Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review.... The RAC

My car broke down on me on Saturday.... I hate cars...

I was sat in traffic on a boiling hot day and I went to pull away from the traffic lights and had absolutely no power. My car was doing about 5 mph... great... it's gone into limp mode...

I crept along the road and into an industrial estate where I was off the main road and safe. I was in Plymouth so nowhere near home.

First port of call.... ring Daddy...
He was busy... great...

I have been a member of the RAC for about 5 years (since I've owned this car) and have used them several times. I'm on first name terms with them...

I rang them and was on hold for about 15 minutes before they answered...... could have been worse I suppose...
I told them what was wrong and where I was etc and they told me it would be about 1 - 1.5hrs until they could get to me.... They usually tell you this so I always hope they'll get there quickly.

The first time I had to use them was when I used to work in Plymouth. I'd managed to get my car to work so rang them in the afternoon so I could get home.
They answered immediately, the mechanic was there within 30 minutes and the recovery lorry was about 30 minutes after that and I was on my way! Seriously impressed with the service!

Sadly, since then, the service hasn't been quite so good!
I can't fault their staff. The call centre are always lovely, the mechanics are lovely and the recovery lorry drivers are lovely.

The length of time I have had to wait has really tarnished things for me.

The last time I broke down was last winter. I was 10 miles from home, it was absolutely freezing, pitch dark and my alternator had gone which is the bit that charges the battery. I had no lights, no power and very limited steering. 
I rang them and told them it was the alternator and then had to wait around 2 hours until a mechanic arrived. He tapped the alternator with a hammer and told me my alternator was dead. I KNOW!! The car told me and I already knew it was on its way out!
He then had to arrange for a lorry to collect me and it was another 2 hours before that turned up as they'd sent it all the way from the depths of Cornwall. 70 miles away! What a joke!
I was so cold, a female on my own, on a pitch black country road. Not impressed!

This time, having been told it would be 1-1.5 hours wait for a mechanic, I then got a call after the 1.5hrs had gone to tell me it was going to be another 2 hours until they could get to me. That's just to diagnose my car... what if I needed a lorry home again?! 
At this point I was in tears on the verge. A boiling hot day, needing to get home to my animals and it was just tears of pure frustration because I couldn't do anything about the situation.

I got on twitter and ended up in touch with their customer care centre.
They seemed to be concerned and tried to find out what was going on.
In the end I spoke to them again on the phone and told them I needed to get home for some medication (slight lie... but I was desperate) and funnily enough an orange van appeared within 15 minutes!

He plugged his computer in, cleared the error messages and I was on my way within 10 minutes. 4 hours from breaking down to getting home - not very impressed!

I must mention here that one of my best friends dropped everything and drove 30 miles out to rescue me. We were going to just go and have a coffee or something but she arrived at the same time as the RAC man. She followed me home and we sat in the garden for a bit.
She's a great friend and I'm very lucky to have her in my life.

Apologies for the massive rant! I hate cars....

In conclusion.... 2.5 out of 5.....

Their customer service is great but the waiting times are much too long. I know they prioritise people but if you tell me one time, stick to it! I am a reasonable person and although 1.5 hours is annoying, it's bearable. 4 hours is not acceptable.

I will be shopping around at renewal time and see if I can get a company that will guarantee they can get someone to me within 1.5 hours or better.

And I'll also be looking for a new car....


1 comment:

  1. Oh dear, poor you! I found the AA were very good when we were with them; I'm now with err, Green Flag I think? Whoever it is that comes free with Direct Line insurance and they seem to be okay. It's not much fun waiting around in extreme conditions, is it? The last time I broke down it started unexpectedly snowing!