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Old 05-30-2002, 19:17   #1 (permalink)
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NRMA road-side assistance fee increases

From SMH

Looks like NRMA want a record profit this year.

Motorists will pay up to $140 a year for NRMA road-side assistance after the board yesterday approved user-pays fee increases.

Those on the current $55 rate will be pushed onto a $65 plan with four annual callouts and a towing limit of eight kilometres. For $75 they can have unlimited calls with 20km of towing.

Drivers wanting unlimited callouts and no limit on towing will be asked to pay $140.

Current life members will still be entitled to free assistance, but other motorists will only get a 50 per cent discount when they reach 50 years' service, leaving them to pay up to $70 a year.

The NRMA chief executive, Rob Carter, defended the new plan, saying it was essential for lifting the service's financial position and to pay for new technology.


"Last year the business value of our business went back substantially," he said.

Denying the fee increases were the result of demutual-
isation in 2000, Mr Carter said: "This year we will see the overall value of the business increase. The board had to face up to the situation. We couldn't continue to incur losses in the budget."

NRMA expects the fee changes will take it from a $37.1 million loss in 2001-02 to a break-even position in 2003-4.

The membership packaging initiative will give an additional $7 million in 2002/03 and $21 million the following year.

"The most important thing in their [members'] minds is the certainty ... of knowing that their road service will go on in the future [without] deteriorating," said Mr Carter, who argued the new prices compared favourably with Victoria.

There, the RACV charges $146 for its top product. But in Queensland motorists pay $50 a year for unlimited callouts.


"We are not slugging the membership to make a profit; we are trying to secure their road service," Mr Carter said.

A new dispatch system would improve the accuracy of estimated arrival times, while vans would get new computers.

An NRMA director, Richard Talbot, said members had been promised fees would not rise as a result of demutualisation, when the insurance company became a separate company. But he said it now had been proven that demutualisation was "the worst thing that ever happened to NRMA members".


The new road service fees

$65 Four calls, 8km city towing.
$75 Unlimited calls, 20km city towing.
$140 Unlimited calls, unlimited towing, for long-distance drivers.
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Old 05-30-2002, 20:19   #2 (permalink)
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I think there's also an option to pay for 5 years worth up front at $55 per year. Not sure of the exact details but my mum mentioned ot it me this morning. She's been with them for about 25 years now.
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Old 05-30-2002, 20:26   #3 (permalink)
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I was with NRMA years ago but left when they starting telling people what panel beater they had to take their car to.

I think they are getting too big for their boots, and a $20 price rise for unlimited service is proof. I understand that they have to cover costs but $20 is going to hurt people who can't afford a new or reliable car.
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