AAA questioned this driver’s claim. Then Better Call Harry got involved.

Here’s what drivers need to know if their vehicle ever breaks down and they’re in need of a tow.
When Oliver made the claim, he said AAA denied it.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 12:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 4:15 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - When Harry Oliver’s 20-year-old Volvo broke down, he pulled off the road and did what millions of drivers have been doing for decades.

He called AAA, the American Automobile Association (AAA), a nonprofit founded in 1902. Its brand is synonymous with towing, but according to its website, it also offers travel, insurance and financial services to 61 million members.

Oliver called AAA and waited about an hour. When the tow truck arrived, Oliver said the driver took photos of the car and offered to give him a ride to a AAA-approved shop.

“He told me they’d take me to one of (AAA’s) trusted dealers,” Oliver said. “I said, that would be fine.’ It’s about five miles away, so there would be no charge on the tow.”

The driver took the car to S & J Automotive Repair in Riverdale. Oliver was inside getting an estimate and did not see the tow truck driver unload the vehicle, but after the driver left, the repair shop’s owner claimed he damaged the oil pan and Oliver would need to file a claim with AAA.

But when Oliver made the claim, he said AAA denied it.

“Every time I called, I’d talk to two or three people and [they’d] say, you’re in the wrong department,” Oliver said. “I’d be on the phone for an hour talking every time.”

Oliver said AAA denied the claim because he didn’t have proof. “I asked AAA to give me the photos,” he said, referring to the pictures taken by the tow truck driver. “I gave them a week, but they never did respond with the photos.”

Oliver paid nearly $1,000 for the repair.


Atlanta News First contacted AAA, and a media spokesperson agreed to escalate the case. The following day AAA issued this response:

“Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We have investigated this matter and are committed to making this right for our member. We are replacing the oil pan and have reached out to our member to apologize for how this was handled.”

The Takeaway

You cannot argue with video. Better Call Harry advises every driver to take a walkaround video of their car (including underneath) to document the car’s current condition. The same rule applies to automotive shops, and if a towing company or a mechanic claims the damage was preexisting, the video proves it wasn’t.

If there’s something you would like Atlanta News First′s Consumer Investigator Better Call Harry to look into, fill out this submission form.