This past weekend I took a trip to Death Valley and ended up with two flat tires just outside of Scotty’s Castle. We made it to a park ranger station called “Grapevine ranger station”.
Thankfully there was a pay phone located at this ranger station, which is miles from anywhere and along one of the least traveled roads in Death Valley. I pulled out my trusty AAA card and gave the number a ring.
Got a helpful lady on the phone and told her that we were at the Grapevine ranger station, I made sure to tell her we didn’t have cell service and that we were at a pay phone which didn’t accept incoming calls. I explained to her that we were parked at the ranger station, that we had two flat tires, that I was driving a 2013 Jeep Liberty which was silver.
She said there was a tow truck 45 minutes away and that she was dispatching it right then. I was relieved that again AAA would be so handy to have and that we’d be saved in a quick 45 minutes. We started discussing our options of where to be towed too. I explained to her that the closest city was Beatty, NV. About 60 miles away. She told me that since we were calling the SoCal AAA that she would have to transfer us to the Nevada group and they could find us a shop then transfer us back to the SoCal group and they could update the driver with that information.
Great! No problem. Seemed so easy. She transfered me right over and I talked to another very helpful person in the NV call center. She explained that they didn’t have any shops in Beatty, but thankfully she was able to google the city and find me a 24 hour tire shop! Things were really looking up! 24 hour tire shop, everyone being so helpful the tow truck was already on the way!! I asked her to transfer me back to SoCal so I could give them the information.
I got back to SoCal and that’s when things started to go down hill. The person we talked to now said that our truck has been cancelled because they couldn’t reach us. I explained to her again, we were at a pay phone and could NOT accept incoming calls. I again gave her our exact location and she looked it up. Then she said “Oh you are not in SoCal, i have to transfer you to Northern California”. Great, what the hell. She transfered me over and we had to REPEAT EVERYTHING.
AGain they said they knew where we were and that a tow truck was on it’s way. I hung up and waited 10 minutes, then called back just to confirm. Again the truck was cancelled because we apparently gave them the “wrong address”. I’m not sure how much more detailed I could have been, we were a the grapevine ranger station on scotty’s castle road just south of scotty’s castle. If you knew how to google you would easily know where we were.
At this point, the exact details get a little confusing for me. But over the next 5 hours we called back countless times, we talked to countless people and talked to two different supervisors.
One person even argued with me that I was in Nevada and I have to argue with her that “No, Death valley is IN CALiFORNIA”. I know where I am exactly, why was this so difficult for them to find out where I was.
Another person said they were going to send a tow truck from BISHOP, then transport us back to independence a 3 hour drive EACH WAY.
Another person we talked to insisted that we WERE already in independence and that a truck was coming from bishop.
EACH and every time I called in I had to explain to them over and over again that we didn’t have cell phones and that we were at a pay phone.
It seemed as those NONE of the people we talked to put that in the notes, NONE of the people we talked to seemed to know what the problem was with our vehicle.
Finally around 11pm someone finally realized that a company from NV had been trying to contact us since we FIRST talked to the NV AAA group at around 7:45pm. They patched us through directly to the tow company to confirm our location and get the driver on the way.
This is not the type of service I expect from AAA, we felt abandoned and helpless, in the middle of death valley, in the 5 hours we were on the side of the road we only saw ONE other car the entire time.
AAA was unable to communicate between each other, they were unable to take notes and ended up costing us hours and hours of time, we had to get a hotel in a city that we weren’t even expecting to be in.
Had someone READ the notes that this NV tow company was actually trying to contact us we could have had a tow by 10pm, got our tires fixed and been on our way. Instead we didn’t get to Beatty, NV until nearly 2am and ended up having to get a hotel.
This was a horrible horrible experience and an example of some of the worst customer service I have ever had.