I was left freezing next to the motorway after the AA failed to turn up for 10 hours… I want my membership refunded | The Sun
A MAN who was left freezing next to the motorway after the AA failed to turn up for 10 HOURS wants his membership refunded.
Derek Cart, 58, claims he was left "freezing cold and sheltering in a bush" after his motor suffered a blowout on the M40.
The plumber now wants his £158 AA membership fee refunded after he spent 10 hours stranded on the busy motorway.
His Volkswagen Transporter broke down on the southbound carriageway, near Henley-in-Arden, while he was travelling from his home in Oldbury to a job in Leamington Spa.
As he pulled over, just past the hard shoulder, two tyres – including the one with a puncture – got stuck in gravel.
After trying to get himself out, he called the breakdown company at around 7.30am on March 16, but said it was "just ringing out".
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The AA said "technical issues" had affected its phone lines earlier – but breakdowns could be reported on the app or online – however the 58-year-old said the app was "not responding".
A desperate Derek then called a friend and asked her to report the breakdown online after he had tried to call another number that "wasn't recognised".
A National Highways traffic officer pulled up at 11.50am and gave the shivering tradesman a foil blanket.
Derek said: "He looked at the van and said he could help me get out of the gravel but he couldn't change the tyre.
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"Just then, I had a text from the AA saying they'd be with me at 12.30pm.
"I told him he might as well go as they could pull me out and do the tyre, so he went."
But it was several hours before assistance finally arrived, with Derek receiving another text which said someone would be with him at 2.30pm but "might be delayed by two hours".
It was around 4pm before a mechanic showed up – but Derek's ordeal was far from over.
Derek continued: "He said it had been logged down as a Volkswagen Up. He said he wasn't going to be able to pull me out.
"He asked if I'd tried getting it out and tried driving it out but it was getting stuck even deeper.
"He said I'd need a tow truck and asked if I'd got a towing point. I didn't know so I Googled it and told him where it was but he said there wasn't one there."
Derek, who received a text from a third party tow truck firm to say they'd be with him at 6.35pm, decided to look for himself when the mechanic had left.
"I got a screwdriver out my van and a torch and managed to find the thread. I got the towing eye out the back of the van and screwed it in.
"Then I went back into the bush and tried to shelter from the rain as another traffic officer pulled up behind my van and said it had been reported as abandoned.
"He helped me get it out of the gravel and waited with me as I got the tyre sorted and that was it, I was on my way. That was about 5pm.
"I was travelling back when the tow truck firm called to see where I was and I told them to cancel it, I'd managed to get out myself. I finally got home about 6pm."
Derek said he has lodged a complaint with the AA and was keen to have his £158 membership fee refunded so he could take his business elsewhere.
The breakdown company has apologised for the distress caused and said the matter will be fully investigated.
A spokesperson said: "We have been made aware of this incident and would firstly like to apologise to Mr Cart for the delays during the breakdown, which fell below our usual high standards, and any distress caused.
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"Our team has been trying to contact the member today and will be fully investigating this case. Unfortunately, we cannot comment further until the investigation is completed."
The AA said the technical issues with the phone system, which meant some customers experienced delays getting through, were now "fully resolved".
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