RAC apologise after woman left stranded

A WOMAN left stranded alone in her car for hours has been offered an "insulting" level of compensation from the RAC after a catalogue of errors.Josephine Wolo, of Hawthorne Drive, Ipswich, was kept waiting for more than four hours after calling the recovery service six times after a night out in the town.

A WOMAN left stranded alone in her car for hours has been offered an "insulting" level of compensation from the RAC after a catalogue of errors.

Josephine Wolo, of Hawthorne Drive, Ipswich, was kept waiting for more than four hours after calling the recovery service six times after a night out in the town. The following day an engineer took just ten minutes to repair the broken clutch cable.

And to make matters worse the company only offered her £50 and a bouquet in compensation. Mrs Wolo said: "For a company worth millions this is an insult."

She claimed that the money was not even an issue, but the fact that it took the Evening Star to step in before she even got an apology.

Mrs Wolo, 42, was driving some female friends back to Leiston in her brother's mini-bus when it broke down on Valley Road shortly after 1.30am on Sunday.

She called the RAC and expected to be back on the road soon after.

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But after a two-and-a-half hour wait she demanded that the breakdown service send a taxi to take her passengers home. Meanwhile she waited alone for another hour-and-a-half before finally getting home at 5.45am.

She said: "I felt vulnerable and scared on my own. I could have been pregnant, needed medical attention, or elderly, but they wouldn't have known as no one bothered to ask any questions. By my last two calls I was really distressed."

"I was shocked that they would let someone just sit there for that long. I had to suggest they order a taxi to take my friends home, they never offered."

At 1.39am an RAC operator said he would send an engineer to her. But an hour and a half later there was no sign of help so Mrs Wolo called again. This time a female operator said she would call Mrs Wolo back.

She waited another half an hour for someone to call back before speaking to a different operator who said she would call her back in ten minutes. By now it was 3.36am.

The woman called back with the news that a contractor had accepted the job, but then refused it so there was no help was coming at all. They asked Mrs Wolo to give them an hour to get to her.

Mrs Wolo told them that was not good enough and asked them to order a taxi for her friends. This arrived at 4.10am, then Mrs Wolo was left alone.

Mrs Wolo said: "At 4.52 I rang back and waited on hold for six minutes then hung up and called back again.

"I spoke to another lady and had to go through the whole story again as she had no record of my previous calls.

"By this time I was really upset as I had been there since 1.40am. She put me on hold and then after 8 minutes I was cut off.

"At 5.08am I was scared out of my wits and phoned yet again. This time a man answered and I had to go through my whole story again. By now I was so upset and angry I was in tears."

"He told me there were no engineers on until 7am, and there was no point in me staying there any longer. He ordered me a taxi home.

"If they knew this, then why had they made me wait on my own all night?"

A spokeswoman for the RAC said: "We apologise unreservedly to Mrs Wolo for the inconvenience caused and a manager will be speaking to her to discuss various compensation offers. They will range from free membership to a financial settlement.

"We had an issue with a contractor who was given the job. He had trouble using a new electrical system which caused the confusion."

Mrs Wolo said: "There's no way I would stay with the RAC their service is diabolical. I work as a finance agent and work a lot of evenings in country areas and am scared that they wouldn't turn up if I needed them."

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Incident Time line - catalogue of errors.

1.39am - An RAC operator said he would try to get someone to help.

3.00am - No help had arrived so she called again and was told someone would phone her back.

3.30am - No one called back so Mrs Wolo tried again to and a female operator could find no record of her call.

3.36am - An operator called back with news that no one was coming and requested an hour to see if she could resolve the situation. Mrs Wolo demanded they send out a taxi to take her friends home.

4.10am - Taxi arrives and Mrs Wolo is left alone. Operator calls to say they will let her know in thirty minutes where the engineer is. She is now their priority.

4.52am - No one had called so she rang again and was put on hold.

4.59am - Hung up, then called again and had to go through whole story with a new operator.

5.08am - Now very scared, upset and tired, Mrs Wolo called again was told that there were no engineers until 7am and a different operator ordered her a taxi home.

5.45am - She arrives home at last but her mini-bus is still stranded.

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