Why does the RAC charge so much for arranging recovery with a third party recovery company?

I recently damaged my radiator on a high kerb and called the RAC for assistance, not wishing to involve my insurers thinking costs would be relatively low. My membership did not cover the incident, but they offered to assist by arranging recovery on my behalf for £160.40. Although shocked by the cost, I agreed, believing it must be around the going rate. I later found that had I arranged the recovery myself with the same recovery firm, it would have cost me £72. I complained about the RAC's excessive charge but they say what I would have paid "bears no resemblance to the price RAC pays our agent for this work". I imagine not; their costs would surely be lower. Please warn your readers of RAC's policy towards its membership, which will be one less at renewal.

Asked on 15 June 2013 by RH, via email

Answered by Honest John
Neither the AA nor RAC Breakdown policies cover the driver for recovery after accidental damage. But what you paid was the result of an agency agreement. You actually bought the recovery via the RAC (which is owned by private equity funding) so had to pay the RAC to arrange it. A ridiculous amount of money I agree, and a fair warning to anyone with an AA or RAC Breakdown policy not to call them if their car is accident damaged.
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