10 July 2012

AA Gold member benefits, the real cost

Breakdown cover maths

So, I'm getting rather fed up with the AA taking the michael every year with their renewals. Yes, I gather the RAC are just as bad but I think they need to realise their customers aren't stupid, know exactly what they are playing at, and can do the maths.

I want to highlight what I think is a particularly dirty trick, making something look like a free perk when it's anything but.

So here's some numbers:

This is for a single car policy covering Roadside, Home Start and Relay starting July 2012 paying annually for a year up front. (The monthly option is 10% more expensive, go figure). Numbers rounded to pounds.

  • Renewal through the post: £135
  • Matching RAC cover (checked online & by phone): £101
  • AA online price for new customers: £92  - (so much for 6 years loyalty, a £43 kick in the teeth)
  • AA phone price: £116
  • AA phone price without gold membership "benefits": £89

That means, the AA are pricing their gold benefits at £27 even though they look like they are free on the renewal letter! Some cheek.

I queried the details of this so called benefit and established the following:
  • "Accident Management" - means being towed by the AA after an accident (something you may be covered for under your car insurance policy)
  • European Breakdown Cover - only useful if you are going abroad (obviously), did you really want to be paying for it?
  • "Family Associates Cover for under 17s" - something about teenagers, I don't have any so not very useful to me
  • Key Insurance - this could be valuable, but £27/year sounds like very expensive insurance to me even though they are expensive items to replace.
  • Legal Advice - Included as standard! So not a gold benefit at all. Weasels.
  • Technical Advice - Included as standard! See above. Still weasels.

So it turns out that the supposed discount of £44.90 on the posted renewal was actually a £46 insult to my intelligence.

I'm no money saving expert, but that's outrageous.

Configuration confusion in visual studio

Here's a gotcha that got me.

It is not immediately obvious, but visual studio stores in it's sln file a set of project configuration selections for every combination of solution configuration and solution platform.

The gotcha is that by default Visual Studio (all versions 2008-2012 as far as I know) only show one half of that combination in the standard toolbar, so you can get in a situation where one of your developers is building something completely different to everyone else as somehow the platform has silently been changed.

I recommend you add Platform to your toolbar so that you can always see what you are about to build.

And if possible, remove any unused platform configurations from your solution entirely.