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Author: Subject: Car recovery nightmare
coyoteboy

posted on 24/6/19 at 08:00 PM Reply With Quote
Car recovery nightmare

Had a fun night the other night - the day after my re-MOT and re-tax on my 4x4 (failed on offside lower balljoint play, which I replaced) I was driving calmly away from the lights and the front left suspension collapsed, burying the lower arm in the tarmac and grinding me to a spectacularly noisy halt from about 15mph in the middle of the carriageway.

I called my recovery folk (through HSBC) and they advised it would be the AA coming to get me. In 3 hours.

I was a bit miffed and pointed out that Thursday night wasn't a busy night in general, and it's a major city suburb, but I was probably an hours walk from home and I was right next to a supermarket so I just went to get food and water and sat waiting. Figured there's no point complaining too much, won't affect anything, I'm sure they're trying to help the best they can.

At the 2.5 hour point they call to tell me I'm not eligible because the car isn't taxed. I say it is, but the DVLA system hasn't updated yet, I have email evidence of payment etc. They say OK but I'll have to provide that evidence before they'll recover me.
At the 3.5 hour point they send me a text to say it's been farmed out to a local recovery company instead, no update on ETA.
At the 4 hour point I call them, ask what's going on, they put me on hold, then cut me off.
At the 4.5 hour point I call again, they tell me there's a guy round the corner, will be 30 minutes.
At the 5 hour point I get a call asking if he's been yet.
At the 5.5 hour point I get another call saying a new guy is on his way.
New guy comes and is amazing help, very friendly and courteous, but it seems he wasn't called until 10 minutes before he turned up.

Annoyed is an understatement!

Anyway, the damage was caused by the "MOT'd OK" nearside lower ball joint. Popped clean off, taking with it the top ball joint, burying the tripod joint into the road, ripping the brake hoses away, snapping the ABS sensor and bending the wing where the car slid along the road on the now-lying-down wheel.

Can't really complain to the MOT place as I checked them myself too and didn't see any play there, just spectacular how one simple joint can end your day badly, and how if it had been at motorway speeds it could have been significantly more unpleasant an end.

[Edited on 24/6/19 by coyoteboy]





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Slimy38

posted on 24/6/19 at 08:49 PM Reply With Quote
To be honest, that's pretty much every breakdown I've had with the AA. I've never once been picked up on time, even when they were brutally honest and said it was going to be two hours (it was the middle of winter and I wasn't the only person who had screwed up).

The worst thing was that when I had an unreliable car, the toerags decided to send me a threatening letter saying that my cover was going to lapse because I'd called them out four times in a year.

I think their reliance on their own fleet is their downfall. I get much better service from my current 'rescuemycar', the one time we had to call them out we had a pickup in 20 minutes, at least four courtesy calls and three text messages during the entire trip, they even asked after my wife to see how she was (she'd broke a wheel on a pothole).

[Edited on 24/6/19 by Slimy38]

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steve m

posted on 25/6/19 at 08:23 AM Reply With Quote
Ive used the AA for years, and have only had to wait a max of 2 hours, to get recovered, and only had that wait, as they sent a van first with tools, despite me telling them the back axle had broke, and it needed a flat bed truck

I believe you have a very good case for a refund on the extremely bad service you got

steve





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Mr Whippy

posted on 25/6/19 at 11:17 AM Reply With Quote
a landrover something?

[Edited on 25/6/19 by Mr Whippy]

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coyoteboy

posted on 25/6/19 at 11:59 AM Reply With Quote
Hilux





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nick205

posted on 25/6/19 at 03:11 PM Reply With Quote
SWMBO and I have had breakdown cover on cars for a few years, but never actually had to make use of it. Stories like this do little to assure me the covers even worth paying for!
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Simon

posted on 25/6/19 at 04:28 PM Reply With Quote
We used the AA once

They came to our Ford Crapi (circa 1991) when it wouldn't start (obvs). Eventually got it going and about three weeks later was idly thinking that I hadn't put any oil in (it used quite a lot) so had a look under the bonnet.

AA chap had knocked oil pressure switch wire off. Checked dip stick t'was a bit dry.

Been with Green Flag since.

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Slimy38

posted on 25/6/19 at 05:19 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nick205
SWMBO and I have had breakdown cover on cars for a few years, but never actually had to make use of it. Stories like this do little to assure me the covers even worth paying for!


It's the same as car insurance, it's only when you need to use it that you find out how good the company is. I'm absolutely dreading making a claim on my insurance, I can guarantee its going to be a horrific nightmare just because I choose to pay for the cheapest cover possible.

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CC Cyclone

posted on 25/6/19 at 05:55 PM Reply With Quote
The AA has gone downhill fast under its current ownership who have effectively asset stripped it. I have been a member for 17 years and never again.

I had the same process last year but it took them 27 hours in total to get me and the car 78 miles to home. Every hour I got the ‘they are nearly there. 5 different recovery trucks and a night sleeping in the car in the cold I finally got home. Call centre now staffed by morons who lie / cut you off when they don’t have an answer / try and pick a fight when you complain.

Do a google search, sadly this is not a one off. Blokes in trucks were fine, and embarrassed. The last guy told me he had just dumped a Peugeot in the services to take me home and was going back to it later. Apparently it had been en-route from Cornwall to Birmingham for over 4 days at that point.

Has made me carry as many spares in all the cars I own as I can.

