RAC service failure and recovery rip off, non response to complaint

  • CateOC's Avatar
    I telephoned RAC Breakdown at approx 4:17pm Sat 19th August from a location in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. Stressed and dehydrated and frightened, I attempted to explain to the RAC's female operator what had led to my car's breakdown. A sequence of events with no clear explanation had happened. Your operator instantly put me under pressure, with no empathy whatsoever, circling around the same questions, and I felt treated interrogated as if in a police interview, not at all that I was being helped by a national car recovery service. Her behaviour was wholly unreasonable and unfair. You completed failed in your duty of care to this customer. You have to train your operatives in how to approach this process in a more careful manner, as had we driven the car home due to the extortionate recovery fee of £179 extracted from my debit card on the phone and for which I have received no receipt. In my confusion I was unsure if something had hit the car or fallen from it. Due to the aggressive questioning, I forgot to mention that the car clutch had been replaced by a garage in High Wycombe. I had never used this outfit before, and they already failed to check the speedometer when I collected the car from them on Thursday 17th at closing time. On Friday 18th I returned the car to them and they claimed that it had been fixed, and the car was now roadworthy. This afternoon, the fault in the car began to make itself known in the Iver area, it then proceeded to sound more ominous as we approached Gerrards Cross and then made a bang. No accident occurred, just a very dangerous breakdown due to the negligence and incompetence of High Wycombe garage's mechanic. Your operator's telephone manner was to address me as a liar due to the fact that I had mistakenly attributed the first of three distinctly different sounds that the car made as it went into mechanical failure. The recovery man from
    Connoisseur stated, on arrival in Amersham, and having transferred the car off his truck and heard the horrendous noises made by the Hyundai i20 that the car was in so dangerous a condition that if we had driven it at 30mph (as we had considered doing due to the exorbitant cost £179 for recovery to 6 miles home), it could easily have flipped over. The man also noted that gearbox bolts had been dumped on the windscreen-clearly the RAC and the garage need to consider safety- related compliance.
  • 2 Replies

  • Santa's Avatar
    While I am in no way trying to take the RAC's side, this story illustrates the problem of "Too Much Information".

    With the benefit of hindsight, the OP should have simply told the RAC operator that she heard a bang and the car stopped. When the patrol arrived, they should answer the questions and let them do their job.

    I have seen similar stories where a member drove through a flood and the engine stopped. They told the operator what happened and the operator said it was not a breakdown but an accident and the member should call their insurance company.

    Closer to home, my daughter called me in a bit of a panic with a flat tyre. She had clipped a kerb and ripped the sidewall. I told her to call the RAC and say that she had a flat tyre without mentioning the kerb. The patrol changed her wheel and sent her on her way with no problems.

    After reading the somewhat convoluted post (paragraphs are a great help) I think that the OP should take legal advice about her problems with the garage.
  • CateOC's Avatar
    RAC customers must give operators the minimum of information to ensure roadside recovery, otherwise the business avails of the opportunity to profit from distress. I and many other women have experienced significant delay or service refusal. A friend's van broke down in a remote Buckinghamshire village and she was advised to wait 12 hours for recovery- not the service paid for. If you received a quick response it is likely that the breakdown happened in a large urban area. You obviously had learned the correct script to get the help paid for too!