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Help! A French Automobile Rental Company Charged Me Fees for Speeding Tickets I Never Received!


The French Interior Ministry told me that fines should be issued inside a 12 months of the infraction, so that you’re almost off the hook. In the event that they were mailed by Sept. 15 and eventually find their strategy to you, though, you’ll have to make your mind up whether to pay or contest them. I should note that a variety of people ignore fines they get on vacation, but I cannot recommend you’re taking that route (though I admit I did scan the 1996 extradition treaty between america and France and unearthed no references to speeding violations).

That explains what was presupposed to occur, but as your exchanges with Europcar show, and the official at Europcar admitted, things got very confusing. The entire process got off to a nasty start last October when Europcar notified you in French in regards to the fees. That’s their right as a French company, but Europcar told me its policy is to speak in English with English speakers. After you bought your bank card to reverse those charges, the corporate wrote to you in December to hunt payment (again in French), though, for some confusing reason, they asked for just 45 euros, not the whole 90 euros you had originally been charged. In January, they began responding to your protests in English, but things soon got weirder.

On Jan. 7, they sent you a confusing “invoice” for “-45 euros,” which seems to have been a credit to your account, on top of the cash you had already been refunded by your bank card. 4 days later got here a very confusing exchange of messages, including one implying you owed them 45 euros from before and one other in muddled English that read: “Regarding the invoice 100229951324, the shopper service canceled, but after your rejection you were refunded an amount that you just didn’t pay.”

Is there anything Americans can do to avoid troubles with international rentals? Normally, I like to recommend favoring corporations based in america, since it is simpler to take care of customer support if something goes fallacious after you’re back home. Jonathan Weinberg, the founder and chief executive of AutoSlash, a reduction automotive rental site, agrees with my tactics but for a distinct reason. “The main rental corporations are likely to behave in a more customer-friendly way,” he said, referring to the familiar brands owned by umbrella corporations Enterprise, Avis and Hertz. “They’re more permissive about small dents and dings.”

Neil Abrams, a longtime consultant to the rental automotive industry, had one other sensible tip, though it wouldn’t help with traffic violations: Even when you are skeptical of insurance add-ons on domestic automotive rentals (perhaps because your bank card or own automotive insurance policy offers some coverage) be less stingy abroad, so that you don’t must spend months looking for documentation to be reimbursed. “You don’t need to take care of these international government agencies and police,” he said. “It’s just an excessive amount of of a pain.”

Also, be sure you read up on local regulations before you travel (starting on this State Department page) and when you arrive, ask locals about speed cameras — even in america and even places you’ve been before. For instance, in August, Recent York City began operating 750 school zone speed cameras 24 hours a day. And the N.Y.P.D. will almost actually find you much faster than the French.

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