My broken-down Kia is stuck in France and the RAC won’t bring it home

My four-year-old Kia broke down while we were on holiday in Brittany in August and I had to use the RAC European breakdown cover I had taken out to get it repaired.

The mobile mechanic who came to the campsite couldn’t fix it so we were advised to have it moved to a nearby Kia dealership.

But more than a month later, it’s still waiting to go on the ramps for a diagnostic test. We have been given a number of excuses including that the garage is very busy, short-staffed or simply that it will be looked at tomorrow (which never comes).

The RAC will not repatriate the car until a diagnostic test is carried out to satisfy the policy requirement that it is worth more than the cost of repairs. The Kia garage will only deal with the RAC’s French partner, so I am unable to get any more clarity.

When I call for updates there never seems to be any progress and the RAC seems unable, or unwilling, to seek an alternative, such as moving the car to another garage.

Needless to say, as a one-car family who had their vehicle towed away in August, to still have no indication of what’s wrong and how long it will take to fix, is a massive worry.

We are rapidly exhausting the goodwill of friends and neighbours for lifts.

I have made a formal complaint to the RAC but the window to respond is eight weeks by which time I will have run out of time to claim on the insurance policy.

It is bad enough when your car breaks down at home, let alone abroad, and this saga has dragged on for far too long.

The shortcomings of the RAC have been highlighted in this column before but, in this case, the problem lay with Kia France.

Because your car is still under warranty, it was responsible for progressing the repair, and it was not forthcoming with updates that could be relayed to you.

Two months on, and everyone, including the RAC, has run out of patience, with this situation, not least because the picture keeps changing. A likely “exhaust problem” evolved into a faulty oil pump and an engine replacement is now being mooted.

After we got involved, the RAC agreed to go beyond your policy entitlement and repatriate the car to a Kia garage of your choice in the UK. It has arrived there and, although it is not back on the road, you are grateful that day looks closer.

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