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We are being taken for a ride......


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To continue the Range Rover story, we went to Land Rover Perpignan yesterday. They stamped the chassis number on for us but did not understand any of the other changes the DRIRE want made.

LR let us look in several cars on their forecourt and pointed out that they all have the same reflectors as ours, and the middle seat belt is identical with no letter 'B' on the label.  So what is going on????? Why can LR sell cars like this and we have to make all the changes?  LR also gave me the name of a top man at LR Paris who said he could 'homologate' our car for us an bypass DRIRE????  Has anyone heard of this method please?

We were also told by a local garage to sell our RR to LR Perpignan as they would be able to get the numerplates changed, as it is easier in the 'trade', and we should buy something else.

Now I do not know who to believe......

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I'll tell you what I would do.

Firstly, I would get an attestation from Rover stating that the work they have done conforms.

Then I would get in touch with the DGCCRF, which is the dept who deal with fraud. If they cannot do anything, then I would go to the Prefecture or the gendarmerie. Contact the papers even.

And IF I was feeling humane, I might call into see this bloke and tell him exactly what I was going to do as it would seem that he was being discriminatory and obstructive.

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This is French officialdom at its best (or worst). It used to be true in most countries, Britain included, that the civil service offered a job for life, in which you rose to the level at which you proved to be sufficiently incompetent to rise no further. Charters, performance targets etc have made the British civil service more accountable, but such things have not reached France. Even in the real world it's difficult to get rid of employees, with fonctionnaires it's well-near impossible. All that can be done for those unable to cope with their simple tasks is to offer 'retraining' (a misnomer as you don't change jobs in France) and a transfer to a different department.

Unfortunately DRIRE seems to be where the buck stops, as it is one of those departments that provides an eventual home for the awkward, incompetent and over-officious. Some DRIREs are fine, but several are well-known for housing awkward staff - the most notorious being that in my own départmément, at Villedieu-les-Poeles. Such people will go to amazing lengths to acoid actually doing anything, making up their own ruiles and requirements being just one of those. As they think they are dealing with foreigners they feel at an advantage and able to get away with it (which of course they are).

Sorry, this does little or nothing to help with the problem in hand. I don't know if complaining will get you anywhere, as you will just be dealing with other officials who want to protect their own kind. Maybe best to cut your losses so far and start again down the route of either a European Certificate of Conformity or another, less obstructive, office of DRIRE. Albi's idea of playing them at their own game, by demanding everything in writing and asking them to meet certain obligations, seems to have a lot to commend it.

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Washy, I was sure I had seen somewhere that any vehicle which had received full type approval in one EU country could not be refused approval in another member state unless it could be proved that to allow it to be used would constitute a serious hazard.

A quick search failed to come up with any official EU confirmation, but I did find this page, http://normandy.angloinfo.com/countries/france/eudriving3.asp which purports to quote from an EU fact sheet.

The relevant paragraphs read as follows:

"You can find out whether your vehicle has undergone EC or national type-approval from the car documents or from the manufacturer. 

If your vehicle is a model which has obtained EC type-approval, the Certificate of Conformity issued by the Manufacturer is valid in all Member States of the European Community, and the national authorities must accept it.

If your vehicle has obtained national type-approval, the authorities in the country in which you are applying for registration may refuse to accept the national Certificate of Conformity only (a) if it can be shown that the vehicle represents a serious hazard to road safety or the environment, and (b) the decision is properly justified. 

The fact that your vehicle may have technical characteristics which differ from those prescribed by the national rules in the country in which you wish to register it does not, in itself, constitute a sufficient reason for refusing type-approval and registration."

I hope that helps - if it is an offical EU publication it should be possible to find it if you are prepared to spend a bit more time on it than I can, and, moreover, you should be able to find it in French too.

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Funnily enough I do totally agree with you TU. You and I have probably each discovered that quoting EU directives, or, worse still US or UK consumer protection law, to a Frenchman is a sure way to turn off any Gallic brain activity whatsoever, apart from the reflex action of the shrug
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