Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Rip Off France

Ripped Off AGAIN
Okay, I have been away longer than I thought. See I had an accident a while back. My scooter was written off. It's only a 50cc and I was only doing 15km an hour but I still managed to hit the guy who pulled out in front of me.
Now I could have been killed. I could have been crippled, incapacitated, truly fucked up and unable to work but I was lucky. I was in shock for a weekend. The front wheel was slightly bent and the forks unaligned. It was enough. No more independence. No more getting to the beach easily. Still have the insurance to pay even though I know the bike is useless.
Finally things get sorted out and I am told by my insurance guy to bring the scooter to the workshop. He will go down and assess with their experts.
I ring a tow truck company, they want 120 euros to call to my house, put the bike on a trailer and bring it a mile down the road. HOLY F@*K.
A friend offers to drive 20 miles/30km with a trailer attached to a small car, wait for the day, drive me home, pick up the bike and bring it to the workshop. It is done. The scooter is deposited outside, and the next morning I have to hurry down to ensure it is okay, drop off the keys and now it will be taken care of, right? WRONG.
I get a call two days later telling me it won't be repaired. The assurance company will buy it off me the workshop tell me. They order me to come and get it. Two days later they ring me again. They ask me when I am coming to get it. I have organised my friend again to make his 60km round trip to help me. We go to pick up the scooter and the main headlight is conspicuously absent. .... I ask the lady behind the counter, and she goes to look for it. She comes back telling me she can't find it. She will ring me when it is found. I know this sounds ridiculous but it's what happened. Remember the conversation is happening in French. Remember I am not too confident in French. Remember the guy with me is 6ft 6 inches tall, or nearly 2 meters, oh and is French. :-).
We load the bike and he is willing to drive off. I am perturbed. I go back into the shop and ask how it is possible to loose a headlight (which is set into plastic about 3ft, 1 meter wide and about 1.5 ft, or half a meter high) which was attached. She walks off and comes back with an explanation that the mechanic took it off and now he is not here. I go outside and explain to my friend. He comes in looks disdainfully at the girl. He questions her about what is going on. She explains the assurance company will buy the scooter off me for a sum of money, he explains it should therefore be in one piece non? She agrees and disappears again. A young man in his twenties comes out and immediately I know I am being ripped off. He refuses to look me in the eye. I flounder for the words that would come so readily back home. I am drowning as I am being violated barefaced and dishonestly. I can see it happening. They are stealing from me and they don't care.
He agrees to deliver the piece when it is found. He takes my number on a scrap of paper. I am getting more and more angry. I leave knowing there is nothing I can do at that point in time. I ring the next day I can't get through. I spend the weekend making myself ill at the thought of how I can burn the place down, break all the scooters parked outside, injure lightly the people working there, get the place closed down, force them to pay me for the piece........... I don't like being abused, I spent my life living in a country abused by it's neighbour, since I have been in France people have taken advantage of my inability to communicate and ripped me off and now well, to quote the newsman in the movie, I am mad as hell I won't take it anymore.
I rang 4 times yesterday no answer. Finally today I get through. I am in luck. The guy who answers the phone is the one who took my number, he tells me the mechanic has not come back yet. I tell him in French it's nearly a week what's the story? He says it's not a week it was last Thursday, today is Tuesday. Yes I tell him, NEARLY/ PRESQUE une semaine.... I inform him if the piece is not found I will have to begin a procedure of justice to get it back. He agrees. I will let you know what happens, but I have a question. If anyone reads this here is the question, Do I let it go, Do I get the piece back or thirdly do I wait till the assurance buy the scooter back and then let them deal with it. What would you do ?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What are the latest news about this? I think you should forget about sueing them, it would cost a bomb for nothing. I'd forget about the headlight and leave it like that for the insurance company. They won't refuse to pay for it even if the headlight is missing. If I were you I'd kind of threaten the guys and ask for "un règlement à l'amiable". (money from hand to hand for instance) - Arnaud

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