Orkward! RAC mechanic in Devon rings woman stuck 754 miles away after a breakdown on Orkney to say ‘I’ll be there… but it might take more than an hour’
- Hayley Green was assigned a mechanic based in Devon despite being in Orkney
- RAC has apologised to Ms Green and is investigating a possible system problem
When Hayley Green’s car broke down on a remote Scottish island, she thought she might have to wait a while for a mechanic to come and fix it.
What she wasn’t expecting was a 14-and-a-half-hour wait – for a repairman 754 miles away.
Ms Green had been driving in Stromness, Orkney, when a warning message flashed up on her electric car.
The council worker contacted the RAC online and filled in her details, including her location and postcode.
But she was surprised when the mechanic assigned to help her phoned to check he had the right postcode – and revealed he was in Devon.
Hayley Green had been driving in Stromness, Orkney, when a warning message flashed up on her electric car. The council worker contacted the RAC online and filled in her details, including her location and postcode. But she was surprised when the mechanic assigned to help her phoned to check he had the right postcode – and revealed he was in Devon
She told BBC Radio Orkney that the mechanic laughed when she told him where she was, adding: ‘He said he thought it make take him a little bit longer than an hour to get to me.
‘But he was ever so friendly, ever so nice – and we agreed he wasn’t going to be my guy.’
After arranging for a local garage to come and recover the Nissan, Ms Green said: ‘My car hasn’t been able to be repaired, so it’s got to go off to be fixed but that’s a different problem.
‘The fact is that I was left in Stromness, waiting for a guy from Devon.
‘I haven’t checked if there’s a [similar] postcode in Devon, but I’d be highly surprised if there is.’
The RAC has apologised to Ms Green and said it is investigating a possible problem with its online system.
A spokesman said: ‘The service [Ms Green] received was unfortunately not up to our usual high standard. We’re looking at online breakdown reports from Orkney to see what may have happened.’ BBC Radio Orkney has said it knows of two similar cases involving RAC members, and another instance with a member of a different national recovery organisation. However, it is not clear how those drivers reported their problems.
Breakdown companies aren’t the only firms to have overlooked the Scottish islands.
In 2013, Google apologised after Jura, an island in the Hebrides, disappeared from its online maps.
Internet users noticed that the island, off the west coast of the mainland, was visible on satellite view but not on the maps view.
A spokesman later told the BBC: ‘We are sorry about that. We’re aware of the problem, and our engineers are beavering away to fix it.
‘We hope to have the map of Jura back to normal as soon as possible.’
Islanders have also complained about problems getting deliveries.
To help resolve issues on Orkney, Royal Mail is trialling a drone which will deliver items from the mainland.
It is hoped the move will alleviate issues caused by poor weather and pauses in the ferry schedule.
However, despite the issues, Orkney was still named the best place to live in the UK in 2019.
Cheap housing, low crimes and good schools were among the reasons it was ranked so highly, according to a Halifax survey. The bank also claimed the population was one of the happiest and healthiest in the country.
The survey did not, however, rate the archipelago’s breakdown services.
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