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  #21  
Old 24.03.2020, 20:16
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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I'm sure it's the same firm who did same to me a couple of years ago..

All very friendly, helpful etc.. Told me first they had to get all my docs, then they'd start, it would take a few hours since I had a some years to do retrospectively.. But there's no hurry since it was retrospective, they would just email me asking for xyz docs etc..
The email exchanges went on for weeks, like the odd one or two per week.. "we need a bank statement from 2014" .. "We need a mortgage statement from 2015" .. I'd get what they asked, scan it and send it.

Eventually they had what they needed, and submitted it.. I got a 9k tax refund and a bill for 10k from the tax company ..

Sounds familiar ?

They had been adding on two / three hours for all these emails for "Sending, checking, filing, reading... etc"

YES! Before they sent me their "conclusions", they kept asking me for things that now seem irrelevant (insofar as their response does not take these elements into account at all), like the nature of my e-commerce activity, the reach of my marketing, a business plan, on what platform I plan on having the site running (Wordpress), etc. Every time they would write very long emails instead of just stating in 2 sentences what they needed.


So the experience does sound similar but the company's name doesn't start with R and doesn't sound like Granny. It starts by T and contains the sound "vice". Is it forbidden to warn people about them here? How could I expose them and warn other people?


To answer a question that was asked, I did receive an itemized bill. They are charging me for every email they wrote, every document they read, and every phone call they initiated (even internal phone calls and emails!), plus various vague things like "administrative tasks", "printing documents", etc.

Someone recommended I don't "shout scam" but frankly the more I read the more I am believing this is indeed dishonest/fraud. I am finding plenty of Swiss websites with my answer in plain text right there. I also found the company in question has a Google review with a complaint similar to mine.

In hindsight I feel even more stupid for falling for this. I should have suspected all these frivolous emails and requests would end-up being billed.

As far as the offer is concerned, I did sign a one-page document, but it was open-ended and did not mention their hourly rate.

Thank you all for your advice. I prefer not to inform my employer at this point, although I understand why one might do it to mitigate the impact of the blackmail. Mr Dog mentioned I should get competing offers, that seems like a good idea if I ever get a "day in court", although I hope to be able to avoid that.

Baying, apparently there is something called "Fédération romande des consommateurs" which have protections against this, but I would have had to subscribe before the event took place. I'm definitely going to subscribe however, if something similar ever happens again in the future. It would be good to have a platform (other than Google reviews) like scamwatch.org where people could tell their story, but something local to the region.

Everyone, thanks again all for a great advice. Could I still ask someone a bit more info on what "poursuites" would entail for me? I'm currently in a temporary lodging, and I'm going to have to look for an apartment, from my understanding by browsing a bit if I contest the "poursuites" then I am formally "under poursuites" and landlords would be able to see it and would typically reject my application. Is that correct?

Thank you again everyone. I will update this post when I have news, if anyone is interested. I'm meeting a lawyer tomorrow morning.
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  #22  
Old 24.03.2020, 20:38
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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Someone recommended I don't "shout scam" but frankly the more I read the more I am believing this is indeed dishonest/fraud.
That was me. If you allege criminal behaviour (scam/fraud) or even dishonest behaviour, then it could end badly for you. You need to behave beyond reproach, and be seen to have been reasonable in your dealings with them.
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  #23  
Old 24.03.2020, 20:51
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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I'm meeting a lawyer tomorrow morning.
When you do so, be sure to clarify the lawyer's fees, before he/she starts.

Here are tips to keep lawyer's fees lower:
https://www.englishforum.ch/2968341-post19.html

When seeing a lawyer, or any other advisor, consultant, mediator, etc., it helps to
  • have the full chronology of the relevant events written up, and
  • one's own documents in meticulous order before to get to them.
That saves the time they might charge you for collecting and sorting.
Although the following list is from a thread about a completely different situation to yours (there it was finances after a separation), the kind of structure applies by analogy.
https://www.englishforum.ch/2967584-post14.html

Good luck in getting this matter sorted out, and yes, please do let us know the progress.
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  #24  
Old 24.03.2020, 20:51
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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That was me. If you allege criminal behaviour (scam/fraud) or even dishonest behaviour, then it could end badly for you. You need to behave beyond reproach, and be seen to have been reasonable in your dealings with them.
Yes, this.
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  #25  
Old 24.03.2020, 21:17
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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That was me. If you allege criminal behaviour (scam/fraud) or even dishonest behaviour, then it could end badly for you. You need to behave beyond reproach, and be seen to have been reasonable in your dealings with them.

This, defamation laws are serious things in Switzerland. To begin with, don't post the name of the company in the forum.

Then careful with the words scam or fraud. You're already fighting for an invoice, don't add defamation to the list of problems. Perhaps we should write about disagreement over invoice amount in following replies

PS. don't make the same mistake with the lawyer (exploding working hours). Get in written form that you need to authorize them to continue to work after X budget.
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  #26  
Old 24.03.2020, 22:36
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

A local lawyer/solicitor is likely to be his friend, or at least part of the same Rotary Club, Ski Club or Masonic Lodge, etc- too- so be careful. The cost of a legal expert could be a lot more expensive than that of an accountant. So do make sure you know what you are letting yourself in for.
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Old 24.03.2020, 23:13
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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As far as the offer is concerned, I did sign a one-page document, but it was open-ended and did not mention their hourly rate.
So why in heavens name did you sign it? That is going to be a hard one to explain away....
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Old 25.03.2020, 13:01
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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So why in heavens name did you sign it? That is going to be a hard one to explain away....

