Like many who make money online I still have a day job. I answer the phones for roadside assistance which covers the total of the United States. So from California to New York and everywhere is between if you have called roadside assistance chances are you may have gotten me on the phone. This article is about half rant and half educational for anyone calling roadside in the hopes that maybe, just maybe the next time I get someone on the phone they might be able to help me help them.
Now there are a lot of people calling from roadside that are polite even while in very difficlut situations they realize that being nasty toward someone that is going to help you doesn't help the situation. But for those who do not below id a list of tips to help you when dealing with roadside.
1) Death threats are not needed - I don't need to hear how your going to show up at my work to: A) Smash my face in B) Beat the snot out of me C) Shoot me dead.
2) Belittling isn't needed - If your attacking me or someone like me personally while we are attempting the get detailed info needed to help you we might miss something. This may mean the difference between you getting the right service, tow truck, etc which may mean you need to wait for someone else to come out after you've already waited an hour.
3) Swearing isn't needed - When I was growing up if I had half of what comes out of customers mouths coming out of mine I would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap or gotten a serious spanking. Keep in mind I would have been a child so if it isn't acceptable for a child it isn't acceptable for an adult. What many customers don't realize is that we have a policy that allows us to warn the customer not to use profane language two times and if they continue a third time we can let them know we are disconnecting and they may call back.
4) Be intelligent - For anyone calling keep in mind we need to know where you are to get someone to you. If you are on that street, in that town, in that state, that doesn't help us, know where you are before you call, if you don't know how can we know and send someone to you? That isn't to say you need to know that exact address necessarily cross roads will do or even if your at a business the name so we can search it. Something we can work with basically. Same thing for where it's going if it's a tow, we can't get through the system without a location it recognizes so just because a towing service in your area knows where it is doesn't mean we can just dispatch. We also need to plot it to be sure of your coverage.
5) Assess the situation before calling - If you are about to attempt to jump start your vehicle or change your tire don't call roadside and leave us in the background while you spend 5 - 10 - 15 minutes trying to change your tire. Try to do it first if it doesn't work call us then. While we spend that time on the line with you somewhere there is a baby locked inside a car that needed us to dispatch a locksmith or an elderly lady stalled out on the side of a busy iterstate highway. Use common sense.
Also if you just a few things to note: A) If you have a convertible with the top down your not really locked out of your vehicle. B) If your keys are in the trunk and your in your vehicle and you have a trunk release you can get your keys out of the trunk, you don't need to call.
6) Understand your coverage - Calling and pretending you are covered when you know that you are not isn't going to work the first, second or third time you do it. Third time isn't a charm in this case. We will know during the call, if we can't find it we will call your insurance company and they will confirm for us that you don't. At that point you have wasted everyone's time and it will just be that much longer until someone comes that you must pay.
7) Understand distance - If you are in Michigan and you live in New York and you want to be towed all the way home chances are that won't happen because:
A) Towing services handle specific set areas (usually within 20 - 30 miles sometimes they will go further),
B) Your coverage will not be enough, we handle 95% of roadside for the US and the greatest coverage I have seen in 5 years working is 100 miles, most are covered from 10 - 20 miles however. Keep in mind that if someone were to agree to tow it and your only covered for a 10 miles that you would be paying for about 590 miles. Towing services charge by the mile. I have seen as low as $3/mile and as high as $10/mile. If you pay an average of $6/mile at 590 miles you'll be paying over $3500 dollars.
Note: Despite what you may want to believe there is no roadside coverage that will pay for your vehicle to be towed anywhere.
8) Understand we have our own service providers - The reason that we can handle the entire US and you receive roadside at a small amount paid per month is because we have developed a network of service providers across the US that can provide service at a lower price with the promise that we will call them to do more services. We are contracted with them to do that. When you purchase your roadside you agree to that. If you call us and want us to set it up with John Doe some random guy from your town and you want us to cover it that won't happen. You can pay him and send in your receipt if you want but if we set it up it will be with our contracted service providers.
9) Understand wait time - Chances are if you are calling at a normal time wait times will be 60 minutes during the week or 90 minutes on the weekend. If this is to long for you don't call. You can't argue yourself a faster time this is what service providers on the road are giving us to tell you. The reason it takes that long is because that is how many jobs behind they are. They will do it as soon as possible and sometimes it can be shorter, but sometimes longer.
