Newest Review: ... in a dark remote part of Scotland!) I phoned the AA, after some annoying automated menu's the phone rang, and rang, and rang - I waited 3... more
Are they still very, very nice men?
The AA Breakdown Cover
Member Name: sagat
The AA Breakdown Cover
Advantages: Speedy recovery and diagnosis, helpful repairman
Disadvantages: Cannot spread the initial payment with direct debit
So I am driving along quite happily with the missus, two kids (two and four years old), two dogs (one fat beagle and one loopy collie) and my Focus starts to make a strange rattling noise. Being the practicle modern man that I am, I stop the car, get out, walk around the car aimlessly, kick the tyres, look underneath and proclaim myself bamboozled.
So we set off again, and this time, every so often, the back left tyre pulls me across the road, making the car drag. As we are eighteen miles from home, I am understandably concerned, find a safe place to pull over and check it all over again.
Once again, my highly technical check over fails to find any faults. Having young children in the car, we decide the best course of action is to call out a professional to work out what is going on.
A call to the AA connects pretty much straight away (which is nice as I am ringing an 0870 number off a mobile). The operator was friendly and polite, taking all the information regarding my car and the problem. I am informed that there are patrols in the local area and a repairman will be with me within an hour. For the service, I am charged £116.99 which is the cost of an agent coming to me, looking over the fault, fixing it if possible, or towing us to a local garage (as it is a Sunday afternoon, this would not have been much use)
Its nice day, with the sun shining, so it could be a lot worse. We take the kids and stroll to the local Esso garage (which refuses to heat up my sausage roll for health and safety reasons! They also charge over ten quid for a couple of sarnies, drinks and a pack of Haribo- absolute robbery!)
About half hour later, we walk back to the car to wait for the van to arrive. About fifteen minutes before the due time, I am sent a text advising me the repairman is on his way and should be with us on time, which is a nice touch.
Upon arriving, the repairman was extremely friendly and quickly diagnosed the problem- a knackered bearing on the rear wheel. Unfortunately he cannot fix it there and goes off to see if he can tow us home. He informs us that as we are over ten miles from home, the level of cover we bought will not take us that far. For that pleasure, we have to pay an extra £55. As there is not much we can do, we pay this charge. The repairman made a call and informed us that it would take up to two hours for the recovery vehicle to arrive. He was very apologetic about this, but there was nothing we could do.
Luckily the missus made a call to her parents who were able to come and pick her and the nippers up whlst I waited with the car. I asked the repairman if we were able to leave my car unattended and have them just pick it up, and he said that if someone could pick us up within half hour, then he could tow the car himself. Under his company insurance, he could only tow a vehicle if it had up to two people in it.
Obvously, this worked out far better for us, and within an hour we were home. The repairman hooked the car up to the van very quickly and we had a good waffle on the way home. What I found best about his service was that he discovered the problem extremely quickly and was explained it clearly and concisely without ever being condescending about my lack of knowledge.
Although it was a fair cost to have it sorted out (plus about £90 at my end to have the bearing repaired), it does then include cover for a year on the vehicle. In total it works out about £3 a week to have the UK cover. It is cover that I should have purchased a fair while back (it is cheaper to sign up before the service is needed, he said it would probably be about £90 next year to renew), and it is worth having especially if you have young kids. It is good to have that peace of mind that if the worst happens, you have some back up there.
The only downside was that I had to pay for a whole years cover upfront, instead of being able to spread it a bit with a direct debit, but that is understandable as I was making a claim straight away.
Summary: An excellent service
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