Adventures in Customer Service: AAA

Overall, my experiences with AAA over the years have been very positive. But things seem to be taking a bad turn.

A couple of years ago, I had a battery die on me while I was out with my son. AAA came out, said that baby’s dead, and sold me a new one on the spot.

Less than a year later, the new battery died on me, in the parking lot at home. AAA sent their guy out and he tested it then announced its time of death like a doctor on a medical show.

Now, this battery was a AAA battery, covered by their warranty. Their three year warranty. And this battery wasn’t even a year old yet.

Unfortunately, I had misplaced the invoice from the roadside visit during which I’d bought the battery. Mind you, the battery itself was clearly marked with the date of installation. It possessed its own very special serial number. And AAA’s computers had record of the call during which I’d purchased it, the date matching up to the date on the battery.

The service guy wanted to replace it. He called it in and the supervisor at the other end basically told him “Fuck the guy, he needs to have the invoice.”

Even though they had record that they’d installed a battery for me. On that particular date. Which was the date of installation on the battery itself.

I was annoyed, but rather than bother going out of my way to buy a new battery from somewhere else, I went ahead and paid full price on the spot for a new AAA battery.

That was just over a year ago. This time, I made damn sure to hold onto the invoice.

A couple of weeks ago, that battery flatlined. AAA sent a very nice woman out to help me, and she tested the battery, finding it completely out of charge. But that didn’t mean the battery was actually bad. She said she couldn’t replace on a discharged battery, and that I needed to have a mechanic fully charge it, and then if it didn’t hold the charge after that, it could be replaced.

That seemed fair enough. So I took the battery to my local shop, and they charged the thing for seven hours. It was fine after that.

Until yesterday. Flat dead. Couldn’t even operate the power locks.

So I called AAA this morning and they sent a guy out. He tested the battery and the result came up:

BATTERY REPLACEMENT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Seemed pretty clear to me, how about you?

But he didn’t like that result, apparently. He retested. This time, the result was NEEDS CHARGE. The printout went on to call it SEVERELY DISCHARGED, and pointed out that SEVERELY DISCHARGED BATTERIES ARE NOT COVERED UNDER THE BATTERY REPLACEMENT WARRANTY.

So he jump started it, said to let it run for half an hour and it’ll be fine. So my truck’s rumbling away outside while I sit here typing this, and maybe he’s right. I’m not optimistic.

In the meantime, both these visits count against my visits for the year, and if someone has to come out again, that’ll be a third visit. Know how many AAA gives you per year? Four.

I’ll update this post, positively or negatively, as appropriate.

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