Because I'm an idiot, and I was too trusting. I didn't think that meant I gave them carte blanche to bill me whatever absurd amount they'd like.


I had planned to go to the "permanence" to see a lawyer this morning but it turns out it's closed because of this whole corona situation. Still I was able to get a lawyer on the phone (free consultation).



He agreed their behavior is clearly unethical and borderline dishonest, that they're probably doing this because they suspect I'm in a relatively vulnerable position, and he advised me to contest the "poursuite", and then, if they choose to go further, to explain the situation to the judge (in which case I'd need a proper lawyer that could argue in French). The risk of course is loosing the case AND having to pay a lawyer.


He also told me another way to proceed is to move my residence to neighboring France so they wouldn't easily be able to put me in poursuites. But that carries other risks, like my car behind confiscated at the border (but that would be more complicated/costly for them to do than a simple poursuite). Of course that doesn't change anything regarding the threat of contacting my employer. All in all I don't think it's a good solution.



Most importantly he advised me to stop any and all contacts with the firm in question, which I will do as of today. I shall wait for the poursuite to arrive, I'll contest it ("objection totale"), and then I'll see what I'll do.



In any case I guess I'm staying in my temporary lodging longer than expected ...


I'm very depressed by this ordeal. The thing that got me worst is the accounting firm people telling me that "this isn't the third-world" when I objected to their preposterous bill. It is obvious I am not from around here, I'm not exactly white, and I think they took advantage of me. Their contempt towards me was obvious. I'm not one to gratuitously call for racism, but this might just well be one of those cases...
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  #29  
Old 25.03.2020, 13:44
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

OP hang in there. Stay sane and don't let this get you down.

Looks like a rip-off and a judge will be able to see that 10k to tell you that you do not need to register with MWst is excessive and abusive charging. I suspect the firm knows that as well and may back-off if it goes that route.
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Old 25.03.2020, 15:40
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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Because I'm an idiot, and I was too trusting. I didn't think that meant I gave them carte blanche to bill me whatever absurd amount they'd like.


I had planned to go to the "permanence" to see a lawyer this morning but it turns out it's closed because of this whole corona situation. Still I was able to get a lawyer on the phone (free consultation).



He agreed their behavior is clearly unethical and borderline dishonest, that they're probably doing this because they suspect I'm in a relatively vulnerable position, and he advised me to contest the "poursuite", and then, if they choose to go further, to explain the situation to the judge (in which case I'd need a proper lawyer that could argue in French). The risk of course is loosing the case AND having to pay a lawyer.


He also told me another way to proceed is to move my residence to neighboring France so they wouldn't easily be able to put me in poursuites. But that carries other risks, like my car behind confiscated at the border (but that would be more complicated/costly for them to do than a simple poursuite). Of course that doesn't change anything regarding the threat of contacting my employer. All in all I don't think it's a good solution.



Most importantly he advised me to stop any and all contacts with the firm in question, which I will do as of today. I shall wait for the poursuite to arrive, I'll contest it ("objection totale"), and then I'll see what I'll do.



In any case I guess I'm staying in my temporary lodging longer than expected ...


I'm very depressed by this ordeal. The thing that got me worst is the accounting firm people telling me that "this isn't the third-world" when I objected to their preposterous bill. It is obvious I am not from around here, I'm not exactly white, and I think they took advantage of me. Their contempt towards me was obvious. I'm not one to gratuitously call for racism, but this might just well be one of those cases...
Here is my advise. Be very calm. Be focused on the facts. Don't react to silly comments like third world. Get some independent, legal advise (in addition to some guidance which has already been shared in this thread) and prepare for the long haul.
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Old 25.03.2020, 21:16
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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...Of course that doesn't change anything regarding the threat of contacting my employer. ..
The advice given by others is that if you have proof of that threat, they're already heading for a world of trouble. If they follow it up, they'd be in even deeper.

The alleged debt has absolutely nothing to do with your employer. They might as well threaten to tell your dog's vet.
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  #32  
Old 26.03.2020, 10:31
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

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What has his employer got to do with this? Why would he need them to by 'sympathetic'?

It's just a threat from this ethically dubious tax company to get him to do what they want him to do. It's absolutely none of his employers business and there is absolutely no reason for him to tell them.
I was agreeing with you, there is no NEED to tell the employer! But, in the same way the OP is asking EF for advice, he can also ask his employer who may be able to help him further - perhaps more than we can. If someone ever threatened to blackmail me, the first thing I'd do is go to the person the blackmailers intend to divulge the information. This takes the sting completely out of their tail.

Further, in this case, it's not damaging to the employer, and if the tax firm did write to the employer he would then have the proof to make a criminal complaint.

As I said, he does not need to tell his employer, but if I were in his shoes, I certainly would.
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  #33  
Old 26.03.2020, 11:04
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Re: I got scammed by a tax/accounting firm in Nyon

Really feel for you, sounds like they've taken huge liberties.

I briefly worked in accountancy, speak fluent French and English and have a bit of time on my hand in these times so if you need any help translating stuff, just message me.
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