Thumbs down: Frustrated by roadside plan cancellation

Thumbs down: Frustrated by roadside plan cancellation

We received this letter from an RVtravel.com reader. There are two sides to every story, so keep that in mind. After reading this, please comment about your own experiences with this service, good or bad. We hope that a representative from Good Sam will comment as well. If you currently have, or recently had, a Good Sam Roadside Assistance Program, please rate your experience. See below.

To clarify, this is the second time the reader was cancelled from Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance program. He explains the reasons below for the initial cancellation. The second cancellation, the letter of which is printed below, is because he attempted to re-join the program a year later.

He wrote:

I have an issue with Good Sam that I feel needs to be passed on to your readers. Since it is Good Sam I can not write a letter to Trailer Life Magazine [owned by same company as Good Sam] because I do not think they would publish this issue.

Click the image to see the cancellation notice.

I am attaching a copy of a cancellation notice for my Roadside Assistance Policy. This is not the first time as you can glean. I was canceled in March of 2016 and I offer the following possible explanation.

I can only imagine that the first cancellation was in their minds justified since I had too many claims in one policy period. I had a couple of road calls but the straw that broke the camel’s back appears to have been two service calls to my driveway prior to starting a trip. You see I found tire separations during my pre-trip inspections and made the mistake of calling Good Sam for assistance in changing to the spare tires. I felt this to be appropriate since not having the tires replaced (two separate trips) would have resulted in the possibility of great trailer damage if these tires failed at high speed.

I might also add that I’ve had Good Sam for many years without any claims or issues. I expected this “insurance” to meet its policy terms. Obviously there are terms hidden in their gobbledygook which will justify their actions but it seems to me that this is “bait and switch” business practices.

I have to also mention that all of the tires involved in these instances were Chinese Goodyear Marathons all with fewer than three years service.

Just think others should know about the obviously close margins on which Good Sam operates.

##RVT812

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36 thoughts on “Thumbs down: Frustrated by roadside plan cancellation

  1. Eric

    I just had an experience a few weeks ago. While backing into a campsite at a park in Newfoundland we noticed one of our trailer tires going flat. I didn’t have cell service in Canada, but was able to reach Good Sam via Google Voice (on wifi). Services in Newfoundland are few and far between. Within less than 2 hours a truck showed up to install our spare. The technician was also able to plug the flat tire as a temporary spare until we could buy a new tire, which we did the following day. He let us know about a tire shop on our intended route to our next location. Thanks, Good Sam.

  2. Bill

    I have had good service from GS RA – two tows, both reasonable time frames, and bringing a new tire for my Class A Diesel Pusher on I-80 midway across Nevada. I have the app on my phone, so the call center knows exactly where I am when they pick up the call. That’s over a period of about six years. Prior to having the app on the phone, I did have a frustrating 4 hour experience with a flat tire on I-15 in the Mojave Desert (“What is the nearest cross street?”)

  3. Roy Ellithorpe

    Never had a GOOD experience with AAA or GS. Like so many of the stories above, I have no problem getting the job done quicker, better and cheaper than someone who has never seen an RV, sitting in a call center earning minimum wage. Some people may find comfort in thinking that they won’t have a big bill if they have a problem. Keep in mind that they are only going to change your tire or tow your rig, they’re NOT going to FIX it.
    I have so much more peace of mind knowing that I have NO warranty and NO roadside assistance.

  4. Charlie

    New to Full-time RVing. In a two-month period had three rapid air losses detected by TPMS system. GS roadside was able to dispatch tire change service each time within one hour. First time in upstate NY. Next at a campground in NY. The 3rd time was on I-10, ten miles east of Demming, NM. Now I will see if we get cancelled with 3 service calls so close together. Hopefully not.

