Switching to winter tyres in France

Last year, I bought a new car. It has big tyres, so I looked at the cost of snow tyres and thinner wheels online, hoping it would be cheaper than in La Clusaz or Annecy.

Undecided, I visited Norauto for advice. The guy was super helpful and provided three printed quotes. He offered a loyalty card with 15% off any purchase, bringing the total price down out to around the same as the online prices. “Just call the number on the paper if you want to book your car in,” he said. Too easy!

It really was too easy to be true. It seems that my first Norauto experience was in some parallel world with customer care. Why? Because I called that number almost hourly for four days and only once did someone pick up. Apparently put off by my accent, she hung up within 20 seconds of me speaking.

Undeterred, I drove to Norauto. There was a queue, yet staff wandered past doing more important things than serving customers. After 30 minutes, it took a further 30 minutes to make the appointment for 10 days’ time (it would take that long for my new winter tyres to be mounted on my new winter wheels).

Buying winter tyres in FranceI arrived early for my appointment and queued for another half an hour just to hand over the keys! No, you can’t pay by cheque, and of course my French bank card has a counter transaction limit. One trip to the bank later (work wouldn’t start until I’d handed over ALL the cash), the mechanics did the job in a mere 25 minutes. On top of that, they were helpful. After the soul-destroying queueing, this was a lovely surprise, and I’m happy with their work. Still, a 25-minute job took up an hour and a half of arrange.

The picture shown arrived in my inbox and says “Did you know that your card gives you access to a range of advantages?” Can it give me back my hour and a half? Norauto, I think I’ll be going elsewhere next time. No advantage is worth the length of time wasted waiting in your shop!

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About

I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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