An investigation by Money Mail shows that inadequate response times are forcing AA and RAC customers to hire independent recovery firms to come to their rescue instead.
Desperate motorists are abandoning their vehicles and calling on friends, family, or taxis to collect them while others are finding themselves stranded at the side of the road for up to 12 hours, as they wait for recovery.
The unsettling news comes after figures show complaints about breakdown companies doubled last year and look set to double again by the end of this financial year. So, just what is going so wrong with the nation’s two largest roadside assistance companies?
Stranded without food or water
The Daily Mail spoke to Martyn James, Head of Media and Marketing at Resolver, a free online service that helps consumers raise and resolve consumer issues. Mr James says breakdown companies aren‘t good enough and that an increasing number of people find that when something goes wrong with their vehicle; the wait is excessive.
Resolver dealt with only 360 complaints in 2016-17. This figure grew to 711 complaints the following year. By August of this year, they had already received 446 complaints and say they expect to receive around 1,000 by the end of the 2018 financial year.
The AA said the average time between when they receive a call and when they arrive at the breakdown is under 50 minutes while the RAC said it gives each member an individual expected time of arrival. Yet, what‘s shocking is that Resolver says they’ve heard of people left stranded overnight without food or water.
According to experts, a big part of the problem is the lack of competition within the roadside recovery industry. Between them, the AA and the RAC control around 70% of the market and, although they each use their own patrols, they also contract out jobs to local recovery firms. The AA said they contracted out less than 15% of its jobs last year but, as they attend up to 10,000 breakdowns a day, this equates to around 500,000 call-outs. The RAC report contracting out 10% of their 2.3million call-outs last year.
Blaming the weather
Stephen Smith, of the Association of Vehicle Recovery Operators (ARVO)—which represents local breakdown firms—says the demand on companies such as the AA and RAC to keep prices low for customers means the rates they pay to local breakdown services doesn‘t encourage them to take on jobs.
The AA and RAC responded to Money Mail’s investigation findings. Here’s what their spokespersons said:
From the AA: “A harsh winter, Britain’s appalling potholed roads and a long hot summer have put pressure on the UK’s breakdown services and garages, with the AA seeing a sharp increase in calls for roadside assistance. Sometimes this has meant it took longer to reach our members than we would wish. We know we can improve so are investing in more AA roadside and recovery patrols as well as front-line staff, including in our contact centres.”
The RAC’s response: “As a responsible business we take all complaints seriously and aim to resolve them as quickly as we can. Following the harsh winter weather and the hottest summer on record, we saw large increases in breakdown volumes which inevitably led to more complaints. We have taken steps to reduce long waits and are improving the way we communicate with members who need their vehicles recovered.”
With all this said, if you drive a car, breakdown cover is important. Even in the most reliable of vehicles, mechanical or electrical problems can still happen. If your car breaks down at the side of the road and you don’t have breakdown cover, it can be both stressful and expensive, not to mention put you at risk from other vehicles and crime—especially at night.
Yes, motoring costs a lot already, but you can find decent breakdown cover at a low cost. If you sign up for breakdown cover while stranded, known as ‘instant cover’, you’ll pay far more than if you‘d bought cover in advance.
Before you take out a policy, though, check if breakdown cover is part of another service you already have. For instance, your bank account may include this, your car manufacturer may cover you as part of the warranty, or it could be part of your existing car insurance. If not, adding breakdown cover to your insurance is often better value than taking out a separate breakdown cover policy.
It’s wise to keep a photocopy of your breakdown cover policy on you, in the event your vehicle breaks down. Most people now carry mobile phones but carry a charger that works in your car, too.
The average wait time for roadside recovery is 40-60 minutes and, because you might need to stand away from your vehicle until help arrives, keep a warm coat, a reflective, high-visibility vest, and a torch in the boot. We hope you’ll never have a use for them, but you’ll be glad of them should a breakdown ever occur.
Do you have breakdown cover? Have you waited an excessive time for roadside assistance? Or has your experience been positive? Tell us your opinion in the comments
had a very bad experience with the rac. wrote to them but they didn’t reply. COme renewal, I didn’t and resent the complaint. Ask for compensation but was told it was too long after the event. is there a way that I can take this further, is there any sort of trade body/regulator? I can post the email to them with all the details if anyone is intersted!!
had the same treatment myself,,,I was working abroad when my wife and her friend were stranded with a flat tyre,,,she phone the RAC but they didn’t recognize the membership as being renewed even though the money had been taken from my card by continuous authority ,,,fortunately her friend had personal AA membership and they did arrive and changed the wheel,,,I have subsequently written three times to complain but they just ignored me,,,I have since asked for a refund but guess what ? they just ignored me again,,clearly they have just got complacent with their big market share,,,time to change !
Use http://resolver.co.uk, it’s easy, highly recommended and free.
Will give it a go, tx! here is what happened to, cut and paste out of the letter to rac.at 11pm . . I had overheating issues, I called and agree to meet the patrol in warminster at a garage as was able to drive very short distances before it got hot again.
However they did not arrive at time given when I contacted again was told that they had thought I was in Bristol. when eventually they arrived a couple of hours late it was not a patrol just a 3rd party breakdown vehicle. THey were not authorized to look at the vehicle, rather I was told I would be taken to a mw services and then an rac vehicle would arrive to transport me the rest of the way to Wales.
