Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wooosah -- Day 56

This is one of those days. I mean one of those days.

We lost our brakes yesterday, which was a terrifying moment, but we survived and persevered. Alive and happy, and clutching our roadside assistance info, we figure we're going to be okay. The tow truck showed up 47 minutes before we expected him, which was amazing, but then he left without a word. I called dispatch and he needed a bigger truck, which is understandable. This is a 34' Class A Motorhome, not something that you tow everyday. We have Good Sam roadside assistance, and one of the cool things they do is send a follow-up automated message to make sure that you're taken care of. Since we had not been, it connected me to customer service. It's late, dark, getting colder, and we're still stuck on the side of the road.

I do not blame Good Sam, because I know they don't have tow trucks. They are contracting the work out to a provider, and they have no control over what happens after that point. However, it was really disappointing to have the person on the other end of the line tell me at 11 o'clock at night that there was no way anyone was going to come and tow me back to our campground. Fortunately, we live in an RV, so technically we were already home -- but it would have been nice to have electricity and heat, which we get from plugging in at our campsite. We hunkered down to wait for the morning, when I was supposed to call to reschedule the tow.

As dawn broke, the chill in the RV was annoying, but the smoldering anger at being left on the side of the road warmed me from within. I called Good Sam just after 8am to see how long it would take to get a tow truck out. They were courteous and quick and dispatched one right away, to arrive within the hour. When the confirmation text message came through, the destination still said Cedar Hill State Park. See, last night they were supposed to tow us there, and then come back to tow us somewhere to get our brakes fixed.  That's the policy: either to a service shop, or if that is not available, to a safe place.  "No worries," I'm thinking, "I'll just call and tell them they have the wrong destination."

Every time I call Good Sam, I have to repeat all of my information: name, phone number, membership number, and then explain my situation. This, if you are keeping track, is phone call number five in the past twelve hours. After the brief explanation, they tried to get in contact with the person that had dispatched my truck incorrectly. They asked if I would mind being called back. I've got nothing else to do today, right? I can't go anywhere.

Good Sam called me back, and apologized for the mix up, arranging for another tow truck to be dispatched to take us to a Prevost service center to get our brakes fixed. While I was on the phone, the first tow truck arrived and I explained to him that he had the wrong information and his service was not needed. He asked to speak to the Good Sam rep to clarify, so I handed my phone over to let these strangers figure it out. After much confusion, Ed from Massey Wrecker and Towing got us hooked up for the drive to Prevost, about 8 miles away.

Ed is a really cool guy. Professional, friendly, and helpful. I really appreciated his attitude, and the fact that he showed up with the right equipment to complete the job. After dealing with the ineptitude of the Good Sam rep, it was nice to have someone competent to deal with.

We arrived at Prevost just in time to interrupt their catered lunch only to find out that Good Sam had not notified them that we were coming. The service department supervisor also warned us that it would be $115 per hour for labor, at a four hour minimum JUST TO DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM.  I immediately called Good Sam back to make sure that they had taken us to the right place. While I was on the phone, Anya continued to speak with the supervisor and described the problem to him. He informed her that they don't normally work on our kind of rig, and they may not even have the parts. It could be days or even weeks to get the job done. He didn't understand why we weren't towed to a regular RV place? I relayed this information to Good Sam, and they insisted that this was the nearest place that could do the work, and if I wanted to be towed elsewhere, I would have to pay for it.


I explained that their job, as my roadside assistance, was to tow me to a place that could get the brakes fixed. They have not yet done that, and I would like for them to complete the job for which they have been paid. I also mentioned that this situation was now entering it's sixteenth hour without resolution, and I was quite unhappy. I may have raised my voice a little.

The folks at Prevost were super nice, and let us hang out in their customer lounge with free sodas and cable TV while we waited for Good Sam to resolve our situation.  Another hour or so later I get a call from Good Sam informing me that they had good news and bad news. They found a place that can work on our brakes! But it's not going to be until the first week of January!


Our reservation was paid up through the 27th at the Cedar Hill State Park, and they have a limit of 14 consecutive days. I figured that I could throw myself on their mercy and beg for an extension, since I have no brakes, and couldn't conceivably move the rig when the time was up anyway. Plus, it's not that far for Randall or Jason to come pick us up to do grocery shopping when we run out of food, or for disc golfing. It's a workable situation, although not ideal.

Good Sam refused to tow me to the park. "Policy states that we are to tow you to the service center, if one can be verified, so that is where we are going to tow you. If you want to go back to the park, you have to pay for that towing."


So what am I supposed to do for the next two-and-a-half weeks while my rig is at the service center waiting to get looked at? "We have discounts on hotels and rental cars, if you have the Travel Assistance package on your membership."


I don't have Travel Assistance. Why would I? I live in an RV! I'm not going to be renting cars, or staying in hotels. I stay in my RV and I drive my RV. "Would you like for me to transfer you to member services to see what they can do for you?" I was so defeated that I let her transfer me. Of course member services couldn't do anything for me, I had no opted in to that package. I hung up the phone and wanted to rage. I don't like feeling helpless, and now here we are about to be homeless for two weeks.


This roadside "assistance" wasn't very helpful. They brought me to somewhere that I didn't want to be, and now they're going to do it again? NO. I'm not going to stand for this.

I called through the automated system, locked and loaded, ready to get this situation resolved to MY satisfaction. I am PAYING for this service, and Good Sam had screwed me over.

I will spare you the gory details, because it wasn't pretty. There was a lot of rapid fire heated logic bullets tearing through the flesh of the weak phone reps, mowing them down on my way to the boss battle with the person who I knew could make decisions. THE MANAGER.

Being the coward that most middle managers are, I actually didn't even get a chance to speak with him. I got a call back an hour after I had laid waste to the phone reps that didn't want to give me what I demanded basically granting me everything that I had been requesting -- which was simply that if it was going to be over two weeks before I could get my brakes fixed, I would like to be towed to the park where I had paid for a reservation. And then I would like for my rig to be towed to my appointment, but at the expense of Good Sam, since that would complete the job for which they were hired.


So, they dispatched faithful Ed to come take me back to the park. Randall came and picked up Anya, since it was now almost 3pm and someone had to stay with Zoe while the boys went to work. I waited for the tow truck and drank some more free sodas.

Tasted like victory.

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