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Caution - Budget Geneva (Swiss) Snow Chain Policy

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just off the phone with the Budget rental desk at Geneva Airport who informed me that Snow Chains are no longer included as standard in their Winterisation Fee but only available as an option payable at the desk for EUR25.00 per rental. Winter tyres are included. I assumed Winterisation also included chains and discovered their T&C's do not spell out snow chains as part of this 'winterisation fee'. I immediately called booking agent carrentals.com for clarification who have agreed by email to refund the amount if I decide to pay for the chains.

In contrast I also called Dollar Car Rental about another future booking from GVA and they confirmed chains are included as standard in all 2WD cars but not 4x4.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Ozboy, very cheeky! Surely something called "winterisation fee" should include snow chains! rolling eyes
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
If you are booking at the Swiss side then winter tyres are compulsory and there is no need to pay a “winterisation” fee.

I remember approaching the car hire desk to be told something like “Winter tyres are included in the fee. Would you like to pay for optional winterisation?”
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@altis, With Budget Winterisation is included as you say and listed as an item in their inclusions but excludes chains.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Could be worse....we picked up a car at Innsbruck last Sunday (for a week) in heavy rain, with a blizzard raging at about 800m - ie the height we were driving up to (Niederau)....

I was quoted €20 a day for chains - with even the man on the hire desk at Megadrive telling me to it was too expensive and to buy them at motorway services instead...

I managed just fine on the snow tyres, albeit with a fair cover of snow on the road for the last four or five miles.
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I noticed last season that none of the Geneva rental companies I used included snowchains in their rental fee.

One (I can't remember who, unfortunately) asked if I wanted to pay for chains and I said no thanks. Then when I picked the car up it had rental chains in the boot anyway - but they were cable tied!

Presumably they would have charged me if I broke the cable tie and used the chains...

Yet another money making venture from the rental companies rolling eyes
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
i think I'd expect winter tyres but not chains
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I hire with Hertz, as recently as December 2018, and they said they included chains with all 2WD car but not AWD/4x4. But it could easily have changed. Or perhaps it's just a random 'if we have some, we'll throw them in the boot, but if not, we won't' approach.

It seems that every so often, some executive Bright Spark at one of the rental companies has the stupendous (to them) idea of saving costs by not including chains. And eventually they realise that in the long run, they lose more than they gain as it dawns on them people are hiring from competitors who supply them. By which time said exec has usually moved on.

The thing is to just check every time you hire. Tedious as it is, and tending to produce a "Of course, yes." when you enquire, you'll find that every so often it pays off.
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@LaForet, Dollar who are part of Hertz group confirmed the policy you stated for my upcoming rental on 1 Feb.

Bugdet are part of Avis group and It would not surprise me that the ‘chains are chargeable option’ applies to the whole group as afterall they are using the same desks, systems and people.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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Most rental firms worldwide charge extra for chains.

Always say no.

Winter tires cover ~95% of situations.

If it snows bad, stop at a grocery store in the valley and buy some cheap chains.
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Most rental companies in the USA specifically forbid the use of chains.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I've never had chains included in the rental cost, no matter what company I'm renting from.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
We usually use Enterprise on the Swiss side. It's generally 50/50 as to whether there are chains in the car, so if there aren't we just stop at the supermarket and buy some. If there are, great!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quick question though, are Swiss side winter tyres ok for roads with the B26 Pneus Neige Admis signs?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Always had to pay at Geneva if I wanted chains. Never thought they were included.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@plasmastorm yes the Swiss side winter tyres are good for these roads. As @whitegold said you will be fine with winter tyres in pretty much most conditions. I've never needed to put the chains on in the last 15 years and that includes driving up to Meribel in mid December late at night on snow covered roads all the way from Geneva airport.
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It's not whether I'll have to use them but whether I'm obliged to have them in the car if stopped by the Gendarmes. I've never had to use them either but it's possible to get to several resorts on the French side of the PDS on Pneus Neige Admis regulations if you go via Thonon and don't go over any Cols. I wasn't sure whether it was all winter tyres or a specific type of snow tyre (spiked maybe?).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Most modern snow tyres do not have studs anymore (instead they rely on friction.) Nevertheless Gendarmes should let you through with Swiss winter tyres. Also, I rent mostly with Avis from the Swiss side and more often that not the car had chains in the boot. I'd say don't bother with paying extra for chains and use the money you save for more cheese (or beer or both)
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I was told last year by the car hire firm (can't remember which one, but swiss side of Geneva) that it was illegal to fit chains to a 4WD in Switzerland. Cue big argument (cos that's clearly dangly bits, and I'd booked a 4WD with chains included) only ended by me taking a 2WD car with chains instead. I don't think they had chains to fit the car I'd booked. I wasn't happy without chains in case we were stopped by the gendarmes. They still insisted that I would have to pay for them if i used them (cable tied shut) despite having the booking confirmation showing chains were included.
Moral of the story: chains are a pain in hire cars, so expect the unexpected and be prepared to deal with it.
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Er ... illegal to have chains on 4wd in Ch? Don’t think this is right. Very odd, think the guy was wrong - you need chains on 4wd downhill when the blue signs say so, but not uphill. Law says chains are only to be used in full snow cover on the ground, maybe that’s what he meant.
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Budget Geneva last week asked whether I wanted chains on an Astra 2wd, I said no, and there were some in the boot when we picked the car up. We Almost needed them in one situation in the 80cms dump at the weekend, but care meantvwe were fine just on winters. Had carefully to clear the way into the garage though since it’s up a slope.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

Moral of the story: chains are a pain in hire cars, so expect the unexpected and be prepared to deal with it

This. We met some Snowheads who were visiting Les Saisies - two families in two Swiss GVA hired cars. At the end of their week BIG snow was forecast overnight before their early departure back to Geneva and they asked us to do a quick demo on how to fit chains. We then discovered that only one of their cars (from the same firm) had chains. We showed them how they worked - and left them on to make life earlier the following morning. They bought chains for the other car and successfully claimed back the cost from the car hire firm in Gva (can't remember which one - it was years ago). We had a message of thanks after they reached the airport, driving out through masses of snow and past lots of folk who'd not made it.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
valais2 wrote:
Er ... illegal to have chains on 4wd in Ch? Don’t think this is right.


