The helpful woman on the other end of the phone logged the call at 4.55pm. She said someone would be there within 40 minutes. Getting on for an hour later, no one had arrived. Back to the AA. 'Someone will be there in 20 minutes. Sorry for the delay. We're very busy so we've had to sub-contract the job.'
Thirty minutes later and still no one. Another call and the promise of assistance within half an hour. Eventually the breakdown service truck turned up about 7.10pm - almost two and a half hours after the first call. As expected, the battery had drained itself. The car was jump-started and given a rapid charge.
Black marks then, to the AA for promising something it couldn't deliver as originally promised. Evan Anderson, AA manager, service delivery south, admits the service was unacceptable and has promised to review procedures to try and prevent a similar situation recurring in the future. 'The level of service that we actually provided in this instance falls well short of what we aim and expect to deliver. In fact, on the day in question, even though our actual workload was some 17% higher than we planned for, we achieved an average speed of response of 36.4 minutes,' he said. 'I am particularly disappointed that we did not proactively incident-manage the request for assistance.'
Meanwhile the car is booked in to our local Honda dealer for a full check of the electrical system. We accept that cars can have problems but a major factor in one's perception of a particular vehicle can be made or broken by how these problems are dealt with. In this case, it's not Honda's fault and while initially the AA badly handled the breakdown, its concern and promise to review procedures is welcome. But let's hope we're not in a position to experience it!