Dear Mr or Mrs AA,
Many thanks for your letter, dated Friday last. The pseudo-informal-friendliness conveyed in your letter has induced just enough nausea to put me off my breakfast, but not enough to cause any actual vomiting. This should delay my travel-plans for the next hour or two, and so you should be congratulated on your contribution – however small – to road safety in Derby on this fine morning.
Also thanks for your near-identical letters which I have received at around the same time each month for the last two years. Your concern for my wellbeing and peace-of-mind whilst driving is noted and appreciated.
First off, allow me to congratulate you for your choice of rescue drivers. Over the three years I was a member of your hallowed organisation (and had the exclusive AA membership card with my name – incorrectly spelt – embossed upon it) I had cause to use your services twice. The hour-and-a-half I spent parked on the side of a motorway on each occasion was a gladsome time, whereupon I became intimately familiar with whatever tinpot local radio station I could receive from my elderly Ford Fiesta, and later the piece-of-crap Rover 216 that my evil brother-in-law sold me and claimed was reliable as a Swiss watch. But I digress.
So I have no complaint of your drivers. They were friendly, professional, and did their job. However, this was in the days before your decision to get them all to sing in your television adverts. Was this decision a wise one? Would they have been better employed out on the road actually rescuing stranded motorists, rather than fixing their makeup and walking across hillsides waving their torches in a commanding manner?
No, it is on the conduct of your finance and membership staff that I must take issue.
When it came time for renewal at the end of my second year, I received resubscription letters containing enough forced-friendliness and unsubtle cajolling to bring me out in a rash. The letters informed me that unless I rang up and renewed, my subscription would lapse.
As I had just taken possession of a rather dodgy-looking Vectra I duly did so, and you extracted approximately 45 pounds of my hard-earned cash from my account.
On checking my bank statements some weeks later, I discover that a week before I rang to renew, you had already taken 45 pounds out of my account without my consent (and in direct contradiction to your letter). You failed to mention this on the telephone when I renewed.
The following dozen telephone calls between myself and your offices were so farcical I wish I had recorded them. I didn’t bother, because I assumed than an error so trivial to make would be equally trivial to rectify. If you can take money out of my account with a single mouse click, then surely it is only one mouse click to put it back in again?
Apparently not! Apparently before I get my money back (the money you technically STOLE from my account) I must endure a dozen telephone calls. Telephone calls that deny the money was taken, deny knowledge of my existence, and demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the banking system. Conversations where I was given the numbers of non-existent fax lines where I was expected to send copies of my bank statements, and at least one telephone call with a member of staff who accused me of lying and attempting to defraud your organisation.
The conclusion to this sorry affair saw me get my money back, but did not go as far as any form of apology, compensation or sweetener to keep my custom. I endured the final year of membership, praying to God that my car would hold together and I wouldn’t have to call you again. So you’ll forgive me if I choose not to renew now, or at any point in future. Hopefully you’ll also understand if I choose not to piddle on any of your admin staff should I meet any who are on fire.
Please do not send me any more letters. I’m sick of wiping my bottom with them, and I came close to a paper cut in a very sensitive area last time. I would hate to think that in writing to me, your waste of paper contributes to the felling of even one small sapling. You shall have no more of my money. I shall continue in my quest to find breakdown cover from a company whose conduct suggests competency and legitimate parentage.