RAC - a joke wearing thin??

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tim
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RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

Last Sunday evening the wife was going along the M3 towards the M25 in stop-start traffic when the overheat light came on. She immediately headed for the hard shoulder as one does, and then phoned me. (Appalling traffic noise). I phoned through the problem and was told it would be about 40 minutes - crap, but not bad for a busy Sunday evening. I phoned her an hour later - still standing and waiting.
So I called RAC again, slightly less politely this time, and was told in puzzled tones that the van driver "couldn't find her" and had wandered off for a kip without bothering to tell anyone. Note; sunny evening, empty hard shoulder, big red BX estate looking sorry for itself.....is someone taking the piss? Anyway, let's try again. Now nearly two hours down the line. The flatbed that was promised turned out to be a little RAC van pedalled by one Simon. He made a couple of stupid jokes, than waved his hand around, said that the fan was probably worn out (amazing, most of us have to take the cowling off and hitch a 12v feed direct to the fan - obviously Gandalf has a better way) and invited the wife to drive on. (M3/M25 remember). I heard this and phoned the RAC stating that the car was NOT to be driven anywhere since the fault had not been found or fixed. They said apologetically that the van pedaller had the final say - his say was in fact 1) stay there all night, 2) be recovered privately at our expense ... oh, Simon, what a lucky little man you are that I was 70 miles away.... 3) start driving.
So she did, along the M25. This with a car that might have overheated again at any time. Imagine doing 65, partial seizure reducing you to 40 mph, fat prat in lorry or coach too busy phoning.... it happens of course, all too often.
So a week on I have phoned the Rac seven times and they refuse to respond. I have made a formal complaint and was told that the results would be 'confidential'. Er, no... I want to know that the van driver has been given light duties at Jobcentre. He could have killed my wife and son, and he's still out there. Want to gamble your own family's lives? Help me out if you can. Who can I contact that will serve as a big stick to get the RAC bigwigs off their arses? And how can I get the info I need to name and shame the RAC publically? I want these buffoons nailed as they are seemingly covering up a serious case of neglect - if not sorted someone else may not be so lucky. Cockups I can live with but this is perilously close to wilful criminal action.

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Mike P
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Mike P »

Contact Watchdog, they love a name and shame.

Emphasise the human element and risk of the issue, you never know.

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MULLEY
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by MULLEY »

Spread it on Facebook, that seems to grab most firms attentions when they read they are being slagged off. I'd cancel the breakdown cover & go with autoaid, miles cheaper & just as good imho.
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JayW
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by JayW »

Put it in writing, as in a real letter, not an email!

About 5 years ago, driving back from Brum the rad burst on my old Daewoo. Managed to get to the next jct and get off the M6 and stopped in a pub car park. By this point the engine was cooked and Fubar.

Rang the RAC, monkey from a sub-contactor came out and during general chatter told me the car was a pile of crap and a new engine would be more than it's worth. Loaded it up onto the wagon after revving the bollocks off the knocking engine and took me back to their depot.

I had to wait 2 hours for another wrecker to arrive to bring me and the car home. 2nd guy loaded the car up and i got the back seat of the crew-cab. I spent 4 hours on the worlds most uncomfortable bench seat while the fat-ass brummie had his annoying 10yr old kid in the (comfy)front sat wailing and watching dvd's on a portabl player all the way back.

Suffice to say the whole experience p*ssed me off no end, so i complained, in depth and in writing.

A couple of months later i got a letter from them, the monkey had ben disciplined, the 2nd "was no longer in the contractors employment" and my next years membership was gratis.


