This happened about an hour or 2 ago and I wanted to post this then but had to wait for my blood pressure to go down because my hands were shaking so bad. For those that don’t know, I work ERS (Emergency roadside assistance) as a dispatcher.
Yes I’m going to be abbreviating a lot and sorry ahead of time as this is going to be a bit of a rant and longgggg and I’m not doing a TLDR.
I had a driver call in about this call. He had gotten on location (OL) and didn’t see beforehand in the notes, that the member (mbr) wasn’t OL and had the keys with them. He had called the mbr and ended up getting yelled at by them. Looking at the notes, I see one that says this was mbrs 3rd try at getting a tow and that mbr doesn’t want anyone to call them on this and that we are to just tow the vehicle (veh).
That’s a problem. We don’t tow vehicles w/o the keys unless the keys have been lost and/or damaged. To tow vehicles w/o keys, you need to use a wheel lift (wl) and dollies or you can sometimes skate it up onto a flatbed (fb – not facebook) and some vehicles you can get away with just WL. I don’t remember which vehs you can just use a WL for. I think they have to be 2wd or something like that. If I’m remember correctly, the mbr had a jeep patriot. I just know that it was gonna need to be dollied if no keys.
Reason we don’t tow w/o keys is b/c it can damage the veh if we have to drag it onto a fb. Dollies can be used but most garages (gar) are not willing to take the liability risk in using dollies, when the keys are available, just not w/the veh. Because while dollies are generally safe, you can only use dollies for short distances and a lot of garages won’t even dollie the veh on highways. For those that don’t know, dollies are just these boards on wheels that you can rest the non spinning tires on and they just act as the tires. But there is a risk of the dollie coming loose and you end up damaging the veh. Skates are the same thing basically but skates go on all 4 tires.
So b/c of this, if the gar doesn’t HAVE to use the dollies, they’re not going to b/c they’re not willing to take that risk. And a lot of gar will refuse to skate the veh onto the b/c while they won’t have any issues getting onto the bed…they’ll have problems getting it off since the tires will still be unable to turn, which means they’d have a problem getting it off. It’s not as easy to skate it off b/c you have no way of controlling the veh as it rolls back b/c it’ll still be on the skates. It would require several driver to help guide it off. Sorry for that little lesson but hopefully it helps you understand WHY we refuse to tow w/o the keys unless they’ve been lost and/or damaged.
So on to the member. I mentally prepared myself and called the mbr. Introduced myself and asked where the keys where. They tell me they have them. I explain that we can’t tow the veh w/o the keys. They told me they know I’m full of bull and that we can damn well tow it w/o the keys and that’s why they were asking for dollies. I told they were right and that we CAN but we WON’T unless they’ve been lost/broken. So unless they can get the keys back to the veh we can’t tow it. (I forgot to mention but we normally req mbrs to be OL as well. We don’t do unattended normally but have been doing a lot of exceptions during covid. So that was another problem with this but it just wasn’t as big of a deal). Well the mbr says that they can’t get back to the veh and ask if the drv can p/u them up. I tell them no and that they’re gonna have to find a way to get the keys back to the veh.
Now all of a sudden the mbr tells me that the keys ARE in the veh?? So now I’m confused and told them that they just told me THEY had the keys. Mbr says NO the keys are in the veh. I know they’re lying b/c the drv told me they even told him they had the keys and I told this to the mbr (not the part where I know they’re lying). The mbr then gets offended and says they NEVER said such thing. So I’m like great! If the keys are in the veh then we can tow it. The drv was OL tho and told the keys weren’t there. The mbr then says something about how he’s not in the right truck and they need a special tow.
I asked them why they need a special tow (mbr meant they need dollies). They kept saying b/c there was no one there. I said that doesn’t makes sense. They just kept repeating that no one was there and the keys are locked in the veh. Okay??? I still don’t understand what they mean so I ask if there was nothing wrong w/the veh and the only problem was the keys are locked in the veh? Nope. They don’t know what’s wrong w/the veh.
At this point I was getting pissed so was getting short with the mbr. B/c this whole time, the mbr is just berating me. Acting like I’m stupid for not understanding what the problem is. Yelling about how they don’t KNOW what’s wrong the veh but they NEED a special tow and going on about how they’ve explained this all 6 times, they don’t understand WHY we’re doing this to them. Just being a real asshole. Deliberately being unhelpful. So I’m still trying to figure out WHY we need dollies b/c they said the veh is just not starting. So in my mind, it doesn’t make sense b/c if the keys are w/the veh we can just unlock it and grab them. No dollies needed. Before I can say this tho, the mbr tries to pull a power move and tell me to just stop and that they’re tired of explaining this to mbr. I explain the above and tell them that if the keys are in the veh, we can just unlock it and grab them. They tell me NO. I’m not allowed to unlock the veh and we are to just tow the damn car and that’ it and that if we don’t, they were gonna call and complain to the highest power they could.
So I say fine and end the call. But I knew the mbr was lying. Why else would we not be allowed to unlock the veh and grab the keys? So I call the gar and ask them what they know about the situation. Find out from them that the mbr called THEM and told them THEY HAD THE KEYS AND REFUSED TO LEAVE THE KEYS W/THE VEH AND WOULD NOT BE TAKING THEM BACK.
So I told my sup flat out that I don’t know what to do w/this mbr but that I was not calling them back. B/c at this point my whole body was shaking from being so pissed off and I had to force myself not to cry when I first called the garage b/c of the frustration I felt. I wish I could post a recording of the call b/c I can’t even begin to describe just how bad this mbr was. They weren’t calling me names but just so condescending. Trying to bully me into just letting it go and yelling at me so loud that my coworkers could hear them. I wasn’t dealing with it again. Even the dispatcher at the gar that I talked to was telling me how the mbr was the same way w/them.
My supervisor ends up calling the mbr. THANKFULLY, he backed me on this and told the mbr WHY we can’t tow w/o the keys and told them that not only will the keys need to be w/the veh, but THEY have to be OL as well and show their ID. This is b/c at this point we’re done and following stuff to the T and on top of that, we are now wondering if there’s more to the story and that this isn’t their veh and they’re just trying to use us to steal a veh. We’ve had people do this before and w/how they were acting, there had to be more going on, than them just not wanting to go back to the veh. My sup also made sure to emphasize the fact that we would send out a FLATBED. Not a WL.
I thought that was the end of it. Then I get a message from my coworker saying that the dispatcher for the gar was asking for me. And I knew it was for that call. Sure enough, she wants to know what’s going on, b/c the mbr called THEM and started screaming at them, wanting to know why they need to be w/the veh. She tells me that she’s worried about sending her drv OL b/c of how the mbr is acting. She mentions that this mbr mad her so mad that she wanted to scream. I tell her about the call I had w/the mbr and tell her that I completely understand and ask her she can refuse to send a drv.
Well she sent the drv to the location. He agreed to go with the understanding that if he got OL and mbr wasn’t there, he wasn’t towing the veh and if the mbr started yelling at the drv and treating them like shit, that he was leaving. Last I saw, the driver was still on the way to the call. I told a coworker of mine to text me if anything happened w/that call. Otherwise, I’m gonna look it up when I go back to work on Thursday.