terminate the contract – this would be listed somewhere under ‘résiliation de contrat’.
How to send a lettre recommandée in France
You can either go into your local branch of La Poste or use their online service to send a lettre recommandée (click here). Using their online service, you can write a letter using their guides (they have over 200 examples of model letters to help you with drafting official documentation, which you can find here) and save an online draft. It is possible to pre-programme the sending of such a letter up to 90 days in advance.
Prices can range from approximately €4 for a very small letter being sent elsewhere in France to €30 or more for a large international delivery.
If you prefer to send your letter in person at the post office, ask La Poste for:
Je voudrais envoyer une lettre recommande, s’il vous plait.
You will then be given a triplicate slip to complete. You need to complete your details (expideteur) of your name and address and the details of the recipient and their address. The post office official will then weigh the letter, print off the label and give you the top copy as proof of sending. You will then need to pay in cash or by card.
Once it has been delivered, you will receive a proof of reception in the post.
With many legal documents being required to be sent by post, a lettre recommandée gives you some peace of mind. Happy posting!
Local Life in France
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