My question though, Why was she not recovered off the motorway? That's included in the most basic level of cover!
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Thread Bear
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Thread Bear »

My experience is you get a little van first. They judge what can be fixed, towed, ignored. Then the bloodwagon gets called out, generally contracted outfit. If the Police arrive this might be sped up, or they might call thier bloodwagon and charge you for the removal. Often its the same bloodwagon outfit!
These rescue firms have an issue with 'old bangers'. If its a well kept classic then things normally happen in real time. But to most trade, a BX is a nail. Now they took the cash, so the deal should be the same., but it just isn't. Its assumed the banger will be more unreliable than a newer car. It is of low value so why bother.
The issue really is that any time spent on the hard shoulder is dangerious. So Simon will defend himself by saying he recommended you drive off the motorway at the next junction as he had not the equipment to move the car and the bloodwagon was half an hour away. Why should he risk his life on the hard shoulder to fix a older car on his wage? I would have expected a water top up and an escort off and have indeed had such an incident in my Borgward. Having got off the motorway we botched up the leaking rubber out of the guys tub of bits and bobs and I was able to get home. Top marks mate's Green Flag card, I think it was. I used not have any cover but trusted my fingers and brain. Even here I would have made safety buy dint of botch and reuse of wiper water and some drink we had with us. Why bother if you do not need too. However with my classic polocy comes breakdown cover, so I am in.

Best complaint is to attempt to go to the top bod. Point out you disatisfaction and the threat to go on Fizzogg etc with a complaint forum, media etc. Need to make the threat prior to action as they will prefer no bad publicity. Once you have started there is bad feeling already, so you might not gain a generious responce of some freebie and an apology. If they do not comply then start the grinder.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Tinkley »

Two different styles of RAC 'man'.

1. The good'un. Had temp warning light come on towing boat 4 up back from Torquay in '07 on A303 when hot the queue near Stonehenge, so as only the first amber one pull over and let it cool. Phone up and about 20-25 mins later van turns up. Guy was very helpful, tested thermostat (which had failed) and made up spade end shorting loop which meant fan was on permanently. Advised aan alternative route with no jams and obviously replace thermostat, at your convenience.

2. The bad'un(s). Had coil failure on Aprilia in Wandsworth so about 35 miles from home on way back from work. Phone up, 'It will be an hour Sir'. Hour and a half goes by so phone again, same thing another hour, repeat, repeat. Eventually after 7 hours standing in the rain (and seeing at least 8 other RAC vans/vehicles pass) a van arrives. 'I have to take you to Kenley, right Sir?' er No that is just the road name, I actually live just over the Hampshire border. 'Oh, I used to be stationed in Bordon when I was in the army so I know the way!' So at least I got back - eventually. Maybe I should have faked being a lone female...

Another time, had puncture on Aprilia, usual Chipboard screw through the back. They sent sub contractor to workplace (i had limped there just about OK) and he changes tube. 4k miles later exiting M3 at Junction 4 the bloody rear deflates fast. Turns out the contractor had put in wrong tube size previously (and not told me) and that is why it punctured (from chafing). I have had (non RAC) the wrong tube size put on the Morini which led to a front wheel blow at 80...that was fun....
Of course both wrong tube sizes are actually illegal too.... :wink:

Most recently as insured with them ie car insurance and of course it covers the glass too. Rear screen smashed by vandal. OK leave it with us, we'll sort it out. Of course unable to supply or find screen after 3 hours. Eventully find screen available through the AA. In the process find out that another customer has scrapped his BX because unable to find rear screen......
Still tryingto get the money back on the screen and get the AA to be an RAC approved supplier :lol:

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Vanny
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Vanny »

You're with the RAC, and unfortunately the RAC do not give what you pay for!

Personally I've always had breakdown cover through Boncaster (but not their AutoAid franchise) who sub out, and i have always had very good results. In fact it used to be that if i asked for a flat bed recovery, they just sent it! And at what used to be £35 a year it was a bargain.

I have RAC cover for the company car and its always been slow and badly informed.

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citsncycles
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by citsncycles »

I've been lucky and always had good service from the RAC - even to the point where they sent out a recovery truck when I told them on the 'phone what was involved in fixing the engine!

