This was sent in anonymously by email:-

"I thoroughly agree with your correspondent who is sick of cowboys getting away with avoiding cotisations and red tape and I'm equally angry about the people who operate under UK registered businesses quite illegally. If these people bothered to learn enough French and make a proper effort, they'd know it was illegal. The arrogance of arriving in France and then thinking it's the same as UK is astonishing.

As regards the cowboys, there is a chap near us who has set himself up as a TV and satellite expert. He is not a registered business and has no intention of becoming one. He's getting incapacity benefit from the French and English authorities, collecting RMI from France, and working au noir!!!! AND he's totally incompetent!! He's had at least two elderly victims in our area who've paid him in cash about 3 times what a reliable French company would charge.

The problem with paying anyone in cash without a proper bill is that if you try to tell the authorities about it, you yourself risk being charged with employing someone au noir and the fines are enormous."