We had a breakdown of trust with the RAC after it left us stranded at the side of a busy road for eight hours at night ASK TONY

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Our car broke down on July 26 when my wife and I were on our way home with friends.

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While negotiating the busy Canford Bottom roundabout on the A31 there was an explosion and I was unable to move the car.

We pushed it into the outer lane and I called RAC just before 8 pm. For hours I was told it was exceptionally busy and promised an update in 30 minutes. At 12.23 I was told that our matter would be taken forward.


The police showed up in the evening and returned at 3 a.m. – they couldn’t believe we were still there.

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Stranded: It took AA over 8 hours to reach an elderly couple after their car broke down on busy A31 at night

They helped us move the car to a safe place and took us to a friend’s house. Our friends then sent us home to Bournemouth.

As we walked through the door at 3.40 a.m., a breakdown driver called, so we went out to get the car keys to him again.

He told us that he was available for the last five hours, but recently he had received a request from RAC.

AG, Bournemouth, Dorset.

Tony Hazel replies: what a nightmare! It must have been especially agonizing to learn that your exam could have been cut by five hours and you’d be lying in bed by midnight.

This was during the pandemic when staff absenteeism would have been high in RAC.

But you had a terrible experience, and its compensation offer was pathetic — a 50 percent renewal discount. You were a longtime customer who was badly disappointed.

I pointed it out to the RAC and then you received an appropriately raucous apology: ‘After all, we should have been present as soon as we could and had called when we said we would. There is no excuse for how long you waited.’

You were given 15 months free breakdown cover, which you gladly accepted.

RAC told me: ‘The impact of the unprecedented UK stay-at-home visit, with many employees self-isolating, put extreme pressure on all breakdown service providers, meaning a small number of customers had to wait longer than usual .

‘We are glad that Mr.ji has accepted our gesture of goodwill.’

A broken gas meter turned into a customer's supply increased his bills by hundreds

A broken gas meter turned into a customer’s supply increased his bills by hundreds

A broken gas meter added £800 to the bill. increased by

On May 29 our gas boiler stopped working. A central heating engineer traced the problem to an outdoor gas meter, which had somehow shut off the gas supply.

Our supplier, Utility Warehouse, said the meter was irreparable and arranged to replace it the following week. We turned off the boiler so that no gas could enter our house.

My husband took 15 meter readings over the next three days and the reading increased from 15,610 to 16,094.

We told the engineer who changed the meter, but he did not tell this to the firm. Our bills were rising rapidly so we reported the defect to the utility warehouse.

The provider said our next bill would be adjusted, but we were charged £800 for July.

This meant that our debt had increased from £300.19 to £1,328.91 between April and July. The utility warehouse has closed our complaint and told us to wait until January to see what use we have on the new meter.

We’ve been with the firm for three years, so why can’t it look at our previous readings?

BC, Watton, Norfolk.

Tony Hazel replies: The increase in gas usage in summer should sound alarm bells. I’m surprised no leaks were discovered.

You are both in your 80s and were scared to use gas due to rising bills. This is no way to deal with potentially vulnerable customers.

You paid £1,109.08 from February to August 2020, but you were charged £1,592.78 for the same period this year.

Your old meter was bad, but how long has it been running bad? After I was contacted, Utility Warehouse recalculated your bills with previous usage details, resulting in a credit of £1,068.67.

This makes your account free from any debt. It has also apologized and made a goodwill payment of £75. You are very happy with this result.

A former employee of AA joined a share savings plan, but is now told has no clue

A former employee of AA joined a share savings plan, but is now told has no clue

What Happened to My AA Employee Savings?

I joined AA as an employee in a three year share savings plan. I left the company in 2003, moved to live in France and forgot about it.

I have now returned to the UK. I wrote to AA, Centrica (which has AA) and share service Equiniti. I have been told that the account has no address.

PW, Evesham, Works.

Tony Hazel replies: Equity has searched Microfish Records.

It says you have left the AA Employee Share Plan and cashed a £900 check. You might not remember doing this, but it’s easy to forget something from almost two decades ago.

You have contacted your bank, but it has told you that it can only go back through your transfer up to three years ago.

Isn’t it good to know that in the age of computerization, banks are claiming their records to be dismal?

I say ‘claim’ because I don’t believe what your bank told you, although whether or not it could go as far as 2003 is another matter.


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