  5. Tommy Molnar

    We were AAA members for almost 50 years. Had the Platinum + (or whatever their top of the line towing thing was). One day my F-350 Ford pickup would not start, parked in our front yard. Our mechanic is three blocks away. I called AAA and found that they would not tow a one ton pickup. They WOULD however, tow a 3/4 ton pickup. I tried to explain that there was negligible truck weight difference, if any. It was the springs that change the designation. No matter. They wouldn’t tow it. So I called another towing outfit in town and they came right over and towed it to our mechanic. We cancelled AAA the next day, When we went into the AAA office to cancel there was absolutely no questioning as to why we were canceling – even though we’d been members for almost 50 years. I think we interrupted their coffee break. Now we have Good Sam but have so far, not needed it. Fingers are crossed.

    1. Elaine

      AAA dispatch has been spotty for us, too, but the service has been good. Once I was told I had to lower the spare tire and make sure it had air in it or the service person would leave. Having arthritis made that a non-starter for me. I just waited and the service person did it all, and also directed me to a tire shop where I could get a replacement tire. He called ahead to make sure. The dispatcher informed me I would have to stay overnight until Monday because no tire service places were open on Sunday in SC. She got a ding. He got double 5 stars.

  6. Buzzelectric

    Broke down out in the farmland of Washington state. No power at all. It was the fuseable link located out of sight and reach. GoodSam roadside assistance sent out a master diesel mechanic with its full service truck for free. Oh, it’s midnight! Unable to repair in the field. GoodSam then sent out a tow truck. The coach was parked in a manner that it had to be jacked over inch by inch to get it into the position that the tow truck could hook up. Oh, it’s way past midnight. Then it had to be towed to Longview WA, many miles away to the shop to wait for the mechanic to show up in the morning. They ran extension cords from the shop so we could run our a/c and refrigerator. Oh, I forgot to say it was the forth of July weekend. Six hours of repair, charged for three. FREE TOW. Grand GoodSam roadside assistance!!! I don’t know Marcus Lemonis.

  7. Lorane

    Triple A Plus RV is a good insurance policy. We have it on top of our vehicle insurance roadside policy. It’s insurance and just the mental benefit of having it is a plus and worth the cost. When needed, it is, we feel, the best available. Fortunately, we’ve only had to utilize it a couple times and the wait was reasonable for the rural and one remote location.

    1. Chuck

      AAA will also cancel policies for over use. I was a 10 yr member with no claims then my son started driving 3 claims in 6 months. Canceled.

      1. Myron Bird

        Dear Tommy Molnar, I hope you have better luck with Good Sam than I have. I called them for 3 service calls and they said they couldn’t find me even though I was on interstate highways and gave the specific mile markers, directions, and interchanges. One became life threatening for my wife and she ended up being admitted to a hospital. I have cancelled my roadside with the Camping World robbers.

  8. Jim Durso

    My experience with GS is similar to others. An rv newbie, I purchased GS roadside. Did not need it for 2 years as my rig was new. On I 5 30 miles south of Stockton, Ca. My TPMS reported low pressure in one tire on my 5ver. Pulled over at a desolate site with 2 gas stations without any repair service. Phone GS, they spent 20 minutes trying to understand what kind of rig I had. Agent was in Texas, said he could get someone from Bakersfield in 2 or 3 hrs. Changed it myself. Let GS service expire. Don’t need that kind of non-service.

  9. John Snell

    This is my last posting , honest. Blew a tire 20 miles outside of Amarillo this last winter. Thought my towable was covered under auto policy, it wasnt (my bad). John did not practice what he preaches. Called a number of towing cos. Most wouldn’t leave Amarillo city limits. One would for 300.00, I had a spare. Called rv park we had reservations at ( 10 miles away) and they had a guy who just did tire changes and service. He came out and changed the tire for under 75.00. Mitches Rolling Tire Service. He has a large trailer that has a tire machine and balancer on board and can install a new tire on the spot. The next day I had him come out to the RV park and he installed 4 new tires at our spot. His tire prices were very competative. Now that’s service!!!.

