Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Quick RCR Review - Call Out Number One...

I guess the most important two questions are could the engineer find a fault, and could they fix it. 

After that I think it comes down to punctuality, engineers customer service, the initial phone call and its customer service and does the service get close to offering value for money. 

So that makes six quick questions to answer based on call out number one

1. Yes - I suspected either a leaking pipe (many of the cooling pipes had spent a good year or so under water so seem likely to perish sooner or later) or a disturbed joint. I guess it could have been a head gasket or internal water ways problem but that did seem less likely. The actual fault was no more than a leaking joint at the thermostat housing and one below the header tank/heat stack. RCR only covers the boat for the engine coolant system and not domestic. Ours are interlinked and you can't isolate one from t'other. It's a system design fault that I probably will get sorted after all it should be no more than a couple of isolation taps. 

2. Yes - not add easy to fix as you may think, parts of our engine are very nearly impossible to get to. In fact the rear bulk head has had an access hatch cut through (now welded up) at some point to get to the front end of the engine. Tom or engineer is a cross between a meerkat and a contortionist. This was why I called out RCR. As wedged as I could get down the side of the engine I was still a good half a foot from the last of the pipes down in the corner of the engine room. Whilst twisted into angles that he won't be able to get into for the majority of his career Tom also 'advised' me as to what joints along the domestic system may also need a look at in the future. After making him a nice pot of Yorkshire tea I had a quick look but they all looked fine :-) its not that RCR don't do any work on the domestic side it's just that they charge £40 for the call out if that's where the fault lies.

Tom, as soon as he pops up he's gone back down again :-) 

So for me that's the two most important bits sorted, I'm not to worried whether the engineer is polite or sits down me engine 'ole with his flask, cheese and pickle sarnies and a packet of woodbines! As long as the job gets done. 

3. Punctually - surely a fluke, Tom arrived at the exact time his office had said he would - to the minute and we were about half a mile from the nearest road so he had a bit of a walk. 

4. Tom was very polite and although only a young guy he was happy to come inside LJ for a chat and a brew whilst the engine was warming up and the system pressurising. He even complimented the open airy feel of LJ, so straight into Deb's good books then. 

5. Our membership paperwork is at Pips and all I had was an old email with our membership number. I googled RCR to look for a breakdown call out number but could only find the main line. I dialed expecting to be hanging on the phone for a time whilst someone gave me a number (that I expected to be an 0800 - so chargeable on most mobile lines) or to have to go through long lists of menu options. After dialing the main number option one is for breakdowns so that was a good start. Charlotte answered within three rings and found our details on their system. After going through a couple of questions she said she would find out which engineer was local to us and call me back. By the time I had sat down with my book she had called back to explain that there was an engineer local to us who was already on another job. She would call back as soon as he had finished with an ETA. Charlotte called back and Tom was with us within 45 minutes. At this point, in line with the info on their web site she asked if I wanted anyone contacted in relation to the breakdown and if we wanted Tom to stop off and pick up any supplies (maybe the AA and RAC should ask if you want a sarnie and coffee brought out as well)

6. Value for money - yes. We are bronze members as the higher levels give you recovery to your permanent mooring , subject to conditions, which we don't need as CC'ers. £124 pounds a year for four unrelated breakdowns seems fair enough. However after your first 30 days membership there is a list of parts that are covered as well. Not just cheap stuff but things like gearboxes and water pumps that can cost into the thousands of pounds. so its probably worth £10 per month to insure those items for breakdown. 

So out first experience of RCR has been a good one and we were able to be up at six this morning and be on out way. 

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