We went to some services, but it was Chievely, Newbury, in the wrong direction, perhaps 30 miles further from my destination, Carmarthenshire.. As we were just pulling into the services I received a phone call (3.30?)to say that they were unable to take me any further and I would have to stay in a hotel, i was not told any more details, but that someone would contact me soon. I was left alone in the service awaiting a call. I assumed it would be the site hotel which I went to but seemed unstaffed. I called the number but was told that was full up and I had no reservation. I had to call the rac again they told me that I would be taken to somewhere 15 miles away and to await the taxi. I chased that as well and eventually one arrived, (about 1.5 hours wait in the services) so I got to bed not long before 6 am. I was told that someone would be with me to take me the rest of the way in the morning once the change of shift happened at 7ish. I stressed that I needed to get away as soon as poss as had urgent business in Wales in the morning.
Around 7.30 I heard nothing so had to call yet again, I was told (even though I made it clear the night before that I needed an early exit) that they thought I would need more sleep so hadn’t disturbed me! Eventually arrangements were made and I was transported to Wales by a very amiable and helpful RAC driver. I told him of all the problems I had had and he was very apologetic, I also told him about the overheating. He explained to me a bit about cooling systems and airlocks, which he thought was likely the problem, which was very interesting.
When we arrived he, within a minute or so, removed the airlock. This fixed the problem and I never had to get the car looked at by the garage!.
So really if the rac had been properly resourced and a normal patrol had been available I would have been fixed and on my way that evening and not missed the morning deadline!! Also it would have saved the rac a small fortune in costs. Of course that incident impacted my faith the organization hence telling you in my original letter that I didn’t want to renew. I had hoped that some sort of apology and compensation would be forth coming as it turned out to be very inconvenient and expensive to arrive there so late, perhaps you will be able to consider it at this late stage?
Post me the email please
As a retired patrol, I must point out that customers also need to help themselves by ensuring when breaking down obtain their correct location, have any security device keys with them and stay with the vehicle and not wander off so when the patrol arrives they can be found. It is easy to panic when breaking down, just think for a moment before calling the breakdown organisation. In 25 years of working for a breakdown company I am still amazed at the amount of silly breakdowns I attended. One needs to ensure the vehicle is of a roadworthy condition and is legally entitled to be on the road.
i have had the unfortunate problem of having to break down at least once with a car I have owned.. first time my alternator belt gave up on a busy single carriageway road, the car lost all power at the top of the hill so I pulled over into someone’s driveway that had a sliproad type of thing at the front.. knocked on the door and explained my car died.. they offered me a cup of tea whilst I wait for the recovery vehicle aha.
second time was in my Mini cooper S r53, head gasket and water pump failed. it was on a small village road just before the school drop off (the road is quite wide but I stopped before a set of single white lines.) didn’t stop people from swearing at me and saying why did I park there, after explaining that I had no control over the situation they did apologise but didn’t help me push my car further from the school (despite its location being legal and plenty of space for the huge recovery truck….)
my third time was with a Audi A3 1.9tdi, was driving along and heard a pop.. black smoke exploded out of the back. hazards on pulled over looked like the intercooler had fallen off! I limped it back (it just about idled with some persuasion) back to the office car park. got the recovery people out again and because it was at my work a large recovery truck wouldn’t get past the barriers. I did warn them and we limped the car out onto the road to be recovered.
all three times (over 4 years) the companies arrived within the 90 mins stated and I was called every 15 mins or so for any changes and to see if I’m ok. I do have to admit I really do like how my breakdown company operates!
My wife recently had a breakdown, she knew exactly where she was – the car park of Stoke Mandeville Hospital – anyone not heard of it? The RAC call handler was insisting on knowing the postcode of where she was, like she would know?
So plan ahead, and make sure you only break down in the nominated place!
That said, the patrol guy was great, he turned up quickly and even had a spare battery on the van – at a good price too.
When my battery died the patrol man offered me a new one, then realized he didn’t have one to suit. He gave me a jump-start, then followed me the 2 miles to my local motor-factor shop. I have no quibbles about the quick response, or the RAC man, who did an excellent job. I do object to the fact that the battery offered from the van would have cost me virtually double the one I bought locally (which was the best and most expensive one they had)
RAC HAS RECENTLY BEEN INVESTIATED OVER THEY PATROLS CHANGING MEMBERS BATTERYS AT ROADSIDES AND CHARGING DOUBLE THE PRICE WHEN THE OLD BATTERYS ONLY NEEDED REGARGING BY THEM, WAS TOLD THAT THEY PATROLS GET A COMMISION TO SELL NEW ONES TO MEMBER, YOU WILL SEE RAC VANS PARKED OUTSIDE EUROPARTS LOADING UP BATTERYS FOR SAME PRICES THAT YOU CAN GET YOURSELFS AT THES ESHOPS WHICH IS HALF THE PRICE RAC CHARGES AT ROADSIDE. I HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF RAC FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS BUT WILL NOT ACCEPT A BATTERY OFF THEM AT ROADSIDE. IT HAPPENED TO ME ONCE BUT I CALLED OUT MY AA PATROL AFTERWARDS WHO TESTED MY BATTERY AND SAID THEY WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT JUST NEEDED A CHARGE THAT WAS TWO YEARS AGO AND I HAVE STILL GOT SAME BATTERY TODAY NO PROBLEMS WITH IT
I’d add two things to this. Firstly, if your car doesn’t come with a spare wheel and tyre, buy one quick. Try ebay – I’ve picked up ones for both our cars for around £80 each. Repair kits are utterly useless for a pothole puncture. Secondly don’t leave home without a fully-charged phone. I had a puncture late one Sunday evening earlier this year (before I’d bought the spare) and spent around 90 minutes on the phone to the RAC waiting for them to answer! To be fair, the recovery truck (not RAC) arrived within an hour (less than the operator had told me) and I got an apology and £50 from RAC after complaining. I wonder what percentage of call outs are from pothole/no spare incidents? Good business for the tow truck industry though!