  10. Eric Eltinge

    In 2 separate breakdowns last month, I called both Mercedes owners and Good Sam roadside assistance. Both sent AAA tow trucks. I now have AAA Premier RV roadside assistance for all my vehicles.

  11. Barbara

    used 3 times. 2 times had a very long wait the other time told me it would be 2 hours to get someone to us , but someone show up in less than 1/2 hour.

  12. Barry Kanne

    I have had two occasions to utilize my Good Sam Roadside Assistance program, both dealing with failures with my Dodge RAM 2500 and in situations where my 5th wheel was not attached or involved. Both times the person at their call center was courteous, helpful and provided excellent response to my calls for help. I happily renew my subscription each year when it comes due.

  13. George

    I had two experiences with GS Roadside Assistance. One was a flat tire on the highway and they wanted to send a tow truck from Ontario to Saskatchewan. Hmm that’s on 1,000+ miles. Next I’m in Buffalo, SD and they said it would be 8 hrs for someone to come from Rapid City, SD. Both times I just changed the tire myself. I do keep GS RA just in case I really do need a tow a long ways.

  14. Lynn Hudgens

    On a recent August 2017 trip to North Carolina, we experienced a brief squeal and slight pull to the right. Stopped multiple times to verify tires, air pressure, etc. and finally we’re able to pull into a Loves fuel station on I24. I checked the front tires and they were hot…and could have fried eggs on the wheel covers. The manager gave us permission to pullover and take 2 parking spaces. First call was to Good Sam Roadside Travel Assistance. I made multiple calls to get a tow into Chattanooga less than 33 miles away. Each time we were told that the only option was a mobile repair. I explained that Loves was very busy and that odds were very high that mobile repair would NOT have necessary parts. They refused to listen. I turned eventually to our extended warranty company who assigned us a 24/7 agent, dispatched a tow and took the unit to a very reputable RV repair center in Chattanooga. Other than maybe fixing a flat tire, I found Good Sam Roadside Assistance to be useless and wasted hours of my time. Good Sam…good for what?!

    1. Lynn Hudgens

      P.S. The problem turned out to be bearings that were not sealed and got so hot that they “self-welded” to the spindle. It took over a week to get parts from Detroit. So…mobile repair could have fixed this in a busy Loves parking lot? Absolutely not! As it was, we sat 8 hours in the Loves parking lot at the courtesy of a nice manager–waiting for a tow. At least 2 of those hours were trying to get Good Sam to do the right thing. We arrived at the repair center at midnight thirty and they were kind enough to offer an overnight stay with 50 amp hookup. None of this thanks to Good Sam.

  15. Jason

    I have had two claims with GS in the same calendar year and both were good experiences. One was “emergency” roadside trailer tire flat and the other a truck tire flat in a campground. My complaint though is that neither of the call center agents could properly pin-point me and in the emergency case the mechanic was sent 30 miles in the wrong direction, so that added to the response time. That though is a product of lack of grid based mapping out in rural Minnesota more than anything.

  16. John Snell

    I work part time for a towing company processing their towing invoices ( pays for golf). We work with over 15 different auto clubs. Good Sam’s partners with Allstate also. I know of no car club that offers unlimited coverage. AAA has different levels for coverage for example at different costs to the customer. Not knowing how his contract read is also not available. I do not have GS for my towable and will not name it but asking the proper questions before purchasing can solve some problems. Just sayin.

