We had a message from a Member, Barry, last week.
He described how a family Member was left stranded when the AA refused service because their vehicle was un taxed…
Barry went on to explain why it wasn’t taxed. However, personally, I think this is irrelevant.
Of course you’d expect the people who claim you “owe” them road tax to try to bully you in to paying.
…But a private company you’re voluntarily paying to provide a service?
Barry had this to say:
I just had to write to you about something that happened to one of my family members on Friday.
He had a breakdown on his car and phoned the AA for help, but they refused to come to his aid saying that his car was untaxed!
In honesty, when he later checked he found that the tax was due last month but he was sure that it was taxed. Apparently something had gone wrong when he had paid online, but he had never been told this!
I had a similar thing happen to me last year, so I know that this is possible.
However, what I am shocked and appalled about is the fact that the AA seem to now be part of the traffic police in getting involved in these checks and furthermore that they have the right to not provide the service that they are contracted to do for a fully paid up member because of something that is absolutely nothing to do with them!
Surely a polite reminder to the member about tax, insurance or MOT would be most beneficial in case of honest mistakes but to leave a motorist with a broken down car anywhere is absurd if they have paid for their service!
I am not aware of this happening to anyone else at any time, or if other breakdown companies do this as well, but I think it is in the interest of your readers to let them know and certainly be warned about the AA staff doubling up as traffic cops now.
I will certainly not be using the AA myself in future, that’s for sure!”
We contacted the AA about the case and they had this to say:
“AA terms and conditions clearly state that a vehicle must be taxed for us to attend. However, If one of our members contacts us to report a breakdown on an untaxed vehicle, we do all we can to help by giving them the opportunity to tax the vehicle and ask them to call back for service once the vehicle shows as being taxed on the DVLA website. If we think that our member is in a vulnerable position, we will do our best to get them to a safe location and give them the opportunity to tax the vehicle online.
“If our member chooses not to tax the vehicle, we can offer them a separate ‘pay-for-use’ option. This means that we can still rescue our members from the roadside but means the vehicle would need to be recovered with the wheels fully off the ground to comply with current road laws, as per standard recovery industry practice .”
Essentially this option is a “wheels off the ground” recovery, which the AA *charge* for, even though – to my mind at least – they’ve already been paid by the Member via their Membership fee!
And I love it when a company says “our T&C’s clearly state”…
My response is always “how many of your customers do you think knew that when they signed up?”.
Sadly, it seems as though the AA’s first “duty” is to the government rather than to their Customers…
We’ve contacted both the RAC and Green Flag on behalf of Members to ask if they have the same policy or not, however, we’ve yet to receive a reply.
If they don’t have the same policy, I’ll be recommending Members who are with the AA switch to a rival who has sounder business ethics.
I’d be interested to hear your views on this story in the comments section here:
All the best,