I’m with Green flag, and the only time I used them, I had to wait less than 15 minutes. Great service from a very helpful machanic. I used to be with the AA for about 6 years without using it, but following two breakdowns in a year (Citroen BX!) they told me that if I had one more breakdown, they would increase my premium or cancel my policy! So in effect, buy breakdown cover, but if you use it, we’ll penalise you.
I was also with the RAC, but I never used it, but the prices kept increasing.
Green Flag was recommended to me, and I have to say, the only time I’ve used it to date they were brilliant.
It is the same with any form of insurance, if you claim you pay extra on renewal
BOTH AA AND RAC NOW HAVE NO BREAKDOWNS LIMITS ,YOU CAN CALL THEM OUT AS MANY TIMES YOU LIKE AND CHARGES ARE NOT ISSUED ONLY ON PARTS USSED/ FITTED. AA AND RAC IS THE BEST AND LONG SERVING CLUBS. TRUST THEM I AM A MEMBER OF BOTH FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS. ALSO ON RENEWALS I ALWAYS PHONE THEM UP AND TELL THEM I WILL NOT PAY THE LARGE PREMIUMS DUE AND WAS OFFERED HALF OF RENEWAL PREMIUMS FOR SAME COVER. BUT THEY WILL ONLY DO THIS IF YOU TELL THEM WHAT I DO. MY RENEWALS CAME DOWN FROM 100 POUNDS TO 45POUNDS WITH RAC AND 110 POUNDS WITH AA TO 54 POUNDS. AND BOTH CLUBS SUBS WAS TOTAL £100 FOR YEAR FOR BREAKDON, AT HOME AND RECOVERY/RELAY [FULL COVER] ASK GREEN FLAG IF THEY WILL DO THAT AT YOUR RENEWAL. DONT THINK SO. BUT REMEMBER TO TELL THEM YOU WILL NOT ACCEPT THE RENEWAL FEE [OVER PHONE] I WISH YOU GOOD LUCK
On Sunday morning I waited 1 3/4 Hours for the AA from 8.45 AM till 10.30AM I had a flat tyre.
Have you ever changed a car tyre? would of taken 15 minutes
ye wir orl speekin funnetic nah dint yer no?
Not with my dicky heart.
Maybe Ruth is elderly or even have a disability, you shouldn’t judge her when you don’t even know her.
if you are disabled then yes, you need the recovery to change the wheel, otherwise you need to learn how to do it… or were you on a motorway?
If you have a spare wheel to put. There are so many cars with “pump & gunk” repair kits these days which are useless on much beyond a nail size hole
or if its a side wall issue.. most of that stuff is also very bad for alloys if left on for a period of time. it also depends on the road you are on. a main road no way but if you pulled into a side road, driveway, paved area off the main carriage way then go ahead try and that IF the person who last did the wheels tightened them to the correct torque with a torque wrench and not a air or pneumatic gun….. then you have no chance.
Yes, female here. I try to change a wheel but due to not being able to unscrew the nuts as per previous comment had to call for help.
I would not recomend anyone to do a wheel change with the tools provided in their cars.
The tools are there but their quality is poor.
I waited 3 hours on the motorway on my own. The first 20 mins, the operator insisted I am not a member. When I told her I am, she was not helpful at all and arguing with me. I asked if I can speak to someone else or her manager, she said there is no point, they will just tell me the same thing.
She keep telling me I cancelled 2016! She put me on hold and after 20 mins the line went and she never phoned back to make sure I was at least safe and finish the phone call.
I phoned again, this time the gentleman found my details straight away. By this time, I had to wait the usual 45 mins – 1hr, only to receive a phone call saying I have to wait another 45 mins for independent recovery. That is another hour, in total I waited 3 hours on the hard shoulder alone.
I’m not happy with the operator arguing with me, insisting I was not a customer. She was so rude
Green Flag has also followed the same system. We missed an important meeting because it took over six hours to get a breakdown vehicle to us. We went back to Green Flag for better service, because we thought the insurers cheap breakdown cover wasn’t good enough. I will take out the insurers cover now, it is nearly half them price, for the same level of service.