  17. Richard Davidson

    This is ANOTHER problem with RVs selling like hotcakes that Chuck hasn’t touched on (or if he has I missed it) and that is finding responsible people to work on an RV in a reasonable amount of time AND money. I am currently on the road and have had 2 problems, 1- a coolant leak on or diesel engine, of which we were very fortunate to have a Cummings repair service within 8 miles of the location the leak was discovered and they were kind enough to work us in. Even though it cost us $500 to fix a 1/4″ tube leak, it was worth it. 2- Traveling some of the roads we have been on (very rough and uneven.) we must have racked the RV some and the window on the drivers side top has popped loose. Could only find 1 glass company that would even consider fixing it TWO WEEKS down the road with nowhere for us to park or stay in the mean time! So I’ve made a rolling repair using caulking and gorilla tape. So far so good. My point is, finding a qualified repair service on the road is a daunting task.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Richard, yes, I have talked about this many times. It’s another big problem these days. I have received letters from many, many RVers who have had a terrible time getting their RV repaired. Often, it’s because a part is not available or will take a week or two — or a month to be delivered. It’s worse if you break down in a rural area without a good RV repair shop or a dealer that sells/services your particular RV. It’s another example of how the RV industry needs to get its act together. Building better RVs to begin with and putting a priority on service after the sale would be a good start. We will continue to cover this issue.

  18. Judy G

    I had two bad experiences with Good Sam Roadside Assistance. On the interstate in northwest New Mexico, an axle broke on my fifth wheel. After two hours with a tow truck supposedly coming from Arizona, a NM Highway Patrol trooper stopped and called a tow truck from less than 4 miles eastward just off the interstate. The second incident in my 27′ motorhome was a separated tire tread on the rear. My dog and I spent two hours in the sun on the roadside in Montana less than 1/2 mile from the town of East Glacier Park. At that time Good Sam said it had ‘found’ someone in Kalispell (on the other side of the Rockies) and would send the assistance to change the tire. On my own, using my computer and phone, I found a local tire dealer to take care of the problem. A 76 year old woman traveling alone with a dog should be able to get better service!!

    1. John Snell

      One thing people don’t realize is that car clubs partner with towing providers they have contracts with. So the closest towing provider must have been in AZ. So one 4 miles away was lucky for you. See my opinion below in the opinion section.
      Safe travels John S.

  19. Steve Sims

    I’m not defending Good Sam by any means, but the reader bears a great deal of the blame here. He mentions that he called for “driveway” assistance. Not once, but twice. As he describes it he could have moved his rig to a shop to help swap the tires, but he chose the “easy” way and summoned roadside assistance.
    I feel like this is abusing the system, which I think is made for bona-fide *roadside* assistance.
    There are lots of other roadside assistance programs available and maybe the reader will take this experience as an education and be less inclined to abuse the system with a different provider in the future.

  20. Ken S.

    Following is a letter I wrote to Marcus Lemonis re: an experience we had with GS Roadside Assistance. End result, they refunded the difference in the tire cost.

    To: Marcus Lemonis

    One of the greatest fears that an RVer has is to be broken down on the side of the road and be at the mercy of an unknown repair service in terms of quality of service and gouging of prices. To eliminate this, myself (and I am sure many others) have enrolled in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance program. With that being said, I would like to relate to you an incident that occurred to me on Saturday, September 7, 2014.

    My wife and I were stuck in Florida on I-95 with a flat tire without a usable spare. When I called Good Sam, I was forwarded to your Tire Service Department. With no other viable alternative, I authorized a charge of $419.17 and requested that your department dispatch a repair technician ASAP and to have him bring a replacement tire with him. Three hours later, we were back on the road.

    Fortunately, we only had to go less than 50 miles because in that short distance my new tire lost 7 psi of pressure (62 to 55). The next day, I realized that the wrong type of tire had been installed on my trailer. The tire installed was a P225/75/R15 (840 max @ 44 psi) when it should have been a ST25/75/R15 (2540 max @ 66 psi). I again called Good Sam Roadside Assistance, explained the problem, and lost the whole day waiting for a repair technician with the correct tire to come. He finally arrived at @ 6:00 PM.

