How is it - to learn to drive in France? Part #2

Article published on July 30, 2014
Article published on July 30, 2014

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

My experience of learning to drive in France feels like if I was raped and now I have to point on the rapist, describing  the details of how it all happened in the attempt to find the Justice. But is there any Justice?

Justice or No Justice

I spoke to him on the issue of his non-arrival to the class 3 times, after 3 continuous failures and his constant reluctance concerning my case, I went to Antenne de Justice to solve the problem with the help of external juridical force.    

I spoke to a woman (Conceilleur de Justice) who also appeared to be his neighbor (Ough!). And this didn’t work either! I am not privy to the details of their conversation, but from what I heard post-factum from the instructor, it was more or less like this “Do you agree that you have this problem with the student?”, “No”, - he answered, and she said, “Well, I can’t do anything about it, here my credentials end”. Super!

While this affair with instructor’s non-appearance to the class was on fire, I continued to go with my schedule, because if you do not cancel your class 48h before, you lose it.

Apparently, there are 3 rules:

  • You pay.
  • If you don’t come to the class see rule #1
  • If your instructor doesn’t come to the class see rule #1
  • Whatever happens – YOU PAY.

    I wish I could change the instructor, but there was only one, who at the same time was the owner of the school. It means no exit if you are trapped.

    I took 10 hours in total. During these classes I’ve heard various forms of humiliations and assaults from him. From previously mentioned “Are you drunk?” to “Creepy student, luckily all my students are not like you” and “You don’t do any sport, I can see it, that’s why you can’t master the pedals adequately” during the first time he ever explained pedals to me.

    The last drop was during my very last lesson, when his explanation of pedal functions was reduced to sudden pull of hand-break, that almost caused me to puke on the dashboard, followed by his words something like “Do you like to drive like this?..”.

    To save my mental health and to have some hope for getting good quality education I decided to break the contract with the school. The impossibility to trust previously agreed studying plan, constant late arrivals of the instructor, stressful environment during the driving lesson, inadequacy of speech and behavior and disrespectful remarks of the instructor lead me to the decision of stopping the contract and taking my documents from the school.

    Before doing so, I consulted with another school on which documents does he have to return me, how to apply to a different school, etc, etc. The secretary asked me from which school I want to leave, after I named the school, she shrugged and exhaled “You are not the only one, there are a lot of you changing that school for a different place”. I understood her and took firm decision to take my documents from the school as soon as possible.

    In the evening of the same day I came to the school and asked for the termination of the contract and reimbursement of the classes I didn’t have. My request was met with surprise and ultimatum “Either you stay until pre-paid 20 driving hours run out, or you leave now without any compensation for the classes you didn’t have”. The reasons presented above were claimed to be “illegitimate” by the school to break the contract and be reimbursed for non-delivered service.

    After all, I didn’t receive any compensation for the remaining 10 driving hours and an access to the practical exam.

    Soon after I prepared a letter of complaint and sent it to 13 institutions, namely to:

  • Procureur de la Republique (2 different addresses)
  • Prefecture
  • Antenne de Justice
  • Comissariat de Police
  • Gendarmerie
  • Le Defenseur des Droits
  • Maison de Justice et du Droit
  • ENPC
  • Chargee de mission aux droits des femmes et a l’egalite
  • Centre d’information sure les droits des femmes et des familles (2 addresses)
  • Association de Mediation et d’Aide aux Victimes
  • The last 3 letters didn’t reach its addressees, Responsible for mission for women and equality replied her department has nothing to do with this stuff, but she regrets I had this awful experience. Where is your glorified Egalité?

    The rest of the addressees have received my letters, but I have received just one reply for far. In this letter they suggest me to call for civil lawyer, whose services are free of charge, who could help me to calculate the damage and complete my dossier, so that I can send it to the Court.

    Guess what happens next! Civil lawyers are on strike until September! I am left alone with my problem, French laws and bureaucracy. Haven’t you seen Fratenité, by any chance?

    Thus, I have 2 options: I either do everything myself or I hire a private lawyer. These costs for private lawyer will not be reimbursed, of course.


    Where is love?

    What should I do?

    What about Liberté?