Terrible service from RAC-help!

hoping this’ll work but below is what I’ve sent to the RAC and i’m still getting no help. I’m getting desperate and making myself I’ll as do not know what to do next. Sorry it’s a long read 

Below is my account of what has happened between myself and the RAC since 02/09/2023

Up until 02/09/2023, my car was running fine. There had been an engine diagnostic light on that I had checked, and it was for an exhaust temperature sensor that would not affect the running of the car. This first came ON in May this year so the car has been running OK regardless. This may be a significant fact further on in the timeline.

On the 02/09/2023, I went out with my daughter, she got bored so went back to the car and put music o. When I got back, the battery was dead. I called the RAC and the patrolman came out, jump started my battery but advised me my battery would need replacing very soon. 

I drove the car around for about the next 24 hours, the car was running fine. On 03/09/2023, I drove to my local shop sometime in the afternoon. I got back to the car, and it was dead. I realized that the battery must have completely packed up. As I was near home, I left the car where it was and walked home as I thought I would just deal with it the next morning.

On 04/09/2023 I went online and bought a stop/start battery from the RAC and arranged for a mobile fitting. The patrolman called me to say that he was there, so I walked back to my car and met him. I said hi and we chatted and then he took my keys to start working on my car. It was a very hot dayso I went to the shop and got a drink and then sat n the shade,so I wasn’t near enough to the patrolman to see what he was doing. He came over after a while and said that I had bought the wrong stop/strut battery but he had the right one in the van so he could fit that. He said it would be £20 more and as my bank card was at home, he said he would follow me home when he had fixed my car and taken the payment. He also noticed that my key fob wasn’t working as the car had to be opened manually, which had been going on for a few weeks as I was outing off buying a new key. He said that he had batteries in his van so he could put a new one in my fob. He came back and the fob was working but he said that he hadn’t put a new battery in, just taken my one out and cleaned it up.He then worked on putting the new battery into my car, again I sat away in the shade, not close enough to see what he was doing. He came over after quite a while and said it was done. He got in his van, and I got in my car so he could follow me to get the card payment. When I got in my car and started it, the engine was turning over, but the car wasn’t starting s I got out and told him. He got out the van and came back over, obviously tried to start the car himself and he could see it wasn’t starting. He was then back at my car for a long time trying different things. At one point he was on the phone to some kind of support team and they we’re asking him questions and getting him to try things, I know he was trying things with the fuses at some point. He then said one last thingwas, he could put my old, dead battery back into my car and try and jump start it, he thought he might be able to charge it enough to at least get my car back home. So, I was in the car, turning the key whilst he did the jump start. When this didn’t work, he admitted defeat and left me, he said that he couldn’t tow my car to my local garage and that I would have to get yet another patrolman out.

Later that same day, I arranged another call out and met the next patrolman who towed my car whilst I steered it to the garage I use for my MOTs. I explained to Steve, my mechanic, what had happened so he agreed to have a look at it.

On 07/09/2023, I got a call from Steve to say that my ECU was spiked. He said at this point that he could do the work and it would probably be around the £2000 mark (I would still need a new battery as well). I left the car with him to do the work.

On the 13/09/2023, I started correspondence with the RAC customer care team, and a case was openedI had emailedabout a week before but didn’t realise I had misspelt the email but hadn’t got an undeliverable message.

On the 15/09/2023 I got an email with a link that I could use to add information to my case, they asked for the following:

In the meantime, please can you provide us with a garage report outlining the fault with your vehicle, a cost estimate for the repairs, and explain why you think we're responsible. Please be aware this is just to help us with our investigation and is not an admission of liability

I forwarded this to my mechanic to ask if he could put something together.

On the 15/09/2023, I also rang Steve for an update as I hadn’t heard anything. I need to point out at this point that I was meant to be driving to my mums, 100 miles away, on 17/09/2023 to take her to hospital to have a knee replacement on 18/09/2023 and then I was to stay with her for the week to help her recuperate-I ended up having to pay to insure myself of my friends car who happened to be on holiday that week. When I called Steve on 15/09/2023, he told me that he had tried to order my new ECU and got a call (not sure who from, whether it was actually VW) to say that they wanted him to sin a disclaimer to say that if he couldn’t install the ECU and get it up and running properly, they would not let him return it for a refund. Steve told me that he just couldn’t take the risk and therefore couldn’t carry out the work.

There then followed a few emails from myself to customer care, telling them what had happened and asking if, even out of goodwill until the investigation was concluded, that the RAC would help me move my car somewhere, maybe some kind of RAC affiliated garage. I have already incurred charges from Steve where he has spent time trying to sort my car. As I understand it, you will also want to charge me to move my car to a garage that may e able to do the work. Yet another cost to myself that I can’t afford, and I believe the RAC should be supporting me with.

