Friday, June 2, 2023

RAC was supposed to get my broken-down car home. But it’s lost it

I am in a really bizarre situation. Having recovered my broken-down car, the RAC has effectively lost it and, 16 days on, has no idea where it is.

In April, while in Devon, the clutch went on my Honda. Having been a member for about 20 years, I called the RAC. It said it could not be fixed at the roadside. I asked for the car to be taken to my home and was told it would take three days. That was the last time I saw it.

It is now 16 days later and no one can tell me where my car is. All it says is that it should have arrived 3-5 days after the breakdown.

In the end I reported it stolen, to police, and my insurer. The latter has provided me with a hire car, so at least I am back on the road. I can’t quite believe this is happening.

A decade ago we generally received more letters praising the RAC than complaints, but it is very much the opposite these days.

The day before I took up your case, the car was mysteriously delivered back without any explanation. However, you soon realised the rear window wasn’t the original, and that its de-mist function didn’t work.

It appears the third-party recovery operator, contracted by the RAC to deliver the car, somehow managed to smash the window, and the delay had been caused by the time it took to source a replacement.

Had the RAC/its contractor come clean at the start, it would have saved you a huge amount of hassle – and expense. Now you have told your insurer that the vehicle has been found, it has decided you were not entitled to its courtesy car and will bill you for its supply.

As a result of my intervention, the RAC has agreed to send someone to repair the de-mist function. It has also apologised and agreed to reimburse your car hire costs. It still hasn’t offered an explanation. “This wasn’t handled by our contractor in the way it should have been and falls far below the standard we expect from our partners, which we’ve addressed with them directly,” it says. Bizarre indeed.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions

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