RAC - a joke wearing thin??

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Mothman »

Next time you are round here Tim, ile open up my f/b for you re the RAC and you can type away merrily.

Andy

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

Predictably, the RAC is keeping its head down. I have now talked to the FOS and they can start a complaint which I've agreed they should do....oh dear oh dear, what a sad, silly waste of space you RAC people are. On the flip side, it seems that clowns like this hold most of the cards as they have to break the law bigtime to be even smacked on the wrist. And they know it. However, we spread the word. This weekend - facebook! I shall also try Watchdog.
One thing you guys might help with. I originally said that the monkey gave my wife a simple choice between driving the car on the M-way and staying on the hard shoulder to rot. (I have the word 'recovery' on my card so this may come back to smack the RAC in the head?). The RAC office confirmed that he had the final say in the matter. Now I have since been told that this is both legally and morally a load of bollocks. Which is right? One of you knows and can tell me, PM if you prefer.

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Thread Bear »

Not sure what you are saying is illegal.

Its not legal to park on the hard shoulder of a motorway. It is for breakdown, emergency avoidance and use when directed onto it by the Police. So when in convoy, it is technically not allowed for additional cars to stop and help one that has malfunctioned. In practice one car might get away with it, especially if you have your handy warning triangle. However you could find yourself moved on. The Police, of course, want a quick easy clearance of a potential problem. So if its clear progress is being made, they are normally pretty cool about this. Buy the same token it is not for the Police to clear the hard shoulder, but they can often go a long way beyond what they should do to help. Again it makes their lives easier. After all they get to clear the mess up if it all goes horribly wrong.
Normally the Police will assess the car and its position. If its duff is a rescue wagon coming? If not, or its taking to long, they will call their own blood wagon, at your expense. So far I have always found Plod to be pretty helpful on the hard shoulder, save when I had a blow out on a trailer which dragged my pick up across two lines just prior to the northbound M3 junction on the M25 and onto the hard shoulder at about 3 am. I think they thought I had fallen asleep or something actually, as they changed attitude when they realized the missing mudguard had been blow off by the tyre! The told me where I could get a coffee at that time to get over the shock of nearly crashing and escorted me off the motorway after I put the spare on. But having all I needed to achieve the task bought them on side.
Now the Police might well have directed your wife to attempt to drive to the next junction, or place of safety. If so they normally follow you. They want you out of danger, balls to minor damage to the cars mechanics. I have seen rescue vans do this to, but I think they are not allowed to progress on the hard shoulder as the Police can. However the rescue rules of engagement are not clear to me. For instance you are not allowed to tow on the motorway. However I have with Police watching. However this might be the Police using best judgment. If so then the rescue van cannot do this as they risk serious crap if something goes wrong. That leaves the little van to fix the car or leave it for the blood wagon.
The assumption here is he could not fix the car/did not know how to fix the car. I do not think the RAC promise to be able to fix cars. So this is where I get lost. If he has not fixed the car its a drive off or rescue. The only answer to no rescue is that he has judged the car can make it off the motorway under its own power. That might mean rescue once off the motorway, but that is safer for all persons. I have taken overheating cars out of traffic by gentle speed with the heater on many times. If there is not the water to have the heater going then you know your in trouble. But the van would have water on it. Of course if you have a heater that does not work on a BX that is a huge own goal. It is your back up system without a temperature gauge/level gauge of any discernible use. If that red light of death comes on get that heater going. So with water and heater the car should have been able to make it off the motorway. I have had to do this myself, I carry at least 2 lt of water back up and if both washer bots are full there is some more to scavenge.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

I am still not sure who's right! The police never even showed up and weren't interested in the subject afterwards. I can only repeat that if the fault is not diagnosed then it continues to exist and to force someone to then drive said vehicle on a busy M-way is little short of mental derangement. If your engine is cooking up and you have paid for RECOVERY then that is what you are entitled to.
The monkey in question surely cannot overrule the office staff. If so then he can actually tell the Company Director himself what to do. In my world, which seems fairly real to me, employees do what they are told; if the monkey doesn't like the tune he finds another organ grinder. Also, this kind of pissing about is not in the small print as far as I know. So I feel that if you started at the top and worked down, you would definitely find some guys on a good wedge who would laugh politely at the suggestion that the monkey tells them which tunes to play. So somewhere down the track there's a fault line where this changes, and I suspect the fault line at least has a name. And an address? Sorry to keep on about this but due to the weather I missed going on the Herald of Free Enterprise on its last trip - they had the odd monkey too, I remember, and we know how that turned out.

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

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tim wrote:I am still not sure who's right! The police never even showed up and weren't interested in the subject afterwards.

The Police will not be interested as no incident or crime occurred. If they were not contacted then no patrol deviated to attend. Some of that motorway is on CCTV. But that still does not mean they will react.

I can only repeat that if the fault is not diagnosed then it continues to exist and to force someone to then drive said vehicle on a busy M-way is little short of mental derangement. If your engine is cooking up and you have paid for RECOVERY then that is what you are entitled to.

