Roadside Recovery Woes - Ed666
Last night I had the misfortune to suffer a gearbox failure on the M1 in the midlands.

Having waited 45 mins for the AA I was told it would need a recovery truck as the standard AA van could not tow me off.

It was stuck in gear and disengaging gear proved near impossible...

2 hours from the initial call the truck turns up (not an AA vehicle, but a third party garage), excellent i thought especially at 2am! With the car being stuck in gear the driver moved on to tell me it would cost an extra £105 + vat to get off the motorway as he would need to go "specialist". Thinking I was covered under my AA policy I queried this to be told I would only be covered for a basic recovery...

In the end he said he would take cash (£15) and use the skidplates, obviously going in his back pocket no questions asked.

Having rang the AA this morning I was told this is not standard practice.... But how many other drivers have been put in this situation? They did seem unbothered by my suggestion this took place, but they did say I wouldn't have been liable to pay any extras as I am covered by a roadside/relay/home start policy.

Roadside Recovery Woes - robcars
Bit late now but why didnt you re ring the AA while he was there telling you it was going to cost extra?
Roadside Recovery Woes - Galaxy
Yes, you should have phoned the AA straight away when asked for more money, particularly as it wasn't an actual AA vehicle which turned up to do the recovery.

A few years ago I was unlucky enough to break down very late at night. After calling the AA I waited and, after about half an hour, a recovery vehicle turned up which was not an AA vehicle. I was very wary about this and quizzed the driver endlessly about why he had come along in response to my call and why it wasn't an AA vehicle.

He explained that, at that hour of the night, you were very unlikely to get an actual AA vehicle, which might have been true or not. However, I didn't need to worry. He put my car onto his transporter and carried me home, about 10 miles in my case. I wasn't asked for any money, I think I had to sign something to say I had had the service, obviously so that this chap could claim his money back from the AA. That I didn't mind.

Although initially worried about the vehicle which turned up not been an AA one, my worries, on this occasion, were groundless and I obtained excellent service.
Roadside Recovery Woes - pmh
Based on an unsatisfactory experience with the RAC a few years ago, I complained and was professionally treated. They agreed that thay would record the facts against the the sub contract garage concerned so that it was unlikely that the contract would be renewed in the future, and deleted the ' claim' from my record, allowing me to to get my 'NCD'.

i imagine the AA would do something similar.

pmh (was peter)

Roadside Recovery Woes - Craig_1969
I would suggest that you change to GEM or Autoaid, you pay for the recovery and then reclaim the cost. You can get the breakdown guy/gal to take you anywhere or do anything happy in the knowledge your all costs will be reclaimed.
Roadside Recovery Woes - SlidingPillar
My experience of contractors to the RAC is good!

Both times, I've been attended to by exactly the right firm with the right kit for the cars, and in fact, the hardest bit was persuading the control centre that the vintage car was not suited for being towed even a short distance (brakes not up to modern standards).
Roadside Recovery Woes - Ed666
Easy to say regarding ringing the AA, but at 2am in the morning and a low phone battery I wasn't going to argue!

I was just curious to see if this kind of thing happens often or not....

Guess its a big of a mixed bag depending on which garage the AA contracts to pick you up
Roadside Recovery Woes - Cliff Pope
I think quite a lot of sub-contracting and swapping of jobs goes on between recovery firms. I've had an AA man attend even though I'm with National Breakdown, was once passed to another freelance operator because the first didn't want such a long haul. Excellent service however on each occasion.

However, in this age of identity cards and wariness of strangers, it does make you wonder about the readiness with which people accept that the truck that turns up is genuine. Perhaps we ought to be given a job number when phoning in, and then check that the man who attends quotes the right number.
Roadside Recovery Woes - jc2
I've been with Britannia Rescue for years and the few times I've needed them,I have told them exactly what was needed for recovery-ie. suspended tow or trailer etc. and they have always turned up with the right vehicle.
Roadside Recovery Woes - DP
I have been recovered twice over the years by local contractors on behalf of the RAC (once to recover after a theft and the other after an RTA) and both times was treated professionally and with courtesy. No hassles at all.

I've renewed with the RAC ever since.