I used to be with the AA - the almost always sent a little van, so the driver could take 1 look at the problem and decide he couldn't fix it before calling for a recovery truck. one time when the H van I owned at the time blew it's release bearing they believed me that they wouldn't be able to find a replacement part, remove the engine then fit it on the side or the Oxford ring road on Friday night of a bank holiday, but then send a spec. lift truck that wasn't big enough to pick the front of the van up!
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

The RAC told me that it was obligatory to have the plonker in a van first. So did Green Flag (£69 a year). Sadly it's too late for goodwill as by their refusal to talk to me that's already gone out of the window. I have had cockups before, and usually by gritting your teeth and smiling you get a return such as a years free membership. OK,,,,I have both feet in the real world. But this one is as I say potentially criminal and my own conscience won't permit me, knowing what I know now, to allow Noddy to continue doing what he did on Sunday. He's doing it right now... as I said, could be YOUR wife and kids. Do you really want to gamble on that? Brave man. You know very well that one day, soon, you'll read in the paper that someone was killed on the hard shoulder or motorway. And you just might have been able to do something about it. Oh dear, too late.
I am not on Facebook but anyone who wants to, PLEASE spread the word. Thanks for the advice, I'll do Watchdog tomorrow.
I have had RAC 'mechanics' three times including the one just gone. In all three they appeared to be unskilled and way below standard. Yes, you are dealing with lots of different models and makes of car - but if you don't know about them, what are you doing signing up for that particular job?? I am going to try to level the playing field a bit.
As to why the overheating occurred, more of this shortly... investigation required.

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Tinkley »

Overheating. pretty simple really at least it should be.
1. enough coolant - distilled/antifreeze mix (50/50), NOT tap water especially in aluminium block and head engines. Check for leaks ie stone therough rad, and hoses as the rubber maybe is getting old and perished.
2. The Cooling circuit is Fuse No 4 on most BX.
3. Check fan blade turns ie not seized. Do not touch blade if the engine is hot as it can cut in remotely ie with the engine/ignition turned off.
4. Check thermostat by shorting it out of circuit, it should then run with ignition key turned.
5. Worst case is blocked radiator and/or sludge theroughout due to tap water being used in the past and not regular cleaning. In which case flush like hell and use clean coolant. If still bad a new rad may be required - but as I say worst case.

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by deltic »

On the rare occasions that I've required breakdown assistance in in a Citroen I always stress to them that they'll need to send a flat-bed recovery truck to start with because of the suspension. So far it's not been a problem.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Tim Leech »

Im with the RAC, was with the AA, you may remember the story about the Xantia manyyears ago when the cambelt tensioner gave out and the fat monkey subcontractor failed to notice the issue until he round the engine round enough to bend the valves thinking it was a fueling issue! he then left me in the rain to wait for a tow by which time £750 worth of damage was done. I complained and got £50 voucher and never went near them again.

My experience of RAC the only time I used them was good, very good. The SD1 fuel pump pick up failed and I had to be recovered home, the guy was enthusiastic car guy and there ins half an hour, helpful and towed me home after spending an hour tyring to diagnose the fault. He worked for the RAC though and wasnt a subcontractor, and rang me a few days later to see if I got it sorted which I had.

Also I get 50% off the premium being in the CCC, quite agree though Tim the service youre wife got was rubbish and I wouldnt let it drop.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

Well, I can't let it drop simply because of the possibly fatal results of the bogus diagnosis and the fact that Monkey is still out there. RAC's refusal to respond is simply an extra nuisance as I have better things to do with my time. The overheating - the car is well maintained and doesn't suffer from any of the issues on the above list but thanks for the thought. Like I said, more of this in another thread. My membership renewal has now been blocked by me.

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Way2go »

If you are feeling that strongly about it you may be able to bring a prosecution under the "Sale of Goods and Services Act (1982)". It would seem they didn't provide you with the service for which you entered a contract with them! [-X
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tim
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

Interesting! Thanks for that. I've renewed with Green Flag and told the RAC to go play on the motorway. What a set of tossers and what a way to treat a customer of 30 years. Remember, it could be you. I looked at Autoaid but their game is that you pay for your recovery yourself and they then pay you back. Er, no thanks, guys. Call me an old cynic. All that remains is for me tov name and shame the RAC as publically as possible. Any names to add to the above list, please post 'em up. I will post something as soon as I get a response.