Sunday 30 October 2011


November is the time that I renew my AA membership, something I've done for around 10 years.
And every year I've noted approximately when they would take the money out of my account and put the rest of the paperwork in the bin.

But for some unknown reason, this year I read a little more of the literature that they sent me, including all the new deals they were offering and some of the new "freebies" that they were treating us to.

And while I was reading I noticed to my astonishment that some of the "freebies" (which of curse are not free at all but covered in the cost of the membership) are only available within the confines of the M25, London, England's orbital motorway.

So effectively members of the AA outside the M25's warm embrace are subsidising members within.

"So", I thought to myself, "I'm paying out more so that drivers in London can get a better service? I don't think so. At least, not any more I'm not. I'm leaving. I'll find other cover which isn't London-centric, and which will probably be cheaper anyway".

So I phoned them to tell them of my decision, and instruct them not to take any money out of my account. Well of course you can't just do that, after you have negotiated the "choices" they put there to "help them to direct you to the right department"  you have to explain why you are leaving. 

I could, of course, have said "mind your own business", but I'm not that kind of guy, and the lad was only doing his job. So, although I don't know what made me do it, I lied. I think that I didn't want to sound like a grumbling Scot, although  on reflection I was wrong to hide that. I should have grumbled. Anyway, when I was asked for a reason for leaving I told them I could no longer afford the cost, that times were hard and that everyone was having to make cuts... blah blah, blah... 

You could have knocked me down with a feather when he said, "Well Sir, you've been with us 10 years, I could offer you a 10% discount". "Ah you could, could you", I thought. "I wonder that you didn't think to offer me that when you wrote!" But, I'd made my mind up; I wasn't going to subsidise London members. So I said no.

"Well sir", he said, "I could offer you your membership and half the price", he continued.


It seems that  at least some big organisations are prepared to give a discount rather that lose your custom.

So, if you have AA membership, and you have had it for a while, when your renewal date comes up, you might want to try them out for a discount.

Furthermore, other contracts from now on will not be renewed without some negotiations.

I just thought I'd pass it on to you guys!


  1. Tris....You've alerted your readers to an interesting problem. Having to give an organization, to which you pay a membership fee, a sufficiently good reason to permit you to cancel your membership.

    There was an internet service provider here in the states called AOL, for which not allowing people to leave their service was apparently an important part of their business plan. After protracted negotiations, they would sometimes let you cancel your service.....but they would THEN continue to collect their monthly fee from your credit card or bank account anyway. Cancel your SERVICE.....OK. Cancel your MEMBERSHIP that was a different kettle of fish.

    Perhaps AA in Scotland and the UK is equivalent to AAA here in the states. I've never tried to cancel my AAA membership. But that probably wouldn't be a good idea for me anyway. From time to time I've driven into a ditch on a remote country road in Missouri at 2:00 in the morning. AAA to the rescue! (Independent tow service operators being famously grumpy at 2:00 in the morning.) Perhaps you can find something that applies more to the country roads in Scotland and less to the motorways around London. ;-)

  2. tris

    Ignoring your racist tone(London being a metaphor for all that is bad from England dont bother denying it)

    I have just renewed me aa maybe I'll cancel it anyway next time ill be ready

  3. It happens here all the time, Danny.

    You find that somewhere in the contract there is a fee for leaving, or that the contract is for 18 months and not 12 as you thought, and as they never mentioned, although it was there in 3 point type in ancient Greek, upside down and it light grey type... Oh well, you should have seen it.

    An other annoying thing is, you phone your bank to transact some business and they try to sell you insurance and are indignant when you tell them you don't want any more bloody insurance. In the end you have to put the phone down on them

    Actually I feel incredibly sorry for the people who have to do it. It can't be pleasant, but everyone has a target. And in the current economic situation you can't just up and leave your job.

    Aye Danny, the student life. 2 am in a ditch somewhere in the wilds of Missouri.

    And not in the least bothered! LOL That's the way to live... ;¬)

  4. Niko,

    Despite your rudeness, I will deny racism.

    There was no intention to be racist. What I was doing was pointing out that not only were Scots and Welshmen, not to mention probably Irish subsidising the M25 livers (like the bankers), the rest of England was too.

    Don't be so bloody sensitive, or paranoid. I'm not in the least anti English, I'll be spending next week with a good few Englishmen and women.

    But I have a problem with freebies only being for the Londoners.

    It would be the same if it were Edinburgh.

    So get over it.

    And next year remember to say that you're cutting back. Just remember it was Tris that got you a discount. I like Guinness, btw.


  5. My mate does this with his car insurance - plays them off against each other, gets his insurance cheap and gets free AA membership thrown in. He does this every year rather than just stick with one who will be hoping you can't be bothered seeing if you can get it any cheaper elsewhere.

  6. Tris

    For far better cover try Autoaid. Google it or go through the Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert web site.

    Only down side you have to pay the tow there and then to the independent operator who comes out to you, repayment is quick according to comments on MSE website.

    I now have the full monty AA through my bank account, which I opened to get the travel insurance, as Im an old git.

    P.S. Next time someone asks why are you leaving. Its because you ask such stupid questions!

  7. It's the way to do it Billy, unless you are as lazy as I am, and just leave it with the same company. But the car insurance jerked me into action this year. It had jumped by £100 + despite the fact that for the 11 years I've had insurance with them I've never claimed a penny. So I said, no, and they said that they had suddenly found a way to take £20 off, so I said no again and they suddenly found a way to take £60 off.

    In the meantime my mate had been on Money Supermarket and got me a quote for £100 LESS than I HAD been paying... ie £200 less than the quote from my insurance company.

    So I was able to say, no!

  8. Dubs:

    I saw that deal with AA (and the insurance quote was quite competitive) when I was having a problem this year, but they said that I couldn't have my roadside free with them if I was already a customer. So I told them to forget it.

    My pal's mum is with Tesco, a company I detest, but she says that it is very good and much cheaper than the AA.

    But I look into that one too.

    Cheers for the tip.

  9. Good tip Tris. I cancelled my Green Flag (part of the Direct Line bunch) a few years ago when I stopped doing regular night trips. It wasn't cheap either and I really did have problems with them continuing to take cash out of my account. That's the trouble. They don't give you an email address to write to cancel and expect a phone call to be suffice - for them only of course.

  10. Something I've never understood SR, is that you can't tell you bank not to pay any more.

    The only way you can guarantee that they won't take any more money out of your account is to close it.

    BTW, I see that Santander are giving you £100 to open an account with them.

    That's why I'm with the Royal Bank, because they offered me £100 to leave the Clydesdale.

    And yes they are a Spanish Bank, but they are regulated in London, so you're still OK for your first £75,000 (for as long as the UK government has enough money to pay that out!!)