I do not think that your contract guarantees recovery on demand. It will probably gobbledygook to the effect that a mobile representative will attend to assess the situation. That is certainly what happened. Clearly, therefore, the office dispatcher is sending the representative to access, he reports his conclusions, the dispatcher then organises the reaction accordingly. One might be a mechanic, the other certainly is not. Equally clearly there will be a management structure at dispatch to a level where the management on hand can turn around and send out a recovery truck irrespective of the representatives report.
To add confusion there are differing levels of cover. It will all be in the wording of the contract.
As to the rights and wrongs with the resulting decisions with this car on this occasion its very hard to say without being there quite what options were available at what odds of risk for all parties involved, including the RAC representative. They do not get paid to risk their life but to procure the best way of dealing with a contractual commitment of their employer that they are sent too. A completely differing set of circumstances to the emergency services, who have no contract, but are charged to attempt to provide best protection to all for the State. That could certainly include overheating your car to get it out of the way in extremis.


The monkey in question surely cannot overrule the office staff. If so then he can actually tell the Company Director himself what to do. In my world, which seems fairly real to me, employees do what they are told; if the monkey doesn't like the tune he finds another organ grinder. Also, this kind of pissing about is not in the small print as far as I know. So I feel that if you started at the top and worked down, you would definitely find some guys on a good wedge who would laugh politely at the suggestion that the monkey tells them which tunes to play. So somewhere down the track there's a fault line where this changes, and I suspect the fault line at least has a name. And an address? Sorry to keep on about this but due to the weather I missed going on the Herald of Free Enterprise on its last trip - they had the odd monkey too, I remember, and we know how that turned out.

Indeed complaints into a named upper mid manager are most likely to bare fruit, failing a good case to go in at the top. But this is going to come down to what the did which falls outside a reasonable response to the contract they had with you. If Simon was pissed, rude or you can prove he was incompetent then there is a much greater chance of a serious reaction as there is a clear hook to hang a hat on.
Meanwhile I am now threatened with court action over a debt for an address I do not own. THis rather than them answering my request to prove my ownership by selling/giving me the address so I can add it to me Land Registry and deeds. You cannot believe the plain stupidity of these corporations/departments when something goes wrong. Their defense is to issue threats to try and force you into compliance. I think its the only negotiations some of these outfits understand now. So I have to waste my time and money making an official look a twat in court. No one wins
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

All I can say is that I was 'there' on the phone and the 'options' offered were as I clearly described, drive the car on the motorway or stay there and rot. I haven't been arsed to read the small print as it was already too late; all I know is that if a written promise turns out to be bullshit then you want to be very careful where this leads you..... in this case, probably a court appearance, followed by some embarrassing publicity.
Obviously recovery 'on demand' is not realistic (I have drunk too much, I can't afford any more fuel, etc) but a straightforward breakdown IS. And for all the H&S stuff, the facts are simple; if the motorway is 'too dangerous' to be on, then it needs to be in the small print in BIG letters saying that if you break down on the M-way you are on your own. My wife was 'in danger' for the two hours the RAC played silly buggers and there isn't even any steel barrier to stand behind.
As a matter of fact as someone who lives in the country I can tell you that small country lanes are a lot more dangerous. In any event, if little muppet is too scared to spend ten minutes calling a recovery vehicle he should be given a broom and told to sweep the yard (where, strangely enough, people get run over as well). I truly dislike people who draw a good wage for a job, pocket it, then refuse to do what they have been paid to do. This clown can either lie about what he did and what he said or be honest. Or his bosses do the job for him.
I would, incidentally, politely disagree with your use of the word .assessment', TB. If what matey did was an 'assessment' then two walls and no roof make a house. The car overheated and he did nothing to 'assess' the problem at all. Apart from waffle and mild bullying.

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Way2go »

It would seem though, your car had not technically broken down yet incapacitating it's movement just that a warning light had come on. Although this suggests attention is needed, provided that the water level was ok it could move under its own motive power to a nearby place of greater safety at least.

In BX circles and on this forum there is paranoia over red lights but there are occasions where it is neccesary to sensibly proceed beyond them with caution and I have encountered such instances.

Only you can decide how far you are prepared to take this complaint but it may have been appropriate to drive off the motorway and be fully assessed/recovered from a nearby place of greater safety so long as your water level was OK and therefore you were not in imminent danger of seizing up.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

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'Assessment', got to call it something, but indeed so.

My assessment of a good minority of people I come across who get paid is they are totally incompetent! I am lucky to be reasonably well educated, intelligent and blessed with quite a few skills. So I find I end up doing their jobs for them despite not being 'trained' in the procedure in question. This currant farce is a classic. How and why should I pay a bill belonging to an address next door to me? Current answer is because the previous owners Solicitor gave the tax office the wrong information after litigation to get the previous owner to pay the feckin bill. The day of court action the taxman backed out, so they have yet to prove bud is not the current owner, and decided to hassle me instead. Yet either the address does not exist, or there will be a valid record on Land Registry of the current owner, who is not me. Why is someone else's Solicitor the fount of all correct knowledge. Answer, because its easier to issue threats than to do you job properly. Well I am about to make this little fools life really unpleasant, as I do not think he can hide from his complete incompetence. Yet will I get any recompense for the time, stress and expense of sorting this out. Of course not!

