Of doctors, fees and delivery dates

This column is always happy to alert readers to their rights. The right, for example, not to get a nasty surprise when the guy in a white coat – doctor or dentist – tells you how much you must pay. Since the end of last year it’s been obligatory for both of these professions to give patients a written estimate of the cost of treatment and they must display their charges in their waiting rooms or offices.

And more on doctors. For some time now it’s been asked of those insured under the Sécu to choose a médecin traitant whom they have to see before going to a specialist. If they don’t do this they get a reduced reimbursement. This has now been cut even further – from 50% to 30% of the specialist’s charge. This shortfall is not made up by mutuelles. Currently, around one assuré in eight has failed to register with a médecin traitant (it’s usually a GP); it can be a costly omission.

Oivind, one of our rare Norwegian readers, tells a story of being let down by a furniture store who failed to deliver a new table and chairs until twelve days after the date promised. Their attitude, he says, was very much on the lines of “stuff happens”. What are a customer’s rights in such a case? Once again there’s a new law (who says Sarko hasn’t really done anything for us?) that requires a trader to state clearly when a purchased good or service will be delivered. If this date is not kept the consumer has the right to cancel the purchase without penalty.

From Riviera Reporter Issue 132: April/May 2009