My wife & I have been a member of the A.A. for many years & are “Gold Members” We broke down on 06/11/2018 @ 18.30, 27 miles from home. That is when our troubles started. My wife tel. the A.A. on her m/ble to be told that we could wait for an A.A. patroleman,which meant a long wait, or they would send a contracted breakdown vehicle to get us home! This would take approx.90 minutes!!We had been attending a hospital from 10.30.a.m. as my wife had to receive treatment. When the breakdown vehicle DID arrive @ 21.05 we both were cold and tired. We got home @ 20.40, so much for the ” 50 minutes response time”The A.A. is in my opinion only interested in taking money, not helping their customers. I tel. the “Complaints & Resolution” dept. the next day, and, after being on hold for 40 mins. eventually got through. I would be better off joining the “other” A. A., alcho……” The A.A. is rubbish. Dennis Armstrong
Brand new motorhome suddenly went into ‘Limp Mode’ when travelling to York Campsite for a weeks stay, weather was particularly bad with loads of surface water, called out Green Flag who attended within 40 minutes, hooked up computer to the motorhome stating that there wasn’t a problem as the engine ‘revved’ OK, and no warning lights had come on he advised me before I moved before the week was out to ‘take it round the block’ to check it out a couple of days prior to returning home to Lincoln. Seven days later we set off home but as we turned on to the A64 it again went into ‘limp mode’ we managed to pull into a layby and again contacted Green Flag who turned up within 25 minutes, I apologised for calling them out again, but my wife was worried if we pulled out into the dual carriage way travelling at 20 miles per hour, they agreed it could be dangerous and after checking everything the Green Flag Driver pulled out first into the carriageway and followed me the 10 miles to the next service station to check everything was OK and that I was happy with the performance of the engine, and we returned home within two hours, glad we had joined Green Flag even though this was a brand new motorhome!
Brand new means nothing. An acquaintance of mine picked up his brand new car, with just delivery miles on the clock, and it broke down before he got off the forecourt of the garage.
My daughter had a brand-new top of the range Company car issued to her. 2 days later the back axle collapsed on the M6. Luckily it was a quiet time of day. After swerving violently she managed to stop without hitting anyone, uninjured, but very shaken-up.
I recommend Green Flag, mostly. They have their own patrols and use local companies which is fine by me. All I care about is getting the breakdown service needed in a timely manner. I’ve had to call them out a couple of times and never had to wait too long. The only problem with Green Flag is that their quotes online are ALWAYS cheaper than the renewal they offer. Every. Single. Year. I have to phone them up and complain about this mistreatment every year to get the best price. They even try to disguise this by offering you a No Call Out Discount if you don’t use them, but the discount is trivial compared to what new customers are offered online. It’s funny in a way, online saves them money by not needing call centre staff and renewals are automatic so don’t require any human input either, saving them money, yet in order to get a fair price I have to take up their staffs time and complain? Please sort it out Green Flag…
RAC are appalling with their renewal process, too. Like you, ever…single….year I have to ‘phone up and haggle because the price has escalated. Each year I am given a different reason/excuse, which is not recognised the following year! Some years I have received assurances that some discount or other was omitted by mistake, but they have sorted the system, so it won’t happen again, but the following year….guess what….!!!
One thing they do, apparently, is base the price on a certain period in the year, e.g. second quarter, third quarter, etc. but they can never tell you when or how the sum was calculated/arrived at! Each year I do manage to get them to reduce it to a more realistic figure, but the effort and stress that goes into doing so is significant!
I had the same problem with the AA. We had joint membership my wife & I for over 20 years but on the last occasion I phoned to say I wasn’t paying the increase what the little toe rag did in the call centre without telling me was, he lowered the premium but instead of receiving 2 cards as usual we received only one. What he had done was made the car the member so if I was driving or a passenger in another car I couldn’t calll the AA as I was now not a member, the car was. 12 months later I told the AA the reason I wasn’t renewing was I only let someone stitch me up once, I don’t give them a second chance to do it again. This attitude has been around since they were bought over by a Hedge Fund & we all know what they are like.
SORRY YOU ARE WRONG, GREENFLAG DO NOT HAVE PATROL MEN THEY USE GARAGESE ONLY IN GREEN COLOUR OWNED BY THE GARAGES THEM SELFS, AA AND RAC IS THE ONLY ONES WHO HAVE PATROLMEN
I was an AA member for 38 years, and only called them out twice in all that time. Yet my renewal premium this month (roadside and relay only, for two cars shared by three family members) was increased to over £300, and I paid £100 more on top for European cover because we visit family in Europe regularly. The renewal is extortionate, bearing no relationship to the risk they bear (my car is only three years old and still under warranty), so I cancelled. Fully comp insurance for my car cost me £250, and I added breakdown cover via my insurer for another £79, to include roadside, recovery to home, home start, and Europe. The AA deserves to go out of business.
Advice at the end (keep a warm coat, a reflective, high-visibility vest, and a torch ) is very sensible BUT in the boot less so – they will inevitably be under everything else there, at you won’t want to be unloading the boot on a motorway hard shoulder! Keep the things in the car (e.g. under a seat, or in a seat-back pocket).
The AA are crooks as they denied that I had insurance cover and after I sent them proof that they had used the cooperative bank they still denied my claim even after I wrote 20 odd emails to their chief executive and called him all the robbing b*****ds under the sun he ignored me.when I wrote to Ombudsman about this theft they advised that I speak direct with AA even though I copied all my emails to explain the futility and a copy of the policy number and payment they and AA Ignored me…so I just write continually about them being a bunch of thieving c***s and accept the corruption in this world( should they belatedly remonstrate about my attitude I still have kept all the emails and proof payments..w****rs)
About 14 years ago, had the AA attend to a breakdown on a Renault Scenic at the seaside. They attempted to tow start the car. There had been a cylinder head leak, and cylinder 3 was full of water. The resultant hydraulic lock bent the crankshaft and trashed the engine. The claim on the AA was rejected, so went to arbitration. The AA’s recovery staff lied, and their inspector didn’t lift the bonnet, I employed an expert witness. At arbitration won the case, and proceeded with an entire short engine replacement at £2500. The AA were then late paying the award, and when I complained, referred the complaint back to the person who had dealt with case originally. Their business ethics are questionable to put it kindly…
How many callouts relate to punctures, with motorists unable to change a wheel as no jack, no spare or wheel too big to lift ?
