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    • Robbo33
    • By Robbo33 8th Aug 18, 8:45 AM
    • 42Posts
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    Robbo33
    RAC European breakdown: BIG PROBLEM
    • #1
    • 8th Aug 18, 8:45 AM
    RAC European breakdown: BIG PROBLEM 8th Aug 18 at 8:45 AM
    On way from Pyrenees to Liverpool in 17 yr old Skoda Octavia, clutch went in Niort. 2 young children, 37 degrees, very little French spoken, extremely stressful. Had purchased fullest RAC Europe cover available. During many phone calls, operatives stated "we can repatriate car, subject to criteria being met, (although these were unspecified by agent ) manager must authorise and is subject to garage assessment, can't see any reason why we won't be able to do it" and so decisions were made based on this, to accept the hire car to take us and half our stuff to ferry, board as foot passengers, pick up another hire car, drive home; car would be bright hone, unrepaired (our request) 14 days later. Plan discussed many times, before decisions made. At no point UNTIL WE WERE HALFWAY TO CAEN DID AN AGENT IN THE CALL CENTRE TELL US that repatriation decision depended on the value of the car being greater than the cost of repairs. As they had now had cost confirmed by Peugeot dealership in Niort (the garage who'd towed the car and assessed it) as 1400 euro, and they were valuing car at 900 euro (both excessive amounts), repat cannot happen. Apparently we must pay 1400 euro then collect car ourselves. We would never have made decision to go ahead with suggested plan if we had been told the simple equation re repat, as we know very well that car is worth peanuts (I even said this during first call). Apparently we should have Known this essential fact nestled within t and c's, yet RAC Europe help line staff THEMSELVES clearly do not know this as no one told us until approx 12th phone conversation, AFTER the plan has been put irrevocably into action. So now, car plus lots of belongings (we were only able to have a small hire car so left lots in Skoda as it was coming home in 2 weeks!!!) is stranded in France and RAC refusing to accept that they misinformed leading to this situation. Any advice anyone ...?!!! THANKS
Page 1
    • Robbo33
    • By Robbo33 8th Aug 18, 8:57 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Robbo33
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 18, 8:57 AM
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 18, 8:57 AM
    worth adding - had we been told the repatriation equation, the alternative plan would have been for one of us to stay in France and get repairs done in cheaper garage, then drive home; while the other 3 take hire car etc to get home.
    Any advice massively appreciated.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 8th Aug 18, 8:59 AM
    • 2,366 Posts
    • 3,161 Thanks
    Aylesbury Duck
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 18, 8:59 AM
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 18, 8:59 AM
    On way from Pyrenees to Liverpool in 17 yr old Skoda Octavia, clutch went in Niort. 2 young children, 37 degrees, very little French spoken, extremely stressful. Had purchased fullest RAC Europe cover available. During many phone calls, operatives stated "we can repatriate car, subject to criteria being met, (although these were unspecified by agent ) manager must authorise and is subject to garage assessment, can't see any reason why we won't be able to do it" and so decisions were made based on this, to accept the hire car to take us and half our stuff to ferry, board as foot passengers, pick up another hire car, drive home; car would be bright hone, unrepaired (our request) 14 days later. Plan discussed many times, before decisions made. At no point UNTIL WE WERE HALFWAY TO CAEN DID AN AGENT IN THE CALL CENTRE TELL US that repatriation decision depended on the value of the car being greater than the cost of repairs. As they had now had cost confirmed by Peugeot dealership in Niort (the garage who'd towed the car and assessed it) as 1400 euro, and they were valuing car at 900 euro (both excessive amounts), repat cannot happen. Apparently we must pay 1400 euro then collect car ourselves. We would never have made decision to go ahead with suggested plan if we had been told the simple equation re repat, as we know very well that car is worth peanuts (I even said this during first call). Apparently we should have Known this essential fact nestled within t and c's, yet RAC Europe help line staff THEMSELVES clearly do not know this as no one told us until approx 12th phone conversation, AFTER the plan has been put irrevocably into action. So now, car plus lots of belongings (we were only able to have a small hire car so left lots in Skoda as it was coming home in 2 weeks!!!) is stranded in France and RAC refusing to accept that they misinformed leading to this situation. Any advice anyone ...?!!! THANKS
    Originally posted by Robbo33
    I think this is the flaw in your argument. You decided to press ahead with the solution despite them saying that "criteria must be met" and it being "subject to garage assessment". It sounds like you began your journey home before all of that was concluded. I don't think it's reasonable to expect the RAC to repatriate a broken 17 year old Octavia hundreds of miles across two countries. You are effectively asking them to be your luggage courier.

    What's the value of the (broken) car - presumably worthless? What's the value of your possessions in it? Unless they are valuable, financially or sentimentally, I would authorise the garage in France to dispose of the car and your belongings, or ask for the belongings to be couriered home to you. but you'll be expected to pick up any charges for doing so.
    • PDC
    • By PDC 8th Aug 18, 9:09 AM
    • 507 Posts
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    PDC
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:09 AM
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:09 AM
    Sorry to hear this.

    If you had 'Comprehensive Plus' cover then the page on European Cover on the RAC website does not mention vehicle cost being a factor in repatriation, if that is the cover you have then it does seem misleading.

    https://www.rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover

    All other policies mention the market value of your car up front, so if it is one of those then I'm not sure what you can do. Also really depends on what the policy documents state in this regard.

