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  1. #1

    Default AAA - Way More Than Just Towing

    Whether you driving across town or across the country, don't even think about leaving the driveway without a AAA membership card crammed into your wallet.
    Your membership not only will get you towed, it'll get you out of jail! I'm traveling coast to coast this summer and I'd love suggestions or comments.
    Hope to hear from you!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-12-2008 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Comments are to be directed to these forums only.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Very Limited Service

    The American Automobile Association's Guaranteed Arrest Bond is a useful but limited service. It provides up to $1000 of a guarantee against bail for minor traffic violations. The $5,000 Bail Bond Certificate can be arranged if needed through the local office at the time of arrest. Neither is a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card and the following disclaimer is prominently displayed:

    "Charges involving driving while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, drugs or narcotics, or driving on a suspended or revoked driver's permit will make members ineligible for Legal Service Reimbursement, Trip Continuance, Guaranteed Arrest Bond or Bail Bond."

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default From an former AAA Insider

    Buck is right on with the AAA bond stipulation. Really what it is meant for is more or less getting stopped by a local cop for going 15 over the speed limit and getting thrown in the clink because the cop was having a bad day. There are a lot of other great services, and I'm sad to say that I'm no longer a member (simply can't afford it). Many now have auto-buying services that allow you to deal with a no-pressure AAA Agent instead of a "This deal lasts only until 10 seconds ago" car salesman.

    -Brad

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default In Ill

    I just discovered this one recently, but the Bond card element of a AAA membership actually has a practical application in Illinois.

    Police there routinely confiscate the drivers license as a form of bond. In most states, you'll just be let go with a signature promising to pay or appear, but in IL you either have to surrender your license or go back to the police station to pay the $75 bond, unless you have AAA, in which case you can surrender your AAA card which serves as a bond card.

  5. Default

    I have no intention of going to jail, but your AAA card is good for discounts in loads of places: hotels, amusement parks, aqurariums. ASK -- quite often you'll get a couple dollars off.

    Their towing service, sadly, is second-rate.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default I have never had a problem

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
    Their towing service, sadly, is second-rate.
    I have found their roadside service to be excellent -- sounds like you had some specific issues that you could share?

    Mark

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    I have found their roadside service to be excellent -- sounds like you had some specific issues that you could share?

    Mark
    Yep. Not long ago one of the teachers at my school pulled into the parking lot at 7 AM and realized that she had a flat tire. She called her husband, who told her just to call AAA -- they could take care of it anytime during the school day. She called them right away, and their interest in her car trouble was, um, lackluster at best. She left her keys with the school receptionist and figured all would be well.

    At lunchtime she discovered that they'd done nothing. She called them, and the answer was basically, "We'll get to it when we get to it, and you should thank us."

    At 3:00 when school ended, they still had not managed to make it out to the school to fix her tire! A whole work day, and they couldn't spare a fellow to drive five minutes down the road and do a simple job! Fortunately for her, she was at school, where she was safe and comfortable . . . but she could just as easily have been stuck out by the interstate with a couple children. They didn't manage to get anyone out there until after 6:00, and they didn't do that until both my friend and her husband had made several angry phone calls.

    AAA contracts with local garages to provide services. It's kind of like an HMO: the garages are paid a fee every month, whether they do anything or not; and if they actually do any work, they get paid a little more. Emphasis on a little more. When you, the customer, call AAA, they in turn call the closest garage and pass on your information. If that garage happens to be busy, you may wait quite some time.

    Incidentally, my friend dropped AAA after this experience.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default I really think this is weird aberation

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
    She called them right away, and their interest in her car trouble was, um, lackluster at best.
    I have been a member of AAA for over 25 years, and I would bet I have had to call them for roadside assistance at least 2-3 times each year over the length of the membership in locations all over the USA. I can't remember a single time I waited more than 30 minutes for any call.

    The most recent time was a dead battery (it actually failed) and the truck was on scene with a replacement battery in the middle of a busy work day in Las Vegas in 20 minutes.

    Another recent time, I managed to lock my keys to a rental car in the trunk in Carson City in November -- Temps ~ 20 degrees (F) and all of my coats were locked in the car. I was late for an interview and dispatch sent me two trucks because I was driving a brand-new car -- and the first driver didn't have the new presto-magic-opening tools yet for this new car. The second driver managed to build a new tool in the parking lot and opened a door and then crawled back behind the seat to open the trunk door (with the alarm blaring loud enough to wake the dead...). I made the interview. I bet I waited 10 minutes (7:00 am on a Friday) for the first truck.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-24-2008 at 07:19 PM. Reason: left out a word....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default I agree with Mark

    I'm sure there are times AAA makes mistakes. I'm sorry it happened to Mrs. Pete's teacher friend. But I have always been amazed by the service. Most goes above-and-beyond.

    For example, my son's car broke down about 100 miles away from home, and he had a couple friends with him. It was about midnight and he was still in high school so we were a bit concerned. We also figured we'd have to drive up there to bring them all home as we didn't imagine the tow-trucker would want to give them rides. When the tow-truck arrived, he told them that he could fit them all in another one of his tow-trucks that was bigger and wider. So he went back to his shop and got the other truck and gave them all rides back to our town. Not only did he deliver the car to the mechanic's shop we requested, but he drove each and every kid to their respective home. We were quite surprised and told my son to call when they got to the mechanic's shop and we'd come down to pick them all up and give them rides home. Didn't have to. I thought that was special service. Especially since the guy had to turn around and drive the other 100 miles back home at about 2am.

    This level of service has been the norm for us and we have used it numerous times over the years. I love, love, love AAA.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default My mom had a similar problem just recently

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    Another recent time, I managed to lock my keys to a rental car in the trunk in Carson City in November -- Temps ~ 20 degrees (F) and all of my coats were locked in the car. I was late for an interview and dispatch sent me two trucks because I was driving a brand car -- and the first driver didn't have the new presto-magic-opening tools yet for this new car. The second driver managed to build a new tool in the parking lot and opened a door and then crawled back behind the seat to open the trunk door (with the alarm blaring loud enough to wake the dead...). I made the interview. I bet I waited 10 minutes (7:00 am on a Friday) for the first truck.

    Mark
    Her Toyota Avalon has so much computer stuff on it that the AAA-dispatched guy couldn't get into the car the usual ways. It took him well over an hour to figure it out. Apparently he had to disengage the battery and a few other things that aren't typical to get in. Anyway, it was the first time my mom had ever actually used her AAA service (we just recently finally talked her into getting it) and she was very pleasantly surprised at how nice and patient he was. My mom has been deemed "The Pickiest Woman in the World" by most everybody who knows her. Believe me, if the service hadn't been both excellent and done with a smile, she would have found something to complain about.

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