I have called out the recovery company twice for punctures. The first time was because I was unable to shift the wheel nut even with an extending bar and jumping on it with my 18 stone bulk. The recovery company got a 6 foot length of scaffold to increase leverage. The second was on the A303, right where the carriage way went from 2 lanes to a single lane, an off side tyre had blown and with traffic passing 18 inches from the car, I was not going to put myself at risk, the wheel was eventually change by the recovery truck and 2 police vehicles in attendance.
Mercedes use the RAC for breakdowns, unfortunately despite being provided with MB transport, the RAC was unable to locate a blown fuse, due to the fact as it transpired they were looking at the incorrect fuse box. After 1 1/2 hours they stated it had to be taken to a MB service station, after a further 2 days, the car was returned with a bill for £120.00, which should not have been incurred had the RAC sent out a knowledgeable person. MB refused to refund the charge, saying that it was not their fault. Yes, the fault was mine for trusting MB and the RAC.
£120 for a fuse!!!! Well I’m not surprised. My Merc cost me £600 for a hose once. And non-waterproof parking sensors that cost £175 each to replace and break every time it rains. Well, I’ve now had Lexus, BMW and Merc and all three have proven to be unreliable and stupidly expensive when they break down, so that’s it for the fancy marques for me! Now own a Volvo and everything on it works just fine and when it goes wrong doesn’t cost a fortune.`
Last winter RAC attended my 89 year infirm Father in Law when he had broken down one evening a long way from home. He had had to walk to one mile to a garage to phone the RAC as his mobile was not working. The RAC eventually attended but said that he would need to be relayed to his home some distance away and told him that a recovery vehicle would be sent. The recovery vehicle did NOT turn up and he had to spend the night in the car running the engine every so often to keep warm. In the morning he again had to walk back to the garage to contact RAC again.
RAC…we broke down around midnight in pouring rain, main “A” road with fast moving traffic and with no lights except for me waving a torch to oncoming vehicles. No houses or signs of occupation in the vicinity.Rang RAC, the call answer machine came on and waited for nearly 40minutes to be connected to an operator before phone battery died. Rang again on second mobile, call answer machine came on then waited nearly an hour before that phone battery died. Fortunately a friend got out of bed and came to collect us. Back at his house we were on the landline for one and a half hours after call answer machine responded, when finally an operator came on to take details. Usual response “very busy tonight”, so I arranged to meet them back at car in the morning. The RAC mechanic was great, got car back to local garage and then set about speaking to the RAC.
Ever tried to get the name of the CEO, if so forget it, operator stalled me and gave me a supervisor in Customer Service. Got the name of the CEO off the net and wrote a letter explaining whole issue especially about being stranded with no lights on fast main road and waiting in total nearly two and a half hours to get to finally speak to an operator. Received a reply from Customer Services as it seems the CEO is not prepared to handle personal correspondence. All letter said was sorry we will look into it, but we were very busy on the night. So sent a second letter to the CEO and sent it signed for, but once again he did not respond, but a senior person did write the letter again explaining very busy on the night. No reference to my point about a lady being stuck on a fast main road with no lights just waiting for someone to pile into the poorly visible car. Offered me a partial refund for the problem and that they will be looking further into the matter.
Most of you will I am sure understand the frightening situation for a lady to be in, possibly on her own or worse with kids in a car, pouring down with rain, in total darkness. Is it going to take a fatality before these organisations wake up to the fact that we pay good money for what they call and advertise as “a professional service”.
Anyway still waiting, but just now on TV and in the Media we learn that both the AA and the RAC are swamped with complaints of a similar nature of poor service and lack of care for its customers, so where is the CEO of the RAC to respond to these issues, nowhere to be seen of course.
Jeeze women want to treated as equals yes? So what’s the difference between a woman in a dangerous motoring position to a man? I 100% understand your complaint but gender has no place here. Disabled, children or the older generation would count as being vulnerable but that’s it
Susan you are completely correct, I was however relating matters as they affected us. The point being that the RAC do not have a justifiable excuse for not responding to the initial calls, rather than an automated system putting you into a queuing system that has no way of knowing the dangerous circumstances of the caller. It is not that difficult to suggest that priority callers such as those we have highlighted press a nominated digit on the phone which flashes up an alert in the call centre to show a priority situation. Besides which a little forward planning, reference to their previous call patterns should flag up that they need to have more operators on call to cover circumstances such as poor weather. Its not rocket science, it just calls for some intelligent thinking.
Women are more vulnerable to passing sexual predators!
Tried to contact the RAC for nearly 2 weeks to cancel breakdown membership, despite being told twice I would be called back it didn’t happen. I put a review on Trust advisor and only then did I receive a response.. customer care is appalling.