Roadside Recovery Woes - Stuartli
>>even though I'm with National Breakdown>>

National Breakdown (actually Green Flag since the mid-1990s) has always used independent contactors and used to boast of having around 1,500 available around the UK.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
Roadside Recovery Woes - Simon
Ed666, would it be possible for you to reveal which AA contractor this was on the M1 in the Midlands? You can email me with the answer, I have enabled my email address to be viewed in my profile. I am very interested to ensure it was not an employee from the recovery company I work for as we strive to make sure our reputation is second to none.
Roadside Recovery Woes - jdc
I work for the RAC in a breakdown control centre.

I would imagine an AA centre is pretty much the same.

In our questions to the member at the roadside, their answers dictate which resource is sent to the scene of the breakdown or accident. Usually, anything needing a tow for definite (eg. any sympton with clutch and gears) goes to a contractor who is contracted (strangely enough...) to meet certain eta's, professional standards and reliability that it should make no difference that an RAC patrol hasn't attended. When a member rings, we take them through IQA (Intelligent Questioning and Answering) where each answer gives another sub-menu, a bit like the ambulance service. For example, if you say it's a puncture problem, then the next question generated by the computer is "do you have locking wheel nuts", if yes, "do you have a spare.." and so on ......

These contractors have official id's that connect them to the RAC (or AA) which should alleviate any worries the member has.

Also, we advise our members that, in the event of a tow being generated by the question-and-answer system, one of our approved contractors will attend.

The only time a patrol will tow is when the roadside fix has not been possible, or a motorway incident has occured and a safety tow is needed, or when their is no suitable contractor to attend within the 1-2 hour window.

Virtually all RAC accident recovery jobs are done by contractors working for the RAC, whereas breakdown tows are generated more by the symptons of the breakdown.

As Simon says, contractors not meeting the standards of the RAC and AA (and other reputable breakdown companies) would soon lose an awful lot of business .......

Hope this helps.

Roadside Recovery Woes - rtj70
Earlier this year my car just died a mile or so from home. It's a Leaseplane managed vehicle.

Phoned RAC and told 40 minutes... they were there in 15. Could not get going so was going to tow. Local Ford garage has barriers at night so towed to home behind the Transit on solid tow-bar. Excellent so far.

Phone back RAC (Leaseplan out of hours) and insist on car that night (family issues). Car arranged at Manchester airport and a taxi sent... taxi arrives and I get car. No cost to me at all. Great having a company car and this confirms it when there's a family issue.... which there was. Driving back from a hospital visit when car broke down.

Saturday I call RAC again to take car to Ford dealer... they quote some time or other like within 2 hrs but arrive in 10 minutes! Tow car to Ford, wait to give lift back too (okay only a mile). The RAC driver also called first. And an important point here, can you recover a vehicle twice on a normal policy with the same breakdown as the cause??

Ford fixed car on the Monday too (EGR valve again!). Should not have gone wrong but on the road again quickly.

All in all RAC was brilliant... maybe it helped it was via a Leaseplan number though???

Roadside Recovery Woes - Cliff Pope
I appreciated that it makes sense for all the recovery firms to use local contractors as appropriate, depending on their assessment by phone of the likely problem. presumably there could be an extreme case say a sub-frame collapse where a total crane job was necessary.
i was just musing on the fact that we are now supposed to be so careful to check callers' identities before so much as opening the front door, yet when broken down we gratefully give carte blanche to an unknown breakdown man who turns up in response to a call. On the two occasions I have called them out it never occured to me to check who the man was - I just assumed he must have been sent by the organisation.
A rogue truck could just stop at any likely looking expensive car, load it on and drive away, while the owner sat safely well back from the carriageway as advised.
Roadside Recovery Woes - Ed666
Simon, all I'll say is its based in Ashby... make of it what you will!
Roadside Recovery Woes - stunorthants
My old Sierra once broke down in Reigate, Surrey and an AA truck was passing who offered to take us home for free as he was off duty and our destination was only a mile away from his house. He didnt ask for any money, just a cold drink as it was a hot day! We gave him £20 anyway! Sp a free trip from Reigate to Horsham W. Sussex.
Its why I always renew with them really, plus the only time I broke down, it was a snapped negative lead on my battery, they sent out a contractor who took only 10 mins to arrive and had me going within 5 - I was suprised he carried the connector, its not like they snap off each day!
Roadside Recovery Woes - Simon
Well the good news is that its not the company that I am employed with, but I know who you are refering to now. I have a lot of contacts in this industry, and a very good one at the place in question. Leave it with me.

Ask Honest John

Value my car