Now here is a story to warm the hearts and minds for the Anglo-Francais relations, you could argue that this was my own doing but I beg to differ….
Before departing in France I had a cursory glance at my front tyres to check the tread depth on them, and in my opinion they looked ok to me. Well by the time I had driven halfway across France to avoid paying tolls on the Autoroute, the situation was a different story!
So luckily I had brought my FJ phone with me and used www.saynoto0870.com to find a real number for the leasing company. On speaking to them it transpired that there was infact a Leaseplan throughout Europe and that getting the tyres should not be an issue. I was given the number for Leaseplan in France and told to give it to the person in Speedy Tyres (Kwik Fit).
So I rocked upto the tyre centre with the number and was met with instant hostility! The manager was being a prick to be honest, he refused to even look at the number I had let alone ring it, saying “Je mon fou” which means quite rudely I dont care.
Now it shouldn’t come as a shock that you need every frigging bit of paperwork for the car under the sun to change tyres in France, but it did! The prick was still going on about this Carte Gris, I kept saying it don’t bloody exist in England and you dont need any paperwork to change two bloody tyres!
This is when it descending into a lot of hand waving and head shaking from both of us! Then I remembered my Vehicle On Hire Certificate back in the flat, I returned to get it.
The man was over the moon at some form of paperwork being returned, almost dancing around in excitement! All this was short lived as he had already explained he didn’t know English at all, and guess what the form was in English.
So after several face saving taps on the keyboard trying random values off the form he telephoned Speedy HQ in Paris, not Leaseplan as he should have done. Speedy’s response was to order the tyres and charge me for them!
I explained that I would do nothing of the sort, and that I would return to get the tyres fitted without a single euro leaving my pocket!
The garage manager did not share my belief…. we shall see I thought! Anyway it was going to take two bloody days to get the tyres in the first place.
During those two days I made many calls back to the UK, and finally to Francois in Leaseplan France ‘(well Catherines Mum did!), and finally I returned to the garage to get two lovely Pirelli 235/40/R18 95Y tyres fitted @ 178 Euros a piece!
Matey in the garage was well and truly eating that dish best served cold, humble pie!
Big thanks to Emma Croft at Leaseplan for helping to sort this out.