We can't send tow trucks out if roads are closed. If you just had a blizzard and the roads are closed we can't send a tow truck because the roads are closed that's what closed roads means. Also keep in mind if you are calling after a major blizzard that has crippled your state for a few days chances are if we are towing we'll be so far backed up that wait times may run over 8 hours.
10) Understand what we do - There are things that roadside will do and things we will not.
A) We do not do air deliveries. We do not bring out tires. If you have a spare tire we can change it to that tire if you don't it needs to be towed we can't send someone to pump up your tire. They don't get paid from us for that. Your also not covered for it under any roadside. If you call us and we set it as a tire change and the service provider goes and does you a great favor by pumping up your tire and leaves and it goes flat and again you call us you've just wasted everyone's time again
B) We will not pick you up at your home. If you need your vehicle towed and you got a ride back to your home leaving your car on the side of the interstate without a key we can't tow it without you going back to it. The service provider won't get paid to drive 10 - 20 miles out of his way to pick up your key and will not tow a vehicle with no one there and no key. The only ones authorized to do that are police. (and if you did leave your vehicle on the side of an interstate they may already have towed it to an impound lot.)
C) We don't send anyone to work on your car. They will jump start, do lock outs, tire changes, fuel deliveries, tows. A service provider will not work on your car on the side of the road or even at your home. If it needs repairs it needs to be towed somewhere to have that done.
D) Tow trucks can't provide rides for more than two people. If you have a vehicle with 7 people in it you need to make arrangements to get everyone home or where your going on your own. Roadside doesn't cover rides at all only the tow and tow trucks are only built with maximum three seats. If it is a truly dangerous situation on the side of the road in the desert and you have no way at all of getting back to civilization and someone will die or be injured we can call 911/ the police for you and get you to them on our phone.
E) We can't tow out of a 6 - 7 foot parking garage. Keep in mind the clearance of a parking garage is 6 - 7 foot high so the truck roof would have to be at least a foot lower for anyone to attempt to drive inside the garage. You won't find a tow truck 5 - 6 feet tall, they are all taller than that. The vehicle needs to be pushed to an entrance.
F)If you lose your key and have a newer car with a key that has a microchip inside we can't cut your key. The only one who can is the dealer of that type of vehicle and with the newer key they need your vehicle there to test it. You must get towed in, they must make the key, code the key and try the key on your door to make sure it works. The making of the key isn't covered under any roadside assistance an may cost a few hundred dollars in some cases.
G) If you lock your key in the trunk and don't have a trunk release there are two ways to get it out have a new key made(which mentioned previously may cost you as much as a few hundred dollars) or have someone break your trunk open. In which case you'll probably have to pay to get it repaired. Locksmiths will not be able to get into your trunk directly only your door.
H) If you are towing a trailer and your vehicle towing it breaks down and is covered under roadside normally it is the only vehicle that can be towed and covered. Any tow for your trailer is completely at cost to you. If you are carrying livestock we will not tow it period. You will need to make other arrangements personally to get the trailer off the road.
I) Retows are not covered. If you breakdown and get your vehicle towed to a shop and find out that they are going to charge too much and call back for a second tow you aren't covered. Roadside(all roadside) will only cover one tow per breakdown. They will not tow your vehicle around until you find the best price. That's your job before you have it towed the first time.
J) We do not deliver gas to a gas station. In most cases with fuel deliveries the gas itself isn't covered just the trip for them to come out, so you'll have to pay for it anyway. But even when the fuel is covered no one will bring you gas at a gas station. Emergency roadside provides you with gas when you run out of gas on the side of the road accidentally. They may bring it to your home even if you didn't realize and ran out of gas but not to a gas station. Also if you continuously call for fuel deliveries and it is clear that you are just abusing it whoever you get your roadside through will cancel it.
K) Roadside will not deliver you food, beverages and will not stop to pick you up groceries, gum or a package of twinkies (believe it or not I had this call).
Stay tuned I'm sure this article will be added to in the future.
Aiden Xue from Auckland NewZealand on July 22, 2016:
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Candle Hour (author) from North America on October 27, 2011:
squidoomakemoney glad you enjoyed it thanks.
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