AAA: Pay us $30 or you’re on your own

I have been a loyal and happy AAA member since 1988, when my late uncle Clyde helped me buy a used Chevette for my junior year in college. But after today, I’m not so sure how loyal or happy I am anymore.

I got an urgent call from Kari this afternoon, who was over at the preschool to pick up our daughter. Our car wouldn’t start.

“Don’t worry,” I told her. “I’ll call AAA. They’ll be right there.”

Only, they weren’t right there.

When I phoned AAA’s roadside assistance department, they asked me if I was with the vehicle. No, I explained, I was at home.

“We won’t be able to help you today,” a representative explained in a matter-of-factly tone. Not until I added Kari to my membership, which would cost another $30.

“How would you like to pay for that?” the operator asked. She knew I didn’t have much of a choice.
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AAA Emergency Roadside Services: Don’t call us — summon us online

It happened this morning.

The battery on our Honda Accord died — a battery we bought through AAA less than three years ago. I tried to call AAA Emergency Roadside Services for help, but after navigating my way through a confusing menu, and enduring about five minutes of elevator music, my call was disconnected.

Then I remembered something the automated greeting had mentioned: Try sending a roadside assistance request online. I hadn’t thought of that. And I won’t bury the lede here — it worked like a charm.
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