    Having taken older cars across to Europe and having concerns about this issue I know this is pretty standard across nearly all insurers.
    • Robbo33
    • By Robbo33 8th Aug 18, 9:13 AM
    • 42 Posts
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    Robbo33
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:13 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:13 AM
    Aylesbury Duck- Understood. We had however been told that 'we do this all the time, I can't see any reason why we won't be able to' - reassuring us that 'all would be well' in what was an extremely stressful scenario - all they had to do was say this simple statement: "repatriation depends on the value of the vehicle being greater than cost of repairs" and that would have changed everything. Despite being intelligent and reasonable people, we were in an extreme position (young children, 37 degree heat, waiting at side of road, limited water etc) and I would expect a team well versed in dealing with these situations to be able to give simple statement upon which so much hinged, up front, before any arrangement were made. Car could be written off, not real issue, but belongings cannot (2 x Islabikes @ 525 for starters). Car is regularly serviced and is (was) going strong - had it checked over and serviced before leaving, with specific question asked about its suitability for planned trip - all A-OK said garage. I know no one can tell the future but we did everything we could. I do not expect something for nothing, I WOULD expect a team of people dedicated to dealing with these situations to be clear about a simple condition BEFORE decisions based on that condition were made...
    Last edited by Robbo33; 08-08-2018 at 9:24 AM. Reason: added member's name
    • Robbo33
    • By Robbo33 8th Aug 18, 9:23 AM
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    Robbo33
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:23 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:23 AM
    PDC - thanks, we do have 'comprehensive plus'. Policy docs state that 'Getting your vehicle home (provided it is not beyond economical repair)' - we should have checked more thoroughly, for sure. However, if they're valuing the car at 900 euro (crazy) and I can find a garage in Niort (mate is fluent French - she will sort!) to repair clutch for less than this, then they have to bring home...? I understand that they work with specific garages, but Peugeot main dealer is not going to be a cost effective way for repairs to happen...? I am going to investigate an alternative garage.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 8th Aug 18, 9:35 AM
    • 2,366 Posts
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    Aylesbury Duck
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:35 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:35 AM
    Who valued the car at 900 euros, the RAC or the Peugeot dealer? If it was the RAC, you might have a chance at working things out if they will accept your choice of garage and if you can get assurances from that garage that they can do the work within that cost. You'll have to pay to transport the car from its current location to the new garage because I doubt the RAC will fund that - they've done their initial bit by getting the car to an authorised garage.

    More importantly, if the RAC would recover the broken car to the UK if the cost of repairs is less than the car's value, why are you bothering to find a garage in France anyway? Why can't you provide a quote from a garage near home that will satisfy the RAC?

    If the RAC don't agree to any of the above, it might be worth appealing to their customer service team for the cost of couriering your belongings back home. It will cost them much less than repatriating your vehicle and they might view that solution sympathetically in the light of the circumstances? Worth a try?

    Good luck with it, it sounds a nightmare.
    • Arklight
    • By Arklight 8th Aug 18, 10:39 AM
    • 1,501 Posts
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    Arklight
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 18, 10:39 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 18, 10:39 AM
    I have EU RAC cover through a bank account. Not sure which level but I just looked at the terms and conditions. It's not that different to the UK.

    If your car breaks down and they can't fix it they'll then tow you to the nearest garage that might be able to, whether that's Kwik Fit or the local Aston Martin dealership.

    You get 30 per person per night for accommodation while you wait, or a hire car / train for onward travel if you are going to miss your connection home.

    You then get 600 for one person to return and collect the vehicle when it's fixed.

    It says fairly clearly they'll only pay for repatriation of the vehicle if the cost of doing this is less than the book price of the car and the vehicle is beyond economical repair.

    The cost of repatriating one individual car from the Pyrenees would be thousands, so I don't think the RAC are being too unreasonable not doing so.

    What I would suggest OP is complaining you were misadvised (they maybe have the call recordings) and try and get an extra goodwill payment on top of the 600 to go and get your car back.
    • Robbo33
    • By Robbo33 8th Aug 18, 11:08 AM
    • 42 Posts
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    Robbo33
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 11:08 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 11:08 AM
    Aylesbury - cheers. RAC value car at 930, just confirmed this. All calls recorded. Have been trying to establish costs at alternative garages, will almost certainly get it quoted as lower than 930...!! I will not let this go, I see potential light at the end of the tunnel...
    • Arklight
    • By Arklight 8th Aug 18, 11:31 AM
    • 1,501 Posts
    • 2,340 Thanks
    Arklight
    Aylesbury - cheers. RAC value car at 930, just confirmed this. All calls recorded. Have been trying to establish costs at alternative garages, will almost certainly get it quoted as lower than 930...!! I will not let this go, I see potential light at the end of the tunnel...
    Originally posted by Robbo33
    I'm not sure where you are going with your car valuation? The car needs to be valued at more than the costs of repatriation, which isn't likely to happen for a 17 year old Octavia.

    You should be able to move your car to another garage to effect a cheaper repair but this will be at your own expense. You should then be able to claim the 600 to go and get it.

    Alternatively just ask them for a goodwill payment and to ship your stuff back (they say they do this) then scrap the car. I can't foresee any way they will return your car to you.
    • Robbo33
    • By Robbo33 8th Aug 18, 2:48 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Robbo33
    Update: RAC have now confirmed that if I can find a garage within 50-60km of the car's location, that will do the job for less than 930, they will repatriate under the terms of the policy. Finally, a manager called me, and was clear and straightforward, despite us having asked these questions to the call centre staff many times and got nowhere. Needless to say, I am now using google translate to trawl garages and get prices!! Thanks to all who took the time to reply - light at the end of the tunnel - phew.
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