Dollar failure in safety
On January 28th, at approximately 2 pm myself and my alternate drive were driving at about 60 mph eastbound in I70 down the mountain about 15 miles from Denver (in and around Evergreen) I noticed that our ability to accelerate ceased. Simultaneously an indicator light with a lightening bolt symbol lit up on the dashboard. There are no words associated with the indicator light so we were not clear on its meaning. As I tried to maintain speed (turned on hazard lights) and identify a safe location to stop the car, my associate looked for a manual (in order to identify the symbol) in the glove compartment and found none. She called Roadside Services as per the instructions in the agreement.
A woman who self-identified as "***" answered the call. She advised us at that time to "jiggle" or "move in and out" the shift from gear. We explained that we were decelerating rapidly on I70 and that we could not risk experimenting with the car and that someone should be dispatched to assist us. Our representative insisted that we try this and despite clear risks, we tried to comply because we had the sense that without following those instructions no assistance would be dispatched. Toggling the gear did not recover acceleration at that point and so we took the opportunity to pull over.
We asked *** to arrange to send roadside assistance but she insisted that we continue to try to toggle the gear. We tried to explain that we were not in a position to experiment with the car on a major highway with high speed traffic, that that was, in fact, a dangerous proposal. Her response was, I can either send help that will get there in 2-3 hours or I can get you to try to do this approach that will get you started in 5 minutes. We asked if ground transport (e. g. Taxi or limo service) could be subcontracted to collect us and to transport us to the airport since we had to catch a plane. The response was that, no, Roadside Assistance would send a tow with a second car, which they would exchange with our broken car, and that we would then be expected to drive the second car to Dollar to complete the rental agreement. That assistance would now be predicted to arrive in 1.5-2 hours. We explained that that time frame was not acceptable. We were not in a place where it was safe to remain for that amount of time (approaching sunset).
Since there was daylight, we were confident someone could easily find us. As the sun set, it would be more difficult for us to be found and the risk of our being hit by traffic would increase. The response to that was "Did you hear what I said?". We were then told we could arrange a taxi for ourselves at our own expense, but that if we did not inform them of that
choice in adequate advance notice, and if the tow with the second car was sent out, we would be charged extra for that tow.
We determined that Roadside Assistance did not have our best interests in terms of safety in mind. We were fortunate to find a taxi service that would be available to collect us within 30 minutes. We called and spoke with the Colorado State Patrol who put us through to Trooper *** who documented the situation with the location of the car, that we would be leaving it and that Roadside Assistance would be sending a tow. When our taxi driver did, arrive we called Roadside Assistance, spoke with two different people. The first was a woman (name unknown) who confirmed that we could leave the keys to the car in the car (underneath the driver's mat) and we were to leave the passenger side open. Dollar confirmed this and confirmed that the tow with the second car had been canceled and that order was now just to recover the original broken car.
Our opinion is that Roadside Assistance failed in consideration of the safety of the cars and customers for whom it is to provide assistance. *** was rude, unsympathetic, and provided dangerous recommendations to experiment with a clearly broken vehicle on a major highway. Further, Roadside Assistance failed to recognize that our only option was to park the car in a precarious location that endangered the safety of the passengers. This situation could have been tempered by offering to assist with arranging rapid ground transport as was available in the area.