We really did think we had cracked this whole vehicle import thing. We had sorted the insurance, passed the controle technique, obtained the quitus fiscale and submitted all the necessary paperwork via the ANTS website. We were feeling very positive as the carte grise, registration document, for the Audi had arrived in a couple of weeks, meaning the car was legally imported and reregistered in France. All we had to do was wait for the van’s carte grise to arrive. We waited…and waited. We went back to the Renault garage who were dealing with the application several times to see if they could give us any news. I already knew that once submitted, even a garage couldn’t see what progress was being made or even contact ANTS to find out what the problem was, but maybe they had just missed the email?
This had now been going on for 10 months. We received the renewal quote for the car and van insurance. I thought it might have gone down a bit with the extra year’s no-claims bonus but instead it had been hiked by quite a bit, apparently because we had been underquoted the previous year! It would appear that our local agent had not allowed for the ‘no-claims’ discount being calculated differently in France and had accepted the number of years on a renewal quote from our UK insurance on face value, without carrying out the required algebraic calculation to convert it into the much lower French entitlement. Grrr! I could have gone elsewhere but quite honestly, we didn’t want to rock any boats, what with the problem we were still having with the van registration.
By this time we had given up with using the Renault dealer as an intermediary and asked them to cancel the application. (The only way that anyone else could deal with it on the ANTS site.) We thanked the lady for her help and took her some flowers and she was very apologetic that she hadn’t been able to sort the van as well. It wasn’t her fault – she was as trapped by the system as we were.
I had joined the excellent Facebook group, ‘Registering vehicles in France’, and through them found a garage owner who would resubmit for us as our proxy.
Great. Progress. Except…
The insurance agency called to say that our renewal had been declined by their head office, as part of our contract with them was that our vehicles would be re-registered in France and that hadn’t happened. They would not be renewing the contract when it expired and regretfully, we would be given a big black mark on the national database.
The van being a lady of a certain age, when EU certificates of conformity were not issued as standard, we had obtained an official statement from Renault UK attesting to the fact that there was nothing about this vehicle that would not meet EU standards. With his experience in the hiccups that foreign imports can cause in the system our new proxy suggested that it might be a good idea to get this from Renault France, as this might have been causing the hold-up with ANTS. More waiting and expense.
In order to start a new application on the ANTS site we needed to submit a controle technique certificate that had been issued within the last 3 months. Even though a CT is valid for two years in France and ours still had over year to run, we had to quickly book the van in for another test. The guy at the CT centre tried to tell us that ours hadn’t expired yet but when I explained the reason for getting it redone, he just shrugged and nodded. Yes, that was the rule and you couldn’t get round rules.
Our updated documentation and application were submitted and, miracle of miracles, our proxy rang a few days later to say the application had been approved and we could download the certificate we would need to get the new number plates made.
We shot into town, had the plates made and fitted and then hurried round to the insurance office to prove that the van now had French registration and with the help of our lovely account manager, arranged for the insurance contract to be renewed, with a guarantee that we would not now be blacklisted on the national insurance database.
Relieved does not describe it. Finally, the vehicles were both legal. If only we could say the same for our driver’s licences…