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Badger_McLetcher

posted on 25/6/19 at 06:42 PM Reply With Quote
Just to jump on the horror stories, had a hell of a time a couple of years back at the RR gathering!

The exhaust manifold on my mates turbo'd Micra snapped off at a weld as we were going into the parking at Shelsley Walsh (not displaying or running up the hill or anything). Figured we'd go around the event before getting the AA out.

Had a bit of an ordeal getting hold of the AA - not their fault, crappy phone signal but luckily we had my dad's battered old Mondeo so we could get on top of a hill. It took something like 3 hours for them to turn up (part of which was spent standing out on the lane, in the pouring rain, so that we could signal our location). According to the AA the van driver drove past us and we weren't there, which is a load of crap as we made sure someone was out on the lane at all times. Eventually he turned up (we were pretty much the last ones in the field), and tried to get out of towing the Micra. He was rude, abrasive and wanted to charge my mate something like £300 to tow it back to Bristol (despite that being part of his cover). We opted for towing it to a local garage, where my other mate (who was a passenger in the car) phoned the RAC. 40 minutes later they arrived with a wrecker which we followed back to Bristol with no problems.

I don't want to be "that guy" but the RAC has pulled my wossnames out of the fire a couple of times now, and whilst they're response times aren't too rapid they do seem to keep them.





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swanny

posted on 25/6/19 at 07:50 PM Reply With Quote
just for a bit of balance, my experience with the AA has always been pretty positive. they recovered my wife and kids a few years back from manchester to nottingham and arrived when they said they would. and a couple of years ago my tow car mixed its own oil and water while we were towing the caravan. abandoned the caravan in a pub carpark, and the AA took me to the garage of my choice, then came back and towed the caravan 15 miles to our storage facility., then brough me home again. couldnt have helped enough.

i am considering not renewing next year just because its too expensive, and hearing some of the horror stories might make that a bit easier!

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cliftyhanger

posted on 26/6/19 at 07:44 AM Reply With Quote
I have found the AA (via DAS) to be pretty good.
600 mile recovery too 20 hours, and yes a few delays as drivers had to take breaks etc.
Another occasion turned up after 45 mins ( I didn't believe the burial 15 mins I was told) and within 20 mins my car was recovered and pushed into the garage.
Couldn't really fault either experience.
But, and this may be key, it was done via a third party.

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ianhurley20

posted on 26/6/19 at 09:10 AM Reply With Quote
I used to work in traffic management with the AA. Although the name AA has stayed the same over the years its owners have changed many times. Each time a different viewpoint on getting the best. At one time if you were an AA worker you got AA cover, new owner got rid of that perk but when RAC, Green Flag and other breakdown services came to AA HQ to get AA workers broken down cars fixed it was replaced. Latest owners have done a few things like get rid of traffic management and is squeezing as much profit out of the rest as they can so not surprised at historic AA are wonderful stories followed by current AA are ******* stories.





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Mr Whippy

posted on 26/6/19 at 12:06 PM Reply With Quote
We've only used the AA once after the wife left the map light on in the car in the airport car park when we then went abroad for 2 weeks... battery was a tad flat lol

Guy turned up in 30 mins and that was us up and running, saved our bacon as it was a late night flight back. Not sure what I would have done otherwise...

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AntonUK

posted on 26/6/19 at 10:02 PM Reply With Quote
Im about to swap from the AA after my last call for help.

Broke down outside a garage, they refused to pick me up on the basis that the garage could repair my car.

Despite my protests that i had a snapped prop and a gearbox in 2 halfs and wanted to go home they flat out refused and I had to pay a local firm to take me instead.





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Nickp

posted on 27/6/19 at 06:36 AM Reply With Quote
Had my 4x4 window smashed in near Anfield at 10pm one night (no surprise I know!!). I had my young son with me and the vehicle has full of broken glass so I thought it best to get recovered. Took nearly 4 hrs, and numerous phone calls to the AA) for a local firm to pick us up even though I'd explained I had a child with me and it was a very dodgy area at night. He took us to the services on the M6 and dumped us. AA couldn't provide any ETA for us been collected from there. Managed to get a cleaner at the Mcdonalds to give me some tape and bin liners and patched the window up. Sat my son in back furthest away from the broken glass and drove home. Complained directly to AA and through my company. Ended up with 2 x cheques for £125!! They couldn't even get the compensation right, paid me twice!!
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bi22le

posted on 27/6/19 at 10:46 PM Reply With Quote
I have never wanted recovery long term, sometimes I do it if I'm driving abroad though.

All of these £40 a year memberships I have saved, if I breakdown I'll just Google the closest recovery and keep offering more money until they immediately come and pick me up. The kitty is hundreds so I recon I'll get picked up quite quickly!!





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coyoteboy

posted on 28/6/19 at 10:48 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bi22le
I have never wanted recovery long term, sometimes I do it if I'm driving abroad though.

All of these £40 a year memberships I have saved, if I breakdown I'll just Google the closest recovery and keep offering more money until they immediately come and pick me up. The kitty is hundreds so I recon I'll get picked up quite quickly!!


This doesn't really work though - in the case of my failed balljoint/difficult lift, the subcontractor I called out showed me the invoice he was submitting back the AA - well over £1K as it was a "special recovery" - i.e. suspension failure=not rolling=special skills to lift/roll/manipulate it at both ends. Last time I called a local guy to come get me the price started at 180+VAT, and I've had 2 call outs in 5 years. So I'm about 800 quid up.





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