Despite numerous calls from myself to customer care and further messages, explaining my car needed to be moved by 25/09/2023, I still got no response from customer care. So, when I spoke to someone on 22/09/2023 and explained the urgency, he said that he would mark me as vulnerable in a bid to escalate this.

I then received this email from customer care later that day:

Thank you for getting in touch about the damage to your car which you believe was caused after you called us out on 4 September 2023. As we take cases like this very seriously, we've conducted a thorough investigation.

After carefully reviewing all the evidence you provided, we regret to inform you that our technical adviser doesn't believe the damage was caused by the recovery driver. Technical have noted a new battery was fitted to your vehicle which did not resolve the issue. The Patrol refitted the old battery and arranged for a refund of the battery purchased. The Patrol has not jumpstart the vehicle. At present there is insufficient evidence to suggest our Patrol was negligent whilst working your vehicle or enhanced the repair costs. Any additional recovery required to another garage would be chargeable.

In view of this, we're unable to accept liability for this claim. I appreciate this isn't the response you wanted, but I hope you can see from this information how we came to this decision.

Our Patrols are highly trained and experienced professionals who take great care with our members' vehicles. We sincerely hope that this incident has not affected your opinion of us.

Kind regards,

Irfan Sabir

Customer Care Executive

I was really shocked and distressed to receive this email. As far as I was aware, I hadn’t even submitted any evidence or information from my mechanic so I just couldn’t understand how they had carried out a thorough investigation.

I asked if I could see what the investigation consisted of, and I was then sent an email with three PDFs attached, one from each of the patrolman that attended my car over those few days. Obviously the most relevant one was from the patrolman who attended on 04/09/2023 and replaced my battery.

This is the scale of his report:

battery not right for batt check requires rac oo11 ,fittedbattery but not starting suspect immobiser faault

?? refitted old battery requires dealer attention

So, there is no mention of the various things that he did to my car whilst there. There must be a transcript of the call he made to his support team as well.

Also, at the bottom of his report, there is a printout of the diagnostic codes from my car, the exhaust temperature sensor is on there which is how I know that’s what it is and therefore my ECU was working when the patrolman started working on my car.

I have told customer care all of this, I also asked that Irfan Sabir, the customer care executive, is no longer assigned to my case. As you can imagine, the extent of his investigation has shocked me.

I have since been emailing, asking what I am now supposed to do with my car. It is sitting useless in a garage where I have already incurred charges for the work, he has done even though he cannot fix the car. It now needs to be moved somewhere more specialist who can properly investigate what has happened and potentially do the work. I cannot afford to pay to get it towed, I cannot afford to pay yet another garage to investigate this car and write you a report, even when that is done, I cannot afford to et the work done ultimately. My mechanic cannot provide the report you say you need to investigate this, he can’t do it so I desperately need help with you to get this underway. If after a robust investigation by someone neutral it is found the RAC wasn’t liable, I will accept that. But to get to that conclusion, you need to help me have my car moved and looked at.

You must see how there is too much coincidence with all ofthe things that your patrolman did that day and this happening surely?

I have now not heard anything from that last email from Irfan Sabir Friday, despite me messaging and calling again this week. I have been in tears of frustration.

In addition to the practical inconvenience this is causing me (I am meant to go to my mums every other weekend to do her shopping, housework etc., how will I do that?) I need to drive the point home to you about what this is doing to my mental health. I suffer with anxiety and depression anyway and am on anti-depressants. I have had three nervous breakdowns in the past where I have not handled stressful situations well. I know this sounds like a threat, but I am just telling you how I am unfortunately. I wish I was stronger, but I am not.

My anxiety due to this situation is sky high. I can feel my mental heath spiraling the longer this goes on and I don’t know what to do next. I feel completely alone, I don’t have anyone in my life who knows enough about cars to really help me with this and properly explain what’s wrong with my car and what needs to happen to get it working again. My mum is stressed as she does not know how I will get to her. She is also upset as she had bought my polo out of her savings as I don’t have money to spare. I cannot stress what a negative effect this is having on me and impacting on my life and I am so shocked at how the RAC has treated me so far. The offer of a hire car from you would have been so helpful.

As you can imagine I am keen to cancel my membershipASAP as it made me feel so upset to see my hard earnedmoney go out to pay this months membership but I am guessing I won’t get anywhere with you if I’m not a member.

I have already been posting where I can on social media as I cannot accept that the RAC could be so heartless in this matter and if getting so much exposure as I can helps then I will do it. However, it is also very draining, and I feel so tired on top of everything else, if you would just give me some practical and financial help just to get my car looked at it would help so much.


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