Then people ask me why I no longer run a company, or work for a living. Because its next to impossible due to all these idiots wasting your time on simple things, unless you charge your clients £400 an hour like a Solicitor - who is responsible for the current waste of my time.
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Homer - 19 TXD E, Red, 189k miles - £250
Gary - 17 TZD Turbo E, 118k miles - in work

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Defender110 »

Way2go wrote:It would seem though, your car had not technically broken down yet incapacitating it's movement just that a warning light had come on. Although this suggests attention is needed, provided that the water level was ok it could move under its own motive power to a nearby place of greater safety at least.

In BX circles and on this forum there is paranoia over red lights but there are occasions where it is neccesary to sensibly proceed beyond them with caution and I have encountered such instances.

Only you can decide how far you are prepared to take this complaint but it may have been appropriate to drive off the motorway and be fully assessed/recovered from a nearby place of greater safety so long as your water level was OK and therefore you were not in imminent danger of seizing up.

O yes, ..that_ Way to go.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

Hmm. We've suddenly strayed into whether or not the red light was a 'valid' breakdown or not. More than the RAC have. I suspect that they are hiding in their little tin bunker because they know they are in the wrong. After all, if you think you are right you stand by it, not run and cringe behind the nearest wall.
However, opinions on this are welcome, and I will look into the handbook and professional opinion asap; if the handbook and three or four professional mechanics are clear that this was the right thing to do, then the RAC can f... off and die should they bring the subject up.
The reason I paid the RAC for Recovery was so that, in the event of red lights, green lights, uninvited puddles etc., we wouldn't have to risk writing off the car for the sake of a guess that proved wrong.

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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by mat_fenwick »

There seems to be several issues here - the delay, the apparent attitude of the driver, and the refusal to recover the vehicle.

Leaving aside the first two, the question of "What was the right thing to do?" depends on the full circumstances so you're having to challenge a judgement made by the driver at the time which is difficult to prove. IF he had correctly diagnosed (not just guessed) that the fan wasn't working, even of the root cause had not been established, then providing that there was sufficient water and traffic conditions had improved, then I too would have suggested to my wife to drive on.
With the problem being that the fan wasn't working, overheating would not occur when moving at reasonable speeds. IF it happened again in traffic and IF the light was ignored, IF it subsequently seized then there would be little danger with everyone being stationary. In either case, I would prefer her to be moving rather than spending any longer than necessary stationary on the hard shoulder.
As for what the manual says, I'm not sure from the first post whether it was the orange or red light which came on. If the former, the recommendation is to drive at reduced speed to a dealer, the latter to stop as soon as possible.

If I'd been the patrolman, ideally I would have rigged up a permanent feed to the fan but failing that suggested to drive with the heater on full if traffic was encountered. Hopefully without any attitude problems, which I suspect made the refusal to recover the vehicle more of an issue.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by tim »

What we had was the red light. NO diagnosis was made. I can't repeat this often enough, it seems. If the car is overheating then it is doing so for a reason, and until the reason is professionally diagnosed, to drive it on a motorway is, I repeat, suicidal. There was no fluid loss anywhere, therefore something else had failed. Fan? Pump? Thermostat? Oil pump? This is why we paid the RAC for Recovery - to get the car home.
As it worked out, the car DID get home because by the time she had been seen it was past 8 pm and the heavy traffic had subsided. And because it turns out that the 12v feed to the fan had died within the existing loom and needed to be traced and reconnected rather than something truly terminal, the increased speed was enough to keep the car happy. But the 'mechanic' did not know this. He took a guess presumably intended to make his life easier and forced a very unhappy wife who thought she had a very unhappy car to drive in now fast-moving traffic on a motorway that features on traffic reports every day.
I'll have a look at the handbook this pm, just got back from work. In the end we will have to go with what the manufacturer said plus unbiased professional opinion. The RAC still haven't replied but they will have to at some point. If the wife was correct to pull over immediately and stop then chummy was terminally incorrect to overrule her on a whim.
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Way2go »

As the RAC on their website claim that 4 out of 5 cars are fixed at the roadside, you could enquire as to what this particular mechanics score is compared to the norm. :wink:

But surely, divine inspiration or not, the advice given was correct relating to the particular problem encountered? The fan was not essential once you were able to maintain a reasonable road speed outside of rush hour traffic. :|
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Re: RAC - a joke wearing thin??

Post by Tinkley »

I would say if the red light comes on, you are better off stopping and letting the car cool down. Once coolish it is safe to continue as long as water level is OK and the lights not on (amber or red). the flow of air through the rad is enough if the water pump is working OK.

I have had this a couple of times prior to diagnosing the multiple system faults outlined previously. I have not had any subsequent problems, ie burning out the liner O rings.. NB that the hottest a vehicle gets is in near stationary traffic on a warm day with no wind. Once moving a BX petrol will hardly use the fan at all even in UK warm weather unless it is a brand new recon engine and super tight. I'd surmise the diesels are similar. they are after all built for ambients in excess of 50 degrees C such as you find in Italy, or Oz.