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.


CDF off road said...

just had my renewal £235. I checked the RAC online for the same cover £105. I phoned the AA and was told the computer had made an error. It hadn't taken off my 21 years loyalty discount and free home start. They got it down to £120 i said i was going to the RAC and they matched the price.

Anonymous said...

I have just had my renewal today with congratulations you are now a Gold member! For Roadside, Relay and Joint cover membership this has now jumped upto £16o.85. Every time I ring the A.A. to query it, I get a recorded message saying due to the high number of calls they cannot speak to me and the line goes dead. Timeto go to RAC Green Flag?

Brad said...

Renewal notice £180 after 44 years with the AA. Same cover with RAC, £111. Phoned AA, and after a bit of bluster and spin from the fellow he then reduced to £110.
I nearly didn't acept. I dont like being treated like this. Next year I'm going to move to the RAC.

Anonymous said...

same for me ive been making so much money i dont notice the direct debits but today i read through bank statement and noticed its at 145 for roadside and relay
then went to gold members on aa and for all the extra member benefits you have to register for them seperatly i dont see the point and want to cancel the aa
like you i feel ive just been insulted for my loyalty

John Pierpoint said...

Having been through a similar experience myself on the last 2 renewals ("discounted" renewal costing more than a web or phone one), I was concerned about your comment about the Gold membership not being free after all (especially as it was set up by the AA without my consent). So I phoned the AA again to ask them about it, and was told that the Gold membership is definitely NO ADDITIONAL COST.
Similarly, they told me that the legal and technical advice lines are NOT available to non-Gold or non-Silver members.

Actually, my original worry was that if I activated the key insurance, it would be free for that year, but then chareable in subsequent years (especially as they insist that you confirm that you've been advised to read the T&Cs, but they only send the full T&Cs after you activate - dodgy!).
Anyway, I was assured that this would not be the case: the service would remain free in subsequent years.
So, I'm still not terribly pleased with the way AA conduct their business, but some of the claims in your blog article appear to be incorrect.

kenny mc said...

looking for prompt legal advice i called the 24 hour helpline at 6.30 am to be told by recorded message that the lines were very busy and that i was in a queue this was repeated over and over.After 10 minutes the phone went dead.I am a gold star member so to the aa thanks for nothing

Anonymous said...

Just renewed AA cover. The quote was £142.08, phoned and spoke to advisor after seeing online new members quote for the same cover would be £104.99. Said I felt penalised for being with them for 13yrs, and was thinking of going to RAC. They matched the online price, so paid £104.99. It certainly pays to query it but I still feel a bit annoyed at being taken for a mug.