    I decided that I should replace the other tires on my trailer and made an appointment with Camping World – St. Augustine. I had 3 tires installed on September 12th (W/O #56-3002209). These three tires were the exact same tire (Goodyear Marathon ST225/75/R15) as the one finally installed by Good Sam Roadside Assistance. I would like to share with you a comparison of the costs per tire.

    Good Sam Camping World

    Tire $210.00 $103.47

    Installation $165.50 $ 30.00

    While I realize there is a higher cost to install a tire in the field, I feel that the total cost charged by Good Sam is exorbitant. The tire and installation was for a trailer, not a motorhome. Rather than being at the mercy of an unknown repair service, I was at the mercy of Good Sam Roadside Assistance. I fell that I should be reimbursed for the excess $$$ charged by Good Sam.

    On behalf of myself and my fellow RVers, I would appreciate your reviewing this situation and taking whatever corrective action you deem necessary to minimize the chance that this will not happen again.

    1. John Snell

      If you had roadside service the ” tire change” should have been covered and the new tire charged to you as a separate purchase. Please see my response to Judy G. If you didn’t have roadside service, that’s a different story.
      John

      1. Ken S.

        The tire change was covered. Removing the old tire from the rim and remounting the new one to the rim is not covered.

        1. John Snell

          I understand. The cost was rather spendy.

  21. Howard King

    Seems like Driveway Service does not qualify as Roadside Service. I would have changed the tires myself and saved my calls to G/S for a real roadside emergency.

    1. Jim Wise

      My thought exactly. I would not have called Good Sam if my rig was in my driveway and a local dealer or mechanic could do the repairs/work.

  22. Wolfe

    My truck’s insurance automatically covers anything towed for the first couple hundred (0 deductible). Then, because I insure the trailer itself with the same company, that trailer damage/liability policy explicitly covers complete road service for the trailer as well.

    Readers may want to check what coverages they already have/could cheaply add to their existing policies before duplicating insurances.

  23. Jim Hughes

    I had a flat tire on I-59, 20 miles south of Birmingham, AL. I was about 100 yards beyond an exit ramp. I notified Good Sam and was told they would get someone on the way to assist with changing the tire. After waiting for one hour with no call back, I phoned them again and they said someone would be there in a hour. After two more hours and several repeated phone calls, I walked up the exit ramp and found a tire service about 500 yards from the exit.

    After talking to the owner, he sent a truck and service man to change the tire. It took him about 20 minutes to complete the change.

    Guess what! I sent a copy of the bill ($80.00) to GS. They would not reimburse me as they said someone was on the way to do the work and I should have waited for them. I spent a total of 4.5 hours on the side of the road and no one from GS ever showed.

    If you can’t get a service truck in a major metro area in 4.5 hours, I don’t need the service. I let the contract expire as it only had a couple of weeks to go and used the $80.00 renewal to pay the tire man.

    Then I bought a jack and big tire lug wrench and put them on board. Three months later I had another flat and changed it myself. Never plan to use a road service again but when I went for my insurance review, my agent said my policy comes with road service. So, next flat, I may give them a try.

    1. Wolfe

      You lapped my slow posting, mentioning you already had some roadside coverage. 🙂

      Although I’m self-sufficient as well, jack and wrench may need to be beefier than many folks think — keep in mind the raw weight of your trailer, torque on those lugs, dual tires per axle or dual axles, etc. Changing some RV tires is more involved than your car, so you may want to “test” removing a tire in your driveway to confirm you really could do it roadside – eg. my 6T jack was too tall to get under the axle, lifting from the frame was too high a reach, and my low clearance jack was too light duty to lift the weight.

      Finally, just as with your car, check the condition of your spare — if it’s been hanging on your bumper for 5-10 years, it may be as flat or corroded as the tire you’re replacing.

  24. Curt L Coffee

    Had an issue with brake wiring – called for help and was given a number of a dealer. Called dealer and was told it would be a month and half before they could look at it. 30 miles from dealer 1700 miles from home- this is no help of any kind. Pretty upset-will not renew.

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