It’s August and France is on holiday. We have been warned not to travel on major roads this weekend as the big exodus out of the cities takes place and shops, businesses, even restaurants are closed for their ‘congés annuels’. We all know anything official takes forever and in August nothing happens at all, but read on….
Three days ago, on the internet we saw a second hand car being sold by a family garage. It seemed to be exactly what Ade was looking for, although what he wanted seemed to change with every car he found!
Two days ago, at the end of the afternoon we popped into the garage (about an hours drive from us) to have a look. The car looked good, the price was good and without asking for any proof of ID the keys were handed over and we took it for a test-drive alone. Decision making isn’t one of my strong points and neither is spending money, so we thanked them for their time and said we’d think about it and get an insurance quote. No problem they said, but we close for our annual leave in two days. If you say yes, we’ll sort out everything for delivery and even pay the re-registering fee (260€) before we close.
One day ago, we visited our insurance agent to get the quote, we returned home for a coffee and then at 11.00am we called the garage to say yes, and what happens now! They were delighted. They emailed their bank details and we scanned and emailed Ade’s driving licence, passport and a recent electricity bill. Once the lunch hour(s) were over we headed back to get the insurance cover note, then to the bank to transfer the money and confuse the new girl by asking her to fax a proof of transfer to the garage. We then just had to wait nervously and hope, but the garage had a very busy afternoon. By the time we drove off their forecourt at 20.30 (half an hour after their official close time) the car had been to and passed it’s ‘control technique’, the prefecture had issued a provisional carte grise (registration documents), new number plates with the new registration number had been made and fitted, the car had received a full clean and valet and Monsieur had even managed to pick up a bouquet of flowers and a chilled bottle of rosé Champagne that he thoughtfully placed on the passenger seat.
Today we can’t really believe it all happened so quickly, in France and especially in August. In addition, because we have transferred the car insurance from the old car to the new one, but have yet to sell, our insurance company are giving us 2 months free cover for the old car (anyone want a C5?). That is customer service!