I have nothing but praise for the RAC. They recovered me from home last year when my Skoda diesel failed, took the car to my local garage where it was repaired. They came out to my daughters Corsa earlier this year and replaced the coil pack with a new one from the van, how about that? Last month they came out to me when I got a puncture in my motorcycle in Shropshire, fixed it on the spot. Every time they have been with me in good time, and the motorcycle puncture repair only took half an hour to get to me. Professional and well equipped every time, and they cost me less than I had been paying the AA for over 20 years. Well done RAC.
My Grandson was quoted a FIVE((( 5)) HOUR wait for just a jump start by the RAC. he told them to do one and is asking for his money back because of breach of contract, when he signed up they stated within 60 _ 90 minutes.
It needs everone who they have dupted and lied to do the same.
Leave them like you would do with EBOLA, name and shame on social media.
Agree entirely. I am still sitting here 3 HOURS after my initial breakdown call.
Tried both AA and RAC found both expensive and not very good As a CSMA member I joined Brittania rescue who were brilliant they have now been taken over by L V but I still get the discount and great service As a foot note I went for a job temping at RAC on minimum wage this is how they employ most people in Bristol I found them so rude i did not even stay the day says a lot about the company cannot employ people properly or even pay a decent wage The place has a bad reputation locally
My car battery was flat one cold winter evening leaving me stranded in the works car park. Unfortunately I had worked late and was the last to exit the offices.
I had been a member of the AA for some years without the need to call them, so this was their time to impress me with their services.
A short conversation informed me that they were busy and would be with me in 40 minutes.
After an hour I called again and was told they were dealing with lots of breakdowns and they are giving preference to woman with children, they will be another 40 minutes.
On my third call another 40 minutes later I was again informed they are still busy. By this time the weather was freezing, I was cold and my sence of humour had dissapeared, I hung up before they could say any more.
A 2 mile brisk walk into the nearest town to find a hot drink warmed me up. Instead of finding a Cafe, Mcdonalds, Berger king or similar place serving coffee, my original idea, I found a Halfords still open.
A quick purchase of a battery and adjustable spanner and I was heading back to the car.
I had removed the old battery, fitted the new battery, had the car started defrosting the screens and my feet and still no sign of any assistance.
Before starting off I gave them a call to cancel the request for assistance, followed by cancelling my annual subscription the next day.
This happened to me 12 years ago. I have not had breakdown cover, or needed assistance since.
All breakdown firms are as bad as each other. They don’t even try and fix the problem anymore, all they say is can’t fix that mate, but i can give you a tow to a garage. I once broke down and called my very well known recovery service explaining that i thought it could be the rotor arm, and i do have a spare one in the boot. When the recovery vehicle turned up he said its not the rotor arm (without even checking) its much more serious than that mate, but i can give you a tow to a garage. I opted for a tow to the nearest supermarket car park so that i was off the road, and changed the rotor arm myself (3 minute job) and then drove home. A waste of money the lot of them, Just ring a breakdown recovery truck when you do breakdown but DON”T pay a yearly subscription for them as you only need a recovery IF AND WHEN you do break down.
over the last few years aa have reduced the number of patrols and office staff to an absolute minimum, even aa patrols can not connect to the office for over an hour. This and getting rid of long-term employees with the implementation of new contracts meant that they can not hire new people to work. members are still lied over the phone, listening to ridiculous stories about traffic jams and breakdowns. do not believe them
as they care more about business customers that personal members
When I read the headline I was expecting to see a large number of complains, but 711 complaints from over six million call out seem rater insignificant. Must just be a slow news week
Too few patrolmen to attend to cars that get more complicated to repair every day The longer it takes to repair one the longer the next on has to wait Quite simple
A friend of mine waited hours for recovery in his home town and was promised a phone call from the RAC which never came so he had to call another garage to fetch him at his expense. When contacted eventually the RAC only apologised but refused to refund his expenses for the alternative recovery. He is now not renewing with RAC not unsurprisingly.
I have a merc 4×4 and it is serviced by merc every year so in excellent condition. Last year I had a spring snap , I phoned the RAC and was told based on my description of the breakdown they would send out a breakdown wagon and the car would be dropped off to a garage of my choice and the wagon would be around 40 mins. One and half hours later I phoned to inform them that no breakdown truck had arrived. They apologised and said they would phone me back which they did with in 5 minutes. They told me the outside breakdown company informed them that they were stuck on the a job and will be another 30 mins . I asked for that companies number and phoned them after another hour and they gave me the same excuse. I phoned the RAC at 7:15pm and after a few more phone calls to the external company they arrived at 12:40. The driver told me that he had only got the call 25 minutes ago as I was kicking up such a fuss. I asked him to drop the car off at the garage requested so they could work on it first thing in the morning. He explained that his shift finished in 30 odd minutes so was dropping my car at one of their storage areas and it should be dropped off in the morn, as he was so close to finishing he could not drop me home as it was in the opposite direction. I could no longer be bothered to phone the RAC and phoned a family member to come and collect me. So I waited around in the pouring rain until nearly 2 am . The garage phoned me at 10 am to say no car had been dropped off. I contacted the RAC who just blamed the external company I informed the RAC that I had booked the car in for 8 am at merc price of £120.00 an hour as they had told me the car would be dropped off that night to a garage of my choice. The car turned up at 11am so cost me 3 hours labour for no car . I wrote to the RAC and received £30.00 compensation. They are taking the motorist for a ride!
I had a number of breakdowns in my old car, the AA each time were more than helpful and got me moving within a few hours.
