For the past eight years our ultra-reliable delivery van – kindly donated by the Steve Morgan Foundation – has done us proud.
But even the best cared for vehicles can, and do, breakdown occasionally.
That’s what happened this time – the clutch suddenly “went” in the middle of Liverpool, making the vehicle undriveable.
Being a small charity, we have to plan for everything – including, of course, taking out full breakdown recovery service with the AA,.
This was meant to guarantee prompt assistance with the added bonus of having the vehicle, when not driveable, recovered to our local garage.
We called the AA for assistance at 1pm on Tuesday, September 5. After repeated broken promises – including a “possible 9pm” slot – we were finally guaranteed a 10-11am appointment the following morning.
At 3pm, the patrol finally arrived.
However, instead of a getting a friendly helping hand, we were told we were not covered and that we would have to sort the problem ourselves.
It took us another 24 hours to arrange a different recovery service to transport the van back to our local garage.
In all, the incident cost us £310, made up of the recovery fee, drivers’ time, and transport costs.
Eight weeks after complaining, we received a full apology – but a promise of just £90 compensation.
The apology letter said: “An unprecedented demand meant we were unable to provide service as quickly as we would have liked. The overall service, communication and the delays caused were unacceptable.
“Your membership is a vehicle-based policy. This means anyone driving that vehicle is eligible for breakdown assistance.
“When the patrol attended, he should have provided breakdown assistance. I deeply apologise that this was not the case. I understand this caused you huge inconvenience and distress.
“By way of an apology for the overall delays and inconvenience caused, I have requested a cheque of £90 to be issued to you as compensation.”
The AA also said in future we should have breakdown cover for business and commercial use, even though our activities are completely charitable.
We accept the apology, but have asked to be fully compensated.