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AA Breakdown Sub Contractor Issues


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Hi to make it easier I have detailed my issues in the letter below which I have sent to the AA. Any advise?

On the 7th October 2012 I drove my vehicle (Mercedes-Benz E270 Cdi) . On my return, I noticed the car doors would not open centrally. I then used the key to open the door manually and managed to open it. I then realised that the car would not also start. At this point I decided to call on your breakdown services to get me back on the road again. I was told the AA patrols are busy in the area however they will send out a sub-contractor to get me roadworthy again. A patrol from a company called FAM Engineering came out and immediately diagnosed my vehicle as “Dead Battery”. He said it’s no problem and that he will start my vehicle with a booster start. I asked him if this was safe to complete on my vehicle due to the complex electronics on board and also when I purchased the car I remember the dealer telling me the car should not be jump started. The battery should be charged and then the car should be started. I questioned the patrol over this to which he replied it is perfectly safe and he does this all the time. To double check this he rang his “friend” who works for Mercedes Ciceley who confirmed how to start it. I suggested that rather than start it this way, why don’t we purchase a new battery and fit it using AA’s service. He was against this as without testing it he said the battery seemed in good condition. He placed his crocodile clips on the battery and then went to start the car using his booster pack and started the car. The cars manual also states that all electrical equipment including the heaters, lights and stereo should be completely switched off. The patrol did not advise us to do this. The car started and he asked me to sign a form to say he had completed his job and drove off.

Once I sat in the car, I went to place the car in the “Drive” gear and it would not move out of “Park”. It seemed to be stuck in “Park”. I then called the number on top of the form I signed from FAM Engineering and they arranged for the patrol to come back. He came back swiftly but was not pleased and tried to force the gear to move out of Park quite violently but failed. I was not pleased with this attempt as I felt he could have damaged the lever and made this clear to him. He then went back to his vehicle and rang his friend who works for Mercedes to see what else they can try. His friend said that the car needed to go to the workshop.

At this point the car was showing a number of faults on the dashboard system including “ABS Fault”, “ESP Fault”, “Speedtronic Fault” and “Display Fault”. The unhappy patrol proceeded to get the vehicle towed to the nearest workshop and swiftly left. A tow truck from FAM engineering arrived approximately 45-50 minutes to take the vehicle to a workshop/garage. When he arrived he was displeased that the previous patrolman had not used the override switch to put the car into neutral as advised by his contact center. He tried to find out how to do this and then came to the car and violently forced open the leather gaiter and found the switch. Since this incident, I have found out that the gaiter should not have been touched. It should have been the whole panel around the gear lever to reveal the override switch. The second patrol proceeded to lift my vehicle onto the truck. He advised me he will take me and the car home as no garages are open at that time and I will have to ring back in the morning to have the vehicle transported to a workshop.

The following morning I arranged for my vehicle to be taken to a workshop. I have extensively researched online regarding my issue and it seems that the vehicle should not have been started as it was. The battery should have been taken off and charged and then the car started with all electronics switched off. As a result of your sub-contractors, my vehicles electronics have now failed. I have been told that it will cost in excess of £1300 for an ESP Module to remedy the issues created. Also I am now going to have to be without the use f my car as I have to wait over a week for this part to arrive from Germany. I am extremely disappointed as I mentioned to the initial patrol about purchasing a new battery and he dismissed this. Had we have done this then there would have been no electrical faults at all. Prior to jump starting the vehicle there were no faults present on the vehicle.

I am now writing to you for you to investigate my issue and cover all costs involved in repairing my vehicle as a result of your subcontractors patrol.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Knowing how difficult breakdown companies are, I shall be following this thread with interest.

Best of luck with your claim, I would also be considering legal action too.



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