Watch Out for Roadside Assistance Scams

Watch Out for Roadside Assistance Scams

February 28, 2022

It’s every driver’s worst-case scenario: Your car or truck breaks down, and you’re stranded on the side of the road in an unfamiliar place. You might have some mechanical knowledge or even know how to change a flat, but that isn’t always enough. Sooner or later, you’re probably going to be in a situation where you need to call for roadside assistance.

In this age of smartphones and constant internet access, this doesn’t sound like it’d be a big deal, right? Just plug it into the search engine and call one of the first ones that you see—but this is not always the best way to go, as not all towing companies are what their internet presence makes them seem.

Read on for more warning signs of scams to watch for when using roadside assistance.

Unsolicited service

This one might sound a bit unconventional and not quite the scenario that we outlined above, but stay with us. You might have just broken down and are still thinking of what to do, or perhaps you’ve already called a company and are waiting for their truck. While you’re on the side of the road, an unmarked tow truck pulls up and offers to help.

This might seem like a gift from the angels, but it’s far more likely to be a scam. In fact, it’s one of the oldest roadside assistance scams in the book. An unmarked and unsolicited tow truck might take you miles away to a garage with exorbitant rates, leaving you just as stranded as you were before.

Not recognizing roadside assistance programs

Motor clubs like the American Automobile Association (AAA) are some of the largest organizations in the country. In fact, AAA boasts membership of almost 60 million American drivers, and one of their many benefits is that they offer a line that members in trouble can call. AAA will then help set up towing for these unfortunate folks, and it’s mostly covered by membership.

That said, a scam to watch for when using roadside assistance in this manner is a tow company that refuses to recognize these types of agreements. This is likely a sign that they lack credentials or are otherwise not meeting the standards of our industry.

Incomplete paperwork

An additional scam to watch for when using roadside assistance is incomplete paperwork when the tow truck arrives to help you out. Any reputable towing service will be able to provide all of this with no questions asked (in fact, most will simply offer everything that you need). If you encounter a company that won’t give you a printed invoice, then it’s time to politely ask them to leave, as you’ll be calling a different towing service for your needs.

Getting caught in what feels like a roadside assistance scam can add a new layer of stress to an already bad day. That said, trust your gut, remember the tips we outlined above and you should be in pretty good shape. If you’re ever in our area and could use a tow, then it’s time to call the folks you can trust here at S & R Repairs Towing & Recovery Inc.

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