In October, my classic car stopped working so I called RAC. They told me that a technician would be there in two hours.

After numerous phone calls, I received no updates from them.

Nine hours later someone turned up. The police asked me to make a claim on food and parking fees (I had limped to Chieveley Services), and for the cost of my son’s 100-mile round trip to get me a coat to repair the damage.

Other than an acknowledgement towards the end October, I’ve not heard from the RAC and they have not even responded to a single inquiry. How soon will I receive the funds? G.E., via email

The owner of this Ford Thunderbird was left broken down for 9 hours after a severe delay from the RAC and not sent the compensation they were promised

This Ford Thunderbird’s owner had to leave it for 9 hours due to a delay in receiving compensation from the RAC.

Grace Gausden is the consumer expert at This is Money.After nine hours of waiting for the RAC, your car was almost in a complete wreck.

This 1966 Ford Thunderbird Classic car requires that you be extremely careful about any problems it may have and keep it in its best condition.

This happened when you were on your way from Bristol to Hayling Island, and noticed that the gears weren’t working correctly.

A garage advised you that it could be dangerous to drive further in low gear without first consulting the technician.

You drove slowly the car to Chieveley Services.

Immediately after pulling into the parking lot, you called the RAC at 2.40pm for assistance and reported the problem to the operator.

The car could not be driven, towable, or used for roadside repairs.

According to the RAC, although it was busy, a patrol could be expected within one or two hours.

It didn’t happen, and after you called the number they left a series of messages promising that updates would be made within 30 minutes.

Another call was made and a decision was made to dispatch a third-party recovery agent. You were informed that this was happening, but it was not.


Grace Gausden, This is Money’s consumer expert tackles readers problems and highlights companies that do good work. Grace is featured in our weekly column.

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It was now 7 p.m., five hours since your car had been damaged. Your son drove up to Hayling Island carrying transmission fluid, torch, and a vacuum hose just in case it needed repair. 

He tried every possible solution, but none of them worked. So he waited for you.

Finaly, Westbourne Motors estimated your arrival time at 11pm. They were the third party recovery company. You arrived shortly after 11.30pm. That means that you waited for nine hours.

The issue was an auto transmission failure. You were able get the vehicle repaired at a nearby garage within a week. 

You were furious about the long wait and also angry that the service suggested you park your car overnight at the garage so you could travel with your son home. 

The RAC promised to reimburse the driver for his parking fines, food and sons fuel cost

The RAC pledged to reimburse the driver for parking fines, fuel costs and meals.

The car, you say, is an American classic of 56 years that attracts the wrong kind of attention. You would not leave it.

They agreed to transport the car back home after they arrived.  

The RAC offered to pay the parking fees you paid while you waited, food that you purchased, and the fuel costs for your son’s 100-mile round trip.

It has taken almost two months for you to receive this, and have not received compensation from RAC. You also note that the company is now not responding to emails. 

9 hours is a long time to wait to get assistance. With no clue of where help is located, I contacted RAC in order to determine the location and reason for this delay.

A spokesperson for RAC said that they were sorry to have let down Mr E. We have apologised, reimbursed his expenses, and offered a gesture to show our gratitude for helping him restore faith in us.

Fortunately, you have now received the £49.55 in funds for the parking and food as well as a £200 gesture of goodwill.

Despite being happy with the result, the service was so poor that you almost considered switching providers.

For a Christmas tree, I waited for over a week. It never came. 

This week, I got a taste of what many of our readers go through on a daily basis – bad customer service.

The problems started after I ordered a 5 foot Christmas tree two weeks ago from a website called Send Me a Christmas Tree for £48.

It might seem like I’m being coerced but I knew from personal experience that this website was genuine and my friend was very happy with her Christmas tree as well as the service.

I took her word and ordered the tree. My delivery date was last Monday. 

The decorations were finally done and I was so excited, I went to bed at 7pm. It still wasn’t there.

The firm couldn’t reach me to tell me where the tree was, so I waited to hear back the next day. They had attempted to deliver it but it wasn’t there. A calling card had also been left.

My postbox was empty and I found no call card. Also, I was there throughout the day and knew that nobody had tried to deliver it. After I relayed this to the company, they admitted that the delivery company had made an error and would guarantee the tree arrived tomorrow. It was now three days after it was delivered so it meant I would have to wait. 

Let me cut the story short: I waited for weeks for the tree not to arrive and became increasingly frustrated.

Send Me a Christmas Tree’s team kept me on the line multiple times, and I was always told to just wait.

Also, I was told that there weren’t tracking information available. It was a third-party delivery company so it couldn’t offer any more than “it will arrive soon”. 

