CHARLOTTE, N.C. - AAA has been helping stranded drivers for years.
But multiple former members tell Action 9's Jason Stoogenke the company dropped them for using the service too often.
Mike Robinson said he joined AAA because it had a great reputation.
"They'd been really good for the 20 years that I had them," Robinson said.
He told Stoogenke he needed to be towed nine times over the last few years. Then, AAA dropped him as a member.
"The woman on the phone was, 'Let me get a supervisor,' or something. He gets on there, 'Well, I'm sorry, but we've had to cancel you for too much use,'" Robinson said.
"I got all mad and said, 'This can't be right,'" he said. "Everybody I told it to, 'Ah, that can't be real.' Oh, well, it is. Unfortunately."
Beverly Poston became a AAA member in 1996.
"It was just the comfort of knowing that, if I got stuck on the road, somebody was going to come pick me up and take me home," she said.
She said she used AAA a lot over the years for all sorts of roadside assistance.
She didn't give Action 9 an exact number. AAA sent her a letter, dropping her as a member for using its service "disproportionately."
"I was mad, hurt, confused," she said.
She said she never got a warning about excessive use.
"They always took my premiums," Poston said. "They always renewed me."
AAA wouldn't discuss these complaints on camera, but sent Action 9 detailed responses to Stoogenke's questions.
It allows members four calls for service per year. It's right there in its terms and conditions.
AAA said it periodically reviews how much members use roadside assistance. If they use it more than the four times allowed, AAA may cancel their membership.
AAA said, "Disproportionate use has been occurring at AAA for years and just recently got worse over the last 4 to 5 years. We now have better analytics for tracking a members' usage."
AAA has more than 2 million members in the Carolinas. It said it drops fewer than 1% of them each year.
The organization told Stoogenke, "AAA Carolinas has always been committed to delivering the highest quality emergency roadside service (ERS) experience at a fair price to our 2.2 million members. As part of this commitment, we regularly review all memberships to ensure that ERS usage falls within the established standards. Our review of these memberships determined that their road service usage was significantly disproportionate during recent years to that of other members. This disproportionate usage threatens to hinder our ability to deliver quality service at reasonable rates to all other members in their time of need."
If AAA drops you, it actually gives you money back. Robinson, Poston and the other people Stoogenke spoke with got refunds.
If you sign up for AAA -- or any roadside assistance -- you don't have a right to use the service. It's a contractual relationship like any other. You can drop them and they can drop you, so read the terms and conditions carefully.
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