AAA Complaint - 'Customers Come First' is no longer true!
CALIFORNIA -- The management style of AAA seems to be changing from one that generated old style loyalty to one that is opportunistic and unfriendly. I have been a loyal member of the company for a very long time and have an extremely clean driving record. I also have been using my car less and less in recent years, relying on BART more, so my car often gets less than 10,000 miles a year. I do not drink or have unhealthy habits and have often been criticized for being a little too cautious on the road, never being among the first to arrive at a destination. In short, I am the kind of client an auto insurance company would love to have. Pay up, but stay out of trouble. But I made a mistake recently when my schedule was overwhelmingly busy; I missed the due date for a payment and my account became delinquent for over thirty days. A first in over seventeen years of being with the company with a completely clean driving record! No tickets, no violations to my name... I was a little embarrasssed to call AAA when I discovered my mistake upon finally being able to cope with the pile of mail that had accumulated in that hectic schedule, but also ready to pay all that I owed and correct the situation. Since I had been with them for so long and I am a very safe driver, as embarrasssed as I was to have dropped the ball, I thought they would help me fix the situation. They jumped at the occasion to reduce my benefits and offered me a policy with higher deductibles and much higher fees. I indicated I was hoping to put payments on auto pay to avoid a similar mistake in the future and apologized for my lack of organization during a stressful and busy time, but to no avail. I almost felt the manager I was connected to was mocking me for having given them an opportunity to get more money out of me. The result: I am getting quotes from other companies and comparing them. I feel a little like a fish out of water because I have been a member of that company for close to 20 years. If I had not had this opportunity to test their approach when I made a mistake, I would have continued with them thinking all was fine. Now I am reconsidering.
To be fair to them, they did take care of me in fixing rare, minor things in the past, such as fixing the bumper and the taillights after one inexperienced driver hit my car in the parking lot of a supermarket and was ready to flee until the security agent on duty stopped him. Still he had no insurance and AAA did not create a fuss and fixed it. (It was obviously no fault of mine. I was not even in my car, but was met with the security officer and the other driver when I walked to my car with my young child. They did honor the agreement and provided me with a rental during the repair. They also sent to our home a service person to repair a little crack on the windshield from a rock flown from a truck on the freeway. And the repair person they sent was very pleasant.
The problem seems to be in their recent management style. I used to think of them as being a good company in the old style, professional, experienced, trustworthy, friendly to their clients. They seem to have moved in the direction of the bankers on Wall Street and gotten a little too pompous and opportunistic. I am hearing that from more and more people. Maybe, as it happened with many good companies of one time, they are under a different cloud. Not do I only feel disgruntled about the way I was treated, I am also worried about where that attitude will take them because we do have some investments with them. That kind of greed never pays off, as we all saw in the example of where the greed on Wall Street took the global economy. Maybe they consider recruiting better managers.