Once, I was in the middle of a private field near where I was working, the patrolman came out to me following the “where the hedge meets a pothole, go left” directions no problem, fixed the fault with some parts, no charge, and I was off.
Another time I’d blown the clutch and gearbox, but was in a very tough spot up on the moors, surrounded by thick bog with lorries passing within inches of my bumper. When he arrived we managed to get my car around and down to a lay by where we could get it towed, and proceeded to tow me up the narrow cobbled tight twists of west Yorkshire to work.
Finally, the best bit of service I’d received, talking a helpful passerby through setting up, and then towing with their car, so I could get 100yards down the road meaning I was far enough from home to get recovered under my policy.
Now that’s service.
The numbers in the article are like from the Diane Abbott school of maths. One section says AA has 10000 breakdowns a day. That would mean 3.6m a year. Not 500000 as the article says. I also find it hard to believe that at 10000 per day would mean about 10% of vehicles of U.K. vehicles (at 38m in 2018) just through AA breakdown a year. Add in another providers like RAC etc than would mean 20% of U.K. vehicles breaddown. That’s rubbish.
I break down a but 15 years ago the RAC took 15 yes 15 hours to attend by the time they arrived me and my family were absolutely frozen al the driver said was just come on duty Ben didn’t say another word until he’d finished we did not get home until 4 o’clock in the morning needless to say I’ve never used the RAC since.
I’ve been a member of “Start Rescue” for the last 3 years and would highly recommend them. I used to be an AA gold member prior to this, but the price continued to increase year after year so I left the AA and moved to Start Rescue, now I pay 1/10th of what I used to and find the service much better, its a win win.
I have unfortunately had two occasions to call out the RAC this year both between 11 and 12 at night. Both times I held on the phone for over 45mins before getting through to them then had to wait over two hours before a contracted mechanic arrived to help me. This as a lone female driver of shall we say ‘mature’ years is not acceptable and after many years of RAC membership I will not be renewing my policy with them.
We have RAC cover, and although have not used it too often, when we have used it, it has been very good, very impressed. We do however have the cover for all eventualities, from breaking down in someone else’s vehicle, to M’bikes, cars, and our truck & 5th wheel combination] we also keep our vehicles well maintained, and try to be prepared for a breakdown should it happen [ warm clothing, water etc] our experience has been positive [ we nearly always travel with our dog, & only one experience in Wales was not quite so good, subcontracted local garage, driver did not like dogs, & our dog was made to travel on her own, in our vehicle, whilst on top of recovery vehicle,- luckily this was only a very short journey, and for the 6+ hour journey back home to Norfolk, she travelled with us, in the lowloader cab, for which we were all very grateful]
I have broken down twice in 2018, both times the AA were there within 15 minutes. Brilliant service on both breakdowns. 100% Recommend
We keep all of our vehicles well maintained, & we try to be prepared for a breakdown [warm clothing, torch, phone, water etc] We are with RAC, [bikes, cars, and truck & 5thwheel trailer, even covered if in a friends car]] we try not to use service unless we really have to, but when we have had to use it, we have found it generally to be first class..
On the whole we have not had to wait too long, and the service has been good. One notable ‘not so good’, was many years ago in Wales, local garage, driver did not like dogs, ours had to travel in our vehicle, on top of recovery vehicle, luckily that was a short, very fast, & very disturbing journey, but the remaining 6+ hour trip home was much better, dog travelled with us in cab of lowloader, and everything was as good as it could have been under circumstances. Professional driver, mechanic, and all round very nice chap.
Do we have too bigger expectation of rescue services? If we go out on a really bad night, along with, it appears thousands of other people, who it appears desperately have to be somewhere not probably very important, why do we always think that we are the priority, that there could be no one who is of higher priority? Maybe we all need to have a little more forethought, keep our vehicles in good condition, prepared for conditions, and when the Emergency Services say, do not go travel unless you really have to, actually heed their warnings?, and do not go out to visit a friend/relative who is not actually in need, or take a trip which if honest – could have waited?
I’m with the AA, I broke down called to get assistance, it took 40 mins to get the call answered and 7 hours from that call to getting recovered home.. from Sheffield to Mansfield area. The sub contractor used to do the recovery knew I was a vulnerable driver and needed my medication.. Seems to be a similar industry problem, needs regulating !
They did after a lengthy process admit fault and compensate but that’s no good at the time I was left stranded from 9.30pm for 7 hours
360 complaints a year, 1 per day, AA has 10000 call outs a day, what do people want ? Be realistic, which company, which industry is brilliant every single time ? Answer = impossible
RAC rescued me in the snow on a filthy night early in the year. My vehicle was relayed to somewhere for overnight keeping and then on to my garage in daylight next day.
After an understandable wait, a taxi arrived to take me, luggage and dog on the 3 hour journey home. I did tell the very nice young man that I was worried about him having to drive, and that he could either return me the short trip back to my start, or drop me at any pub with rooms.
He insisted on taking me home, drove well and safely, was so kind and friendly. I was very pleased with the service which I received then and the 2 callouts since then which were entirely due to my own stupidity! On each occasion they arrived well ahead of the predicted time, and I have only good things to say about them.
In about 2011 I was in Spain and a petrol pump attendant put diesel in my petrol car, about 10 miles or so down the motorway the car gave up we phoned the RAC who we had European cover and was told human error my fault, you have to sort yourself out, we had been members for 25 years and not given the benefit of doubt or told they would get someone but we’d have to pay absolutely no help at all.
