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Customer Services
RAC House
Great Park Road
Bradley Stoke
Bristol
BS32 4QN




UK  Breakdown cover

Membership level
Roadside & Recovery at Home
Onward Travel
Personal Based

Complaint Date
MARCH 2008

I have been a loyal member of the RAC since 1992 and I have always found them to be efficient and helpful on the few occasions I called them out after a breakdown of the vehicle I had been driving at the time.

Every year I  get my invitation to renew my membership and every year for the last 16 years I sent of my cheque to continue my membership.

This year they sent me my reminder and quoted me a renewal fee of £ 213.00 which was up by 3.4%, in line with inflation and I nearly sent of my cheque again to renew it for another year.

Just before I did so I had a quick look at their website and noticed to my astonishment that they were quoting a membership fee for potential new members of £ 156.25. This was for the same level of membership which they now call Solution 4.

I dropped them a line and asked them how they can justify a 36% higher membership fee for loyal customers such as me and they came back to me with the following explanation which, as you can see, also included an extra month membership at no extra cost.

Thank you for your recent letter concerning your membership of RAC.
I appreciate your concerns with regard to the prices which are available to new members when joining through our website. These have been noted and forwarded to the relevant department.
The offer on our website is there as an incentive for new members to join. This offer is only available on joining and would not be available on subsequent renewals. By new members joining we are able to invest and improve the quality of the service, which we provide. We hope that the majority of people who join will
recognise the high quality of service, which we offer and continue with their membership because of this.
In addition, I have arranged for your membership for 2008-2009 to be extended by a month until 12 March 2009.
I hope this has clarified the situation and that you will continue your membership with RAC. Yours sincerely
Beth Khawbung
RAC Customer Services

 I still was not too happy about it and I left it to ponder over whether to renew it or not when I had a phone call from their Customer Services Department reminding me that I had not renewed my membership.

I took this opportunity to have another moan about a 36% higher fee for existing members and, without much hesitation or prompting, the young lady on the other end offered to renew my membership at the same price as they had quoted on their website for new customers.

I saved myself £ 56.75 and I accepted as I was and have always been quite happy with their service but please note that this was only possible because I had never signed a Direct Debit Agreement or a continuous Credit Card Agreement.

Editors Comment
Please take note you members of the RAC, AA or any other Organisation where you pay a membership fee.
Don't just write out a cheque or pay by Credit/Debit Card, have a look at their website and/or at other Service Providers and see what they charge and question it if you find the same Service cheaper elsewhere.
As you can see, it definitely pays to shop around and compare the prices and don't forget, that if you sign a Direct Debit Agreement or a continuous Credit/Debit Card agreement they will just help themselves to your money and once they got it you might have a struggle to get it back.

The problem with annual membership agreements does not only apply to Motoring Organisations, it also applies to
Service Agreements
as offered by
 British Gas
Home Serve
or Car Insurances
 to name just a few.
Shop around and don't hesitate to change if you can find it cheaper elsewhere
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