Why does the AA charge so much for replacement batteries?

Recently my wife’s six-year old KIA Picanto would not start, so we called the AA. The patrolman who turned up diagnosed a dead battery. He said that he had a replacement in his van and would we like him to fit it? As we were in a hurry and late for an appointment, it seemed to be the simplest solution and we agreed. It wasn’t until after he had fitted the battery that he handed us a bill for £103. We did not at the time have the faintest idea of how much a new battery would cost but expected to pay full price for the convenience. It was not, however, until after we had made a few enquiries that we realised that we had been grossly overcharged. The most expensive price that we could find from any of the local garages or accessory shops was £67 and the cheapest online quote was £51 with free next day delivery. I wrote to the AA to point this out to them, but they were not prepared to enter into any discussion and said that I had been charged the correct amount.

Asked on 21 December 2013 by PC, Ferndown

Answered by Honest John
With retailers competing against each other offering ever increasing discounts, then of course you could have got the battery cheaper if you had taken the time to shop around the tyre and battery outlets. But you were stuck, you were rescued and you got a new battery straight away. When you're over a barrel and desperate you don't get a discount. That's one of the hard facts of life. The AA man has been carting that battery around in his van for weeks if not months and the weight will have marginally increased his fuel consumption. It's only reasonable that in the circumstances you were charged the full retail price without any discount.
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