The Christmas tree I ordered never arrived after a week of waiting in for the delivery

After waiting for the delivery, the Christmas tree that I ordered did not arrive after one week

Finally, Friday came around after one week in which there was no sign of a tree and I had lost all patience. 

This meant that I also had to drive three flights of stairs up to my second-floor flat to purchase another tree. It was the reason why I ordered the tree in the first instance. 

Although they were very understanding, customer services promised delivery the next day every week. It never arrived. I wasted much time and effort waiting for it to arrive.  

Send Me a Christmas Tree spokeswoman said that they understand that a Christmas tree is more than just a parcel. It can also cause frustration and disappointment for customers when it comes to delivery.

“We also feel this frustration and unfortunately, issues in courier business have affected our customers as well as our business.

“While this is a challenging time of the year for couriers and there’s still some customers that are affected, this year it appears like there’s been a lot more lost trees and delivery delays.

“This is expensive for our businesses, and it’s also a waste of trees which in some cases has been growing for 7 to 8 years. It’s frustrating and inconvenient for Christmas customers who are eagerly waiting to receive their tree. We’re sorry, however, that some customers didn’t get their tree on the due date.

Tuffnells courier informed us that a greater proportion of the deliveries they make are now being done by subcontractors due to ongoing shortages in drivers and industry problems.

“This makes it difficult for customers to follow deliveries and takes longer to receive updates about the location of parcels.

It is understandable that courier delays may be delayed due to difficult circumstances. However, when will companies realize that making empty promises and ignoring customers will only lead to their business being ruined? 

It’s not something I will be buying again.  

It’s not all bad: The nice and naughty lists for this week

Every week, I examine companies that are not up to the mark and others that go above and beyond for their customers.

Miss: John Lewis Peter, a reader, criticized me this week.

He said: ‘I bought a Samsung 65 inch TV in 2017 with a 5 year warranty for £3,300. John Lewis received notification from their authorized repair technicians, that the parts were not available for repair when it broke down in August 2021.

The company wrote off the television and gave me a new one, either a credit card refund or a gift certificate refund.

“I chose the replacement TV, but I had some problems ordering in the store. John Lewis suggested that I order online if I received a gift certificate equal to the price of the TV. I accepted.

“The TV arrived. It was evident after the installation that it wasn’t as sharp as the one I had before.

“After several discussions with John Lewis, the TV was rejected and I opted for a return to my credit card. That left me free to shop around.

‘I bought another TV from a different retailer but after a week passed, I received an email from John Lewis with an e-card refund of £1,699 – the cost of their recommended direct replacement TV.

“Now, I’ve been trying for weeks to receive the credit card refund as promised.

This is clearly a frustrating situation. You are thousands short of your money, assuming that the money will be refunded to you.

I contacted John Lewis to see what happened – and why you hadn’t got a proper refund.

John Lewis spokeswoman said that they were sorry for Mr G’s experiences. This is not the service level we aim to offer. We have reached out to Mr G to apologize and issued him a complete refund on his card, as well as an expression of our gratitude.

Although you’ve now been credited with the money, let us hope John Lewis does a better job next time.

A John Lewis customer was given a gift card rather than a refund to his credit card as promised

John Lewis gave a customer a gift certificate and not his credit card, as promised

Hit: Marion would like to thank you for your happiness. The Department of Work and Pensions

Her response was: “I was sole proprietor, and closed my company in 2019,” My state pension was to be received in September 2021. It was found that there had been no tax contributions in 2020/2021 and my 2019/2020 year was not complete.

‘I had contract out of State Second Pension so that I could get less than new state pension. To find out the cost of voluntary contributions, I called DWP in June 2021.

‘I was told it would cost me approximately £1,500 for the two missing years to get an extra £10 per week pension but realistically I had to live for 3 years and after that I would be in profit.

“At one point in the chat the service advisor asked me if I ever cared for a child. As my son-in law and my daughter-in laws are the key workers, I care for my 4-year old granddaughter for only a few days per week. The Specified Adult Childcare allowance was mentioned by him.

‘Although my daughter-in-law earns over £50,000, thereby not getting child benefit, the advisor said that as long as she was registered for child benefit even though not claiming it, I could apply and this would give me enough credit so I wouldn’t have to pay voluntary contributions.

He said, “He may have a delay till after my state retirement but should it be backdated.”

“This conversation took place at the beginning of June. I sent off the completed forms mid-June, had confirmation fairly quickly and it was confirmed I would get the £10 uplift before I got my state pension mid September this year.

“It was amazing. The Specified Adult Childcare allowance was something I’d never heard about. I know a lot about finances, but not much about pensions.

“My pension came at exactly the same higher rate as it should.”

It is common for the DWP to get a negative reputation. So it’s nice to hear about someone who has benefited greatly from their assistance.  

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