Don’t Tow Your Customer Along With Bad Service

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Only 4 days into my move back to CA and this is my welcome home gift. Or something like that!

Last week, I shared post #1 titled Pushing Kindness of my recent (and scary) car adventure. It was a short post highlighting the random kindness of a stranger.

Today, I share with you what happened after the car was pushed to the side of the road.

At about 9pm, a tow truck dispatch company was called through the insurance and we were told they will tow us to the nearest shop. The representative on the phone told us that Auto Zone was still open and we’ll be taken there. After a bit of discussion, stating that Auto Zone is a parts shop and not a mechanic, the representative was not budging on finding another location. As me, my friend and my dog are sitting on the side of the road, I hang up the phone and call back for another representative.

The new representative confirms that Auto Zone is just a shop and we cannot have the car towed there. They suggested towing it to my friend’s house and then to get it towed to an actual mechanic in the morning during regular business hours.

We provide the dispatch with the cross streets of our location and the destination address of the car. We’re on the side of a busy street, not in direct contact of any businesses or homes for an address to provide but figured that the two cross streets would be sufficient. We did provide an address of a Target a few blocks away in the event that they needed a point of reference.

They state it will take about 45 minutes to arrive to our location.

We wait a little over an hour and receive a call from the tow truck driver.

In a thick accent, he states, “I’m here. Are you inside or outside?”

After about 5 minutes of trying to figure out where they were, going back and forth on the phone, they tell us they are at the location that the dispatch gave them. We figured it’s the Target so my friend runs down the street the few blocks to this location.

We hang up the phone.

About 10 minutes later, I see my friend coming back up the hill and the tow truck driver across the street. He parks and tells us that he was not at Target but rather at the destination location. Go figure! But, we get the car hooked up and are safely towed to the proper location.

The following morning, we wait for the tow truck to arrive to pick up the car and drive to the mechanic we selected.

We gave the dispatcher the address.

We follow the tow truck, a different driver than yesterday, who had tied the car on incorrectly and it was sliding on the back as he drove almost 60mph down a 45mph zone.

He goes the wrong way but we follow him in, confused. He parks at a mechanic that we did not request.

I get out of the car as he parks and run across the parking lot (in flip flops, mind you) to tell him this is not the place that we called to arrange out car to be taken to. He huffs and puffs saying this is what the dispatcher told him. I kept telling him this is incorrect and providing him with the correct address. He continued to tell me I was wrong. After some arguing, he hops in the truck and zips down the road to the right place.

We get to the parking lot and he backs the car off the truck…and into a tree in a planter. The tree bends slightly and I run over to check to make sure there are no scratches on my car. He then runs out of my car and into his truck, hops in, waves bye and leaves the parking lot.

You can bet that we will not be using this tow truck company ever again!

Do any of you have similar stories to this? Broken down cars are a nightmare enough–you’d think that these companies have so many opportunities to WOW the customer. Any help at all in these desperate situations is beautiful and to ruin that opportunity completely is just ridiculous.

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Next post will be all about the amazing mechanic that saved the day.




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  • Ugh! That’s all I have to say. I can’t wait to read part 3!

  • The saga continues. You were not having a good day! Sorry J.

  • This is kind of a reverse of what should have been part 2 to my Customer Service Experience 2 years back around this same time — I lost the brakes in my SUV going through some of the mountain passes outside of Medford; about the time I stopped the second time to find an entire bolt missing. It was pretty important — it held the Caliper Mounts to the spindle. It locked the wheel completely up because it fell off and hung on the inside of the rim. My towtruck operator flatbedded us over (instead of Stinger Towing) to a Local Walmart and informed me there was an O’Reily Auto parts store behind the walmart. Luccky for me, within 1 hour of having a full diagnosis of the problem and the parts, I was back on the road. the whole event set us back 3 hours of an 8 hour trip. I’m glad you made it to your home coast ok though Jenny. I know they missed having you there!

  • Sad to hear this. Unfortunately, some tow truck drivers can be really tough to deal with. Good ones are a great asset when you need one for sure. Hopefully, if there is a next time it will be a lot easier and better. Odds are it will.

    • Jenny Dempsey

      Thanks, Ken! I appreciate your positivity. You’re right–I would imagine good tow truck drivers are much easier to deal with. They hold such a key role for those stuck in bad situations with their cars!

  • There are good people in the towing industry. Sounds like this one sucks, they’re not all like this.

  • Towers have a bad rap for customer service. Most of it is true, sadly. But there are some out there who care.

  • All we do is focus on customer service. There are so many aloof towing companies is Canada, all we ever need to do is focus on being kind and delivering an experience that people are proud of, and the rest takes care of itself. Anytime I hear our company name come up in conversation, it’s usually very complimentary and sharply contrasting the crusty competition!

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