RAC and AA say they fix 90% of break down at the road side then in same breath say that 90% of break down are flat Battery or flat tyre so that means 100% of car that go wrong with other faults are not fixed 🤔
With the roads so overcrowded and often gridlocked, I’m not surprised that patrols can’t move around in a timely manor. Houses keep being built but the infrastructure has to cope.Something has to give.
Hopefully ‘BREXIT’ing is a step in the right direction from perpetually swelling numbers of new people/drivers incoming!
More and more newer cars don’t have a space saver tyre let alone a full size one but have puncture kits instead that are no good for wall damaged tyres, so how are you supposed to get home
Having been with RAC insurance & comprehensive breakdown cover for 2 years, I was relieved to leave them in summer taking out separate Green Flag breakdown cover! Going from never needing to call them out to 3 call outs in 5 months. ALL 3 phone calls took 40 to 50 mins to get through to an agent & was left by my self with my phone on low power! The first two calls I ended up calling out 1) Local garage 2) Brother in law as the waiting time would be another 3 to 5 hours in decent weather! The 3rd call was 2 hours wait for
(changed my punctured tyre for my spare), kindly efficient mechanic! Not worth the £80 / £90 members fee, too unreliable!
I am still waiting 16 days, after my car wouldn’t start outside a vets ,with sick dog.we will be with you in 4 hours.was the reply from the R.A.C…If you want to get home any quicker get a taxi,he advised.after getting a bus home,left my husband and dog.Got home and used my son’s car to bring them home..2/3 hours later,a contractor was at the vets.the car was taken to our local garage. ..The fault originates from an R.A.C.R.A.C.patrolman. changing a camshaft sensor,and in doing so,broke the connector. .In 2018..where o we stand..?Every call out, the fault code is the same,the sensor has been tested,it’s fine..
12 hours for a call out when given a time of 2 hours initially. Then promised that a contractor would have a battery to replace mine .. the contractor arrived with no battery and confirmed that they don’t carry them.
Customer service team were rubbish, just made the usual I’m sorry statements and didn’t even ring to find out the details.
We’ve been with the RAC for 20 plus years .. now cancelling our subscription… total rubbish service
Shocking service from RAC – waited for 46 minutes on hold before getting in touch with recovery operator . 5 hours later , cold and dehydrated still no RAC . As a blue badge holder I have been told I am on priority list but my partner has had to walk alone through the unlit car parks to find a toilet while I was unable to accompany her as was waiting for RAC and in too much pain and couldn’t reach a toilet or services due to my disability . Tried several times to reach the RAC for an update but held in never ending queue . This is how they treat a blue badge holder of 21 years membership .
Both now chilled to the bone and dehydrated . Thank you RAC for not being the emergency breakdown service
My name is john webb I broke down near the end of the m11 at 6 pm . It took 30 mins. For my call to be answered a relay truck arrived and took me to j8 on the m11 birch hanger services arrived there at 9 pm some 3 hours later was picked up again at 3.45 am the following morning and travelled home at 5.30 am almost 12 hours the whole episode was s disgrace. We run one mobile phone out of charge constantly ringing THE RAC
The second phone down to 7% when we were picked up. The contact between us and The RAC was disturbing in as much as never gettng the truth never answering a straight forward question. Ringing the the dud mobile after giving them a new number to call us
on! They said they would send a cab and collect our car at 7 in that same morning and to leave our keys with someone at the services. We asked every shop hotel garage etc but nobody wanted to be responsible! I said I needed medication and the reply was do you want me to call an ambulance!
When speaking to the driver of the pick up vehicle he said they are all the same and do not have enough relay vehicles!
So basically that is the problem for all of the recovery companies, they are unable to stick to their times as there are not enough recovery lorries.
I have some sensible solutions to this snd contact problems if they are prepared to listen
I can beat you all we are with the AA broke down at 3.00 pm Saturday 3rd August mechanic was very quick but was unable to repair our car
Following calls and broken promises we made the normal 4 hour journey home last for 27 hours 9of them were sat in a grass verge with 2 small children and the rest either on transport or sleeping in our caravan at a service station
We arrived home at 18.30 on the 4th August
Emailed the MD and he had forwarded our complaint to the relevant dept
Not even a courtesy message but I didn’t expect one
Offered free upgrade on rac breakdown membership. Husband asked me to sort it, but rac refuses to talk to me without my husband’s verbal permission! Did not realise we still lived in the dark ages. After all this is the UK, not Saudi Arabia. Totally disgusting, sexist behaviour.
We are still waiting on the AA where in the middle of no where no street lights no houses 2 under 5 said 90 min wait 2 and a half hours ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s now 2:06am
I broke down today & waited 4.5 hours for the RAC to come. I could have got a lift home which was 4 miles away & suggested that I do that & have the recovery vehicle pick me up to return to my car when they were ready, but they refused to collect me from home so I had to wait. I’m female & was alone apart from an anxious dog.
The staff on the phone were not great, one man ended the call & didn’t ring back.
Their customer complaints number given online doesn’t work.
When I called them again for the 3rd time asking to be put through to customer complaints she put me through to their car hire department.
The 4th call was more polite but made no difference to the wait time, in fact it changed to a later time as emergency calls came in meanwhile which took precedence.
As I could get to a place of safety (a golf club up the road) I was not classed as being a priority.