Thursday, 7 August 2014

How the AA can take money you don't want them to take

Like many concerned parents, when my daughter started driving, I took out breakdown cover with the UK's biggest, and usually trusted provider the AA. I did so with my credit card. As renewal comes close, I decided to go with a different supplier (at 1/3 the cost).

About a month before the start of the new cover, I got a letter from the AA telling me that 'relax, you don't have to do anything' and 'as you pay by continuous annual payment, all you have to do is check your details.' Now I wasn't happy with this - I didn't set up a continuous payment and had no documentation to say that I had. But what really shocked me is that nowhere on the letter - and I have examined it very closely - does it say how to cancel that payment.

I complained to the AA and after over two weeks they finally deigned to explain themselves. They pointed out that the letter says 'If there's any aspect of your Membership you would like to discuss, please call us on xxxx xxx xxx.' And, indeed it does. But that's not what I was looking for. I didn't want to discuss an aspect of my membership, I wanted to cancel a payment.

Personally I think that the company is using weasel words to say that this is their get out clause. Any letter saying that payment will be taken from a credit card using a continuous annual payment mechanism should have in large clear letters THIS IS HOW TO CANCEL THE PAYMENT. Anything less bears a distinct resemblance to the planning documents relating to the demolition of Arthur's house in Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, that were 'on display' in a locked filing cabinet in a cellar etc. etc.

This isn't the sort of behaviour we expect from a company like the AA.

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