Definitely not right, but he wasn't budging. In reality I think they didn't have chains to fit but didn't want to admit it as they would then have had to upgrade us. Instead we got a slight downgrade but with chains.
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Rented at Geneva many times - through a broker (e.g. Holiday Autos, Auto Europe etc). Each time "winterisation" was included in the price and there was a set of chains in the back. Never had to pay an additional fee at the desk.

However, I think all of these rentals were with the Hertz group (Hertz/Thrifty/Dollar/Advantage). So perhaps the Avis/Budget group are doing things differently.

But my general advice is book through a broker - not direct with the rental company.
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TQA wrote:
Most rental companies in the USA specifically forbid the use of chains.


They do indeed - but the law in Colorado requires chains at certain times.

If faced with that situation I would buy chains and fit them, regardless.

The whole thing seems a nonsense. Confused
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does the law require you to have them in the car in France? I'm hiring (also from budget in Geneva) and had assumed my 'winterization' fee would include all legal requirements. driving to morillon - am I likely to need them? (not that I'd have a clue what to do with them!).
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thought it was the blue circular sign displaying a chained tire in France that denotes you have to be equipped if you pass that point in the road.

Morillon village base is not included in that, but as you leave to climb up to Morillon 1100 Les Esserts, the sign is about 100 mtrs after leaving. It's also steep enough that you'd most likely be in trouble with snow laying on the road, hence to sign placement.

That road, along with some of the 1100 ski station has significant gradient that will need chains even to get down in some conditions. It's regularly ploughed as a bus route so generally kept clear.

To add a contingency if that's helpful, you can buy chains in the supermarket between Morillon and Samöens as they normally have quite a size range there. It's generally well stocked to serve that valley without people having to get off down toward Cluse to get supplies. So reasonable confidence in it, think it's Champion named now.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Quote:

am I likely to need them? (not that I'd have a clue what to do with them!).

You could do, if it's snowy - and sometimes the police will stop any cars without chains on the roads into resorts. That's particularly likely on busy transfer days as a couple of cars stuck in the road can - and often do - cause chaos. If it looks likely to be snowy when you arrive (and of course you do want fresh snow, don't you?) look at some videos and get a fair idea how to use chains. It's not rocket science. If it looks VERY snowy, practice in the shelter of the car park. Don't be the wally who gets cursed by everyone else. wink
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@lcd80, I am the OP and just finished my weekend hire with Budget where I paid CHF34 for the pleasure of having chains as our place is up a steep back road.

It’s a scam as the car I was allocated already included a zip tied chain box in boot, and the budget attendant in the carpark told me the cars already carried them by default. Don’t bother paying upfront and break the ziptie in the unlikely event you are stuck. (Assuming you are carrying to cut them with!). Luckily for me Rentalcars.com have agreed to refund me the fee.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
thanks Ozboy, I also booked with rentalcars.com. good advice, I'll pack some scissors! and watch a video on how to use snow chains. sounds like the only really likely place I might need them is the road up to 1100 (we're staying there).
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
also, that was 35CHF total, yes? not per day? at least that's not too drastic.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Watch out if you are hiring from the French sector of Geneva Airport as they don't include any winter kit, in my experience. The hire is significantly cheaper though and I took a pair of snow socks in my hand luggage last time I went and fitted them when required. This was the week before Christmas 2017 when around a metre came down over the long weekend we were in Avoriaz. We had parked in the car park at the bottom of the Prodains lift (which is around Morzine height) and even though the roads were covered in snow half way down to Lake Geneva, there was no requirement for chains and the socks worked really well. I would probably have come unstuck if I had driven to Avoriaz Station though but I checked the weather before and decided against that.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
They are very efficient at clearing the road up to 1100 and there's normally a dedicated big earth moving type shovel that keeps the village clear at the top too, so no problem in general.

But if it's snowing heavily while you're driving it, then there's a limit to how quickly they'll cope. Be prepared if you meet those conditions when travelling it.

IF you encounter those conditions it's likely that anyone getting stuck near the top will have to put chains on in situ, there being nowhere to move off the carriage way for a fair bit of it.

I don't wish to add drama to it as it's highly likely to be ok but hopefully give you more of a picture to help you decide.

Which accommodation are you staying in lcd?

We think its a really good place to stay 1100, with children's formative years skiing there. Many happy memories for us. Very Happy
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@lcd80, CHF35 for the duration. Call rentalcars.com and explain that you called the budget rental desk and they are insisting on charging for chains but their T&C’s are not explicit that snow chains are excluded winterisation. They will offer to refund post rental if you have the receipt. But seriously would not worry as you will have winter tyres and sealed box of chains in the boot if required. (1st world problem, especially if you get powder!)
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
thanks everyone. I think if the snow is really heavy I would wait down in the village until it was clear to go up! we're staying in an apartment just to the right of the gondola arrival point, looks ideal location wise. been once, husband twice (left me at home pregnant
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thanks everyone. I think if the snow is really heavy I would wait down in the village until it was clear to go up! we're staying in an apartment just to the right of the gondola arrival point, looks ideal location wise. been once, husband twice (left me at home pregnant) - hope it's as good as I remember!
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