AA refuses help to grieving relativesFamily told policy ended with death

04 January 2006

A grieving family has condemned the AA after it refused to move the car of an AA member who had died at the wheel.

David Barker, aged 58, is believed to have had a heart attack while driving near his home in Sheffield. When relatives later tried to move his car, the battery was flat, but they found his AA membership details inside the Renault.

When they rang the service, they were told they'd have to rejoin because Mr Barker's membership ended with his death.

The AA has apologised 'unreservedly' for the distress caused to the family, saying it was wrong to refuse help and its procedures allowed for discretion.

But Which? was surprised by the policy that membership ends on death, since we've previously exposed the AA for refusing to hand back membership fees when a member dies, despite requests from grieving families to refund the remainder of the year's fee.

In our article, in June 2004, we told how it refused to hand over GBP 90 to the daughter of an AA member who'd died. Instead, the AA gave the cash to its charity arm, the AA Motoring Trust which campaigns on issues such as clamping. At the time, the AA defended its policy of not refunding by saying that it had to ensure it could fund its services.

We asked the AA whether its policy was that membership ends on death, and also whether it still continued its no-refund stance. We have yet to receive a response.