General Question

jca's avatar

Does this AAA (Automobile Association of America) policy make sense to you?

Asked by jca (28392 points ) July 10th, 2012

I used to be a member of AAA. They would tow your car for free if you broke down and have a ton of benefits for members, like travel discounts, etc. My membership had expired and I waited a few months to renew. When I finally got around to renewing, they were going to back-date the membership to the date when it expired. I said to the woman on the phone “If my car broke down during this period would you have towed it for free?” She said “No, of course not, your membership was expired.” OK, then, why make me pay retroactively for that time period?

Does that make sense to you? Am I incorrect with my logic?

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19 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Are they going to retroactively charge fees for that period? oh they will. There is your answer.

jca's avatar

@ragingloli: The new year’s membership would start from the date the old one expired. That’s the part that makes no sense. You’re now charging me for something that I couldn’t have used and didn’t use. I think the new membership should start from the present date (like auto insurance). It would be like if your car insurance expired, your car wouldn’t be insured, and when you pay for the new insurance, it would start now, not three months ago.

ragingloli's avatar

It makes perfect sense. They want your money, and they were hoping you were just rolling over.

Aethelflaed's avatar

IIRC, if there’s a lasp in coverage, they also charge you some kind of reactivation fee, so it might be cheaper to have them backdate.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Like you, I was once in a position where I called AAA and found out that the membership had expired. I don’t recall them making the renewal fee proactive. Nor was there a reactivation fee.

A quick glance at the details of their site do not provide any specifics on how this type of situation is handled. Your best bet is to contact AAA and find out what the rules are for your area. It is possible that they differentiate between states.

zenvelo's avatar

Did you have any insurance included? They may have it set up so that you don’t have a lapse in coverage. Within a certain time frame it is considered a late payment.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The way i see it, they could have said “tough shit” and left you in the road (in your hypothetical). By backdating, they are essentially covering you (which is something they don’t need to do) out of the goodness of their hearts.

I’d say that you are whining for no good reason.

Judi's avatar

If you renewed it when you called for help, and they still sent help, then I would be happy to back date it. If they refused to help you because it lapsed, and still wanted you to pay for the back months then I would put up a fuss.

jca's avatar

@elbanditoroso: The way Judi is describing it is the way they meant it. They would have left me in the road and said “tough.” However, they would then want me to pay for that time period. That makes no sense.

augustlan's avatar

Just so I’m clear… you weren’t asking for any help at the time you called to renew, right? Your car wasn’t stranded somewhere or anything like that? If you were contacting them strictly to renew the membership, I think they’re nuts. No way would I pay for a full year membership when you’re really only getting 9 or so months’ worth of possible service.

jca's avatar

@augustlan: That’s correct. I was just calling to renew. No car trouble.

augustlan's avatar

Is there any benefit to backdating the membership? Like, waiving a big ‘joining fee’ or something? What did you end up doing?

jca's avatar

@augustlan: I ended up saying forget it, I’ll do without it, and knowing that if I waited a few years they couldn’t back-date it then! Now I’m considering re-joining.

Judi's avatar

It makes all the sense in the world. If people could call in and subscribe when they needed a tow then there would be no reason to subscribe until you needed the service. That they allowed you to Renee retroactively, and still helped you out of a bind was a gift.
I guess you could have just paid the tow truck out of pocket instead.

augustlan's avatar

@Judi But she didn’t need any assistance when she renewed. She was contacting them only to renew.

Judi's avatar

Oops. Sorry. Then I would just say no thank you and ask to open a new subscription. If the person didn’t get it, I would either ask for a supervisor or call back and get another person. It’s frustrating dealing with stupid people. Ugh.

bkcunningham's avatar

I use to be a member and I loved the Trip-tiks. My dad was a member since 1941. His membership dues went up one year and he called and told them how long he had been a member and that he didn’t really use it much except for maps and he wondered if he could get a senior discount. He was in his late-80s. The local chapter employee told him “no” and I’ve refused to support them since then.

What do I get from them that I don’t get with my auto insurance? Screw them.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

When in doubt, go to the source. I just got off the phone with an AAA rep. She said that if the account is renewed within 60 days or less of the account’s expiration date, it is retroactive and the two month’s fees would be charged. If it is 61 days or over, then it essentially starts over with the annual fee and a new expiration date.

downtide's avatar

I work for the Automobile Association in the UK and we have a similar policy except that our time limit is 7 weeks, not 60 days*. There is an advantage to backdating an existing membership though – a renewing member gets additional benefits that aren’t available to new members, and the more years you keep the membership, the more/better benefits you accumulate. Also we will assist a member whose membership has expired and is within the 7 weeks grace – provided they are able to renew before we send a patrol out to them. Non-members, or those whose membership expired more than 7 weeks ago, have to pay a hefty surcharge to re-join if they are currently needing assistance.

*it used to be 6 weeks, which was limited by the computer software we were using. When the software was updated last year, it changed to 7 weeks but I don’t know if this is another software limitation, or a legal one, or just something that someone thought was a sensible amount of time.

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