Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lots of "challenges" trying to arrange to get to France on the weekend

Over Christmas I decided that I really wanted to get over to our French House and see how Bob the Builder was getting on with our new bathroom, ceiling and rewiring (all I hasten to add in the second house that we don't rent out - the main building is still in pristine condition!)

Next weekend looked to be the only free weekend in January and it fitted in well with work as I've just finished one project and not yet started another.

Problem is that I've still got the hire car I was lent in December following my car being declared undrivable (after it was rear ended). Talking to the garage last week they were close to finishing it but were still waiting some parts, and to be honest I'd rather put the miles on a hire car than my own car, so I phoned the hire company on Saturday to find out what I needed to do to take it to France.

And therein started an epic challenge that took me most of Monday and a fair amount of Tuesday to resolve.

Just so you don't nod off in the middle, the precis is:
- Phoned car hire company who tell me to phone head office
- Phone car hire company head office, they promise to phone back, which they do, but they can't insure the car for France, I need the insurance company to cover it
- Phoned third party insurance company (who are paying for the hire car) for a cover note but they tell me to phone my own insurance company
- Phoned my own insurance company but they're not providing the hire car so can't cover it
- Phoned third party insurance company (again) who but they can't provide one as my policy is not with them
- Phoned my own insurance company (again) but no joy from them as they don't provide temporary insurance cover
- Phoned third party insurance company (again) and they promise to look into it and phone me back. They do. There is no solution to the problem with my current hire arrangement, but if I take out my own car hire from someone else then they're prepared to reimburse me as long as the daily rate is "reasonable"
- Mucho searching of the internet and find that Hertz will let me take a car out out of the UK for £50; supplement for 5 days. Quoted an online rate of £180. Try logging in with my "Hertz #1 Club Gold membership" number to see if I get a preferrential rate and am now quoted £550! Logout and try again as 'Jo Public', ordinary online rental quote is £180. Login again, my preferrential rate is still £550
- Phone Hertz as I think they're website's gone bonkers and am quoted a normal rental rate of £260 or preferrential rate of £200 with my Gold card
- Phone third party insurance company to get approval .... but they've all gone home!

Next day (today):
- Phone third party insurance and they say YES, the rate is OK!!!
- Check availability on SpeedFerries and the crossings I want are still available for £19 each way. Other crossings on the same day are £25. I pre-paid £24 for 10 SpeedFerry Dover/Boulogne crossings last year so if I could either use up two of these tickets or book new tickets for slightly less
- Check the Hertz website again and decide that Internet price of £180 is still the best so book the hire car at this price
- Phone Hertz pickup point to get the car registration number so I can book the ferry but they can't tell me as their fleet changes too quickly
- Go back to SpeedFerries to complete the booking but I've taken too long and the website's timed out- argh !
- Back on SpeedFerries and they're now quoting me £15 for all crossings this week and next so make my booking at this price

So in the end it's worked out great. The third party insurance company is paying for the Hertz car rental and I've got ferry tickets booked for just £30 return. With fuel and tolls each way it's still only going to cost about £120; for the round trip. It wasn't half an awful lot of hard work though and good job I wasn't all that busy with work!

All I need to do now is to return the original rental car, pickup the new one, pack and go !

I'm off Thursday evening and will be back on Monday evening. Will post some pics of the building work when I return.

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