How speaking French saved money at Avis

As usual for our trips to Nice, I hired a car along with the flights as it normally works out cheaper. This was the first time that we had been in the winter for skiing and therefore the first time that we needed to think about snow chains. It is a requirement in France that snow chains be carried in the car and used when directed. 

One of the benefits of booking the car with the flights through British Airways is the free additional driver and everything being included. Everything, I thought, including snowchains. I could have sworn that they were specifically mentioned as being included in the booking.

When we arrived, the lady tried to sell us every kind of additional insurance under the sun. We buy an annual policy from which means that we can confidently bat away any attempt to up sell. She also wanted to sell the fuel policy but seeing as you have to drive past a filling station to get to the car return, marked 6 in the diagram below, it seems a little silly.


When we asked about the snow chains, she looked a little confused and then said it would be €8 a day but that we should have ordered them in advance. Luckily she was able to get her colleague to find us some chains and after some discussion about whether or not they were obliged to provide them, with some fabulous argument from my wife in perfect French, the price mysteriously dropped from €56 to €18. 

I signed the paperwork and took the car, knowing that I would chase it up later. I need to find the original information to see what it said. Avis have been very good in the past at refunding any errors made, so if it turns out that it should have been included then I’m confident I’ll get it back.

It does show, however, that it is always good not just to accept what they say immediately and, if you can, to speak